Pennington for Your Thoughts

Now that Chad Pennington has been released and word already is out that the Dolphins have contacted his agent, the next two questions become: Should the Dolphins try to sign him? And is this really where Pennington would want to go?

We'll address the second question first by mentioning that an ESPN report suggests there could be as many as six teams interested in signing Pennington. Along with the Dolphins, those teams included Minnesota, Chicago, Kansas City and Atlanta.

Dollars aside, the best situation there clearly is the Vikings, who might be a quality quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender. The Vikings have continually expressed confidence in young starter Tarvaris Jackson, but the truth is he's a major question mark.

Chicago, Kansas City and Atlanta, meanwhile, are in the same boat as the Dolphins and facing rebuilding projects.

All those teams except for the Bears have young quarterbacks the franchise has high hopes for -- Brodie Croyle in Kansas City, Matt Ryan in Atlanta and Chad Henne in Miami.

Croyle failed for the Chiefs last season, so if they bring in Pennington, it's a sign they've just about given up on him, and that might be difficult to envision.

In Atlanta or Miami, Pennington likely would be a one-year starter at most before giving way to the young guy.

So Pennington's best opportunity to go someplace and start and remain a starter beyond 2008 is Chicago.

He certainly would represent an upgrade over Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman, but the Bears have been pretty stubbord about going with the QBs they have.

So if being a starter on a contender is Pennington's ultimate goal, Minnesota by far makes the most sense if the Vikings go after him.

The appeal of the Dolphins could come in the fact that Bill Parcells drafted him and Dan Henning was his offensive coordinator during his rookie year in 2000.

Now, if Pennington indeed is interested in coming to Miami, does signing him make sense.

For those who have been watching training camp practices, the answer has to be yes. Of course, we're talking as a one-year starter to give Henne a year to just sit and learn.

Henne clearly is the future at quarterback, but starting a rookie at that position is a losing proposition in the NFL and sometimes it can have disastrous long-term effects.

That's why, in an ideal scenario, Henne won't be starting this fall.

Except that neither Josh McCown nor John Beck have done anything in camp to give the team confidence they'll be able to move the offense. Pennington takes a lot of shots for his weak arm -- and it is among the weaker arms for NFL quarterbacks -- but he is very smart, makes good decisions and is accurate.

He clearly would be a major upgrade over either McCown or Beck.

Honestly, the Dolphins are severely long shots to make the playoffs in 2008, and Pennington's arrival wouldn't changed that outlook. But he might prevent another disastrous year, something that could become reality if the Dolphins can't get decent quarterback play.

Who goes if Pennington arrives? That's another interesting question.

McCown perhaps is the obvious answer, but the Dolphins just gave him a $2 million signing bonus in the offseason and he also is ahead of Beck at this point.

So if Pennington, who has had injury issues in the past, goes down, the Dolphins probably would be better off with McCown than Beck, although it still wouldn't be an ideal situation.

So that means that maybe Beck would be the odd man out, although any team would hate to give up on a second-round pick after barely more than a year.

Or maybe the Dolphins keep four quarterbacks, which is something teams have done in the past.

Bottom line is the Dolphins find themselves in a bad spot at quarterback because neither of the two non-rookies has done anything in camp. So they have to look at every possibility, at every chance to upgrade.

Say what you want about Pennington, he does represent an upgrade.

Or maybe Beck and/or McCown play great against Tampa Bay in the preseason opener and there's no need to worry about Pennington anymore.


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