A Good Gamble

The Dolphins haven't had great success trading for quarterbacks in the last 10 years after deals that brought to Miami first Jim Druckenmiller, followed by Cade McNown, Sage Rosenfels and finally A.J. Feeley. For their sake, they better have had better luck with this offseason's two trades, the one for Daunte Culpepper and now the one with Detroit for former first-round pick Joey Harrington.

Since we've already addressed the Culpepper deal earlier, let's now focus on the trade for Harrington, which finally was consummated on Friday.

In exchange for Harrington, the Dolphins gave up an undisclosed draft pick, which ESPN.com reported was a sixth-rounder that could go become a fifth-round pick depending on Harrington's playing time.

The first thing that jumps out, of course, is that this is a more reasonable price to pay for a quarterback who has yet to have major success in the league -- unlike the ridiculous second-round choice the Dolphins gave up for Feeley.

There's no way to sugarcoat Harrington's struggles in Detroit, which had made the former Oregon standout the third overall pick in the 2002 draft.

But count Scout.com Lions publisher Nate Camanita among those who think Harrington can become successful in the NFL.

"Joey Harrington is capable of making every throw on the football field," he said. "Ironically, those were not even his strengths as he entered the NFL draft -- it was his leadership, and uncanny ability to rally the troops. However, like what has happened with previous early draft choices and in particular quarterbacks, Harrington was bent and eventually broke by constant coaching changes, inexperience in the front office and an incredibly impatient fan base.

"If he can regain that lost confidence, I still feel the sky is the limit. And if there was ever a player in the National Football League that needed a 'fresh start,' it is Joey Harrington."

Look, it's not just the Dolphins who thought Harrington was worth a shot this offseason. There were still other teams interested in getting him, including Denver, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

There never really was any battle for his services, however, because Harrington made it clear early he only wanted to play in Miami -- and because of his impending $4 million bonus, which he agreed to waive to join the Dolphins.

Word is that one reason Harrington wanted to come to Miami is that he figured he had a better chance at playing time with the Dolphins because of the uncertain status of Culpepper.

That also means Harrington could become a very important player for the Dolphins, which is why they sent a draft pick to the Lions instead of just waiting for them to release him. This way, Harrington can be there on Monday for the start of the organized team activity (OTA) days.

The bottom line is the Dolphins desperately needed a backup quarterback this offseason, and the market wasn't exactly loaded with quality options. Kerry Collins might have represented a safer option, but he wanted no part of coming into a situation where he wouldn't have a shot to compete for a starting job.

Besides, if Harrington can fulfill his potential in Miami, he has a bigger upside than Collins.

Getting Harrington to fulfill that potential obviously is the Dolphins' biggest concern. If they can do it, this could go down as a steal for Miami.

But even if it doesn't it was worth a shot.


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