QB quest - Round 2

The Dolphins were successful in landing a top-notch starting quarterback this offseason when they traded for Daunte Culpepper. But there's some unfinished business at the position, namely finding a backup for Culpepper. And while this is perhaps not quite as crucial as landing a big-time starter, it's very important nonetheless.

The biggest reason why it's vital the Dolphins get their hands on a quality backup is that there's no guarantee Culpepper will be ready for the start of the regular season. In addition, it's entirely possible that Culpepper could experience some problems with his surgically repaired right knee during the season.

So this isn't a backup who's going to hold a clipboard all season, like Jim Sorgi has done in Indianapolis or Doug Pederson did for so long in Green Bay.

The Dolphins' backup likely will see action in 2006.

It would have been great for the Dolphins had they been able to bring back Gus Frerotte at a lower salary to serve as Culpepper's backup, as he did in Minnesota, but nobody can blame Frerotte for leaving after he had his contract terminated.

So the Dolphins right now are scrambling.

Nick Saban has said he wants to have a quarterback signed by Monday because the team begins training sessions that day and the only healthy quarterback available right now is Cleo Lemon (because Brock Berlin is playing in NFL Europe).

Among the quarterbacks who are now available are former starters Tommy Maddox, Kerry Collins and Joey Harrington.

The third overall pick in the draft a few years back, Harrington obviously is the most intriguing option. The problem with Harrington, of course, is that unless the Dolphins wait for the Lions to release him -- which they will do no later than June -- they'll have to give up a draft pick to get him.

That might not be so bad had the Dolphins not already surrendered their second-round pick in the trade for Culpepper.

Besides, the Lions supposedly currently are asking for a first-day pick in return for Harrington, and it's difficult to envision the Dolphins giving that up for someone who'll never be more than a backup for them.

So while Harrington might have the most upside of anyone available, the logistics would seem to dictate that Maddox or Collins would be better options.

Of those two, Collins easily is the better player, but he apparently is holding out for an opportunity to compete for a starting job, which isn't happening in Miami.

Maddox probably could be had right now, but the way he played last season as a backup for the Steelers makes him less than desirable.

So the best course of action at this point just might be to sign a fringe player to deal with the training sessions for now and then wait out Collins, who isn't very likely to land a starting job this season and at some point will realize that.

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