The Miami Dolphins have been showing the most interest in trading for Culpepper, but they are also in hot pursuit of free agent QB Drew Brees. The Dolphins and New Orleans Saints are the top two candidates to land Brees, who has reportedly said he'd favor Miami. However, New Orleans is thought to be willing to offer more money and more guarantees.
And now there is a new rub in the Culpepper saga.
The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that the Dolphins are in pursuit of trading for Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub, who performed well last year in fill-in stints for starter Michael Vick. Schaub is in the last year of his rookie contract and would be a more economical—although less proven—solution for the Dolphins than Culpepper or Brees.
Falcons general manager Rich McKay told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it would take a high draft pick for the Falcons to trade Schaub.
That bears this question: If the Vikings trade Culpepper, would Schaub be a good fit in Minnesota, where he could at least compete with Brad Johnson for the starting role and possibly be the long-term solution at the position? Of course, that would likely depend on any team being able to extend Schaub's contract before trading for him.
The Culpepper trade situation seems to be full of domino effects. If they don't trade Culpepper to Miami, his value would appear to go down because the Dolphins have shown the most interest in him. Oakland also reportedly renewed its interest in him, and Tennessee would have an interest in him, although Culpepper hurt those negotiations when he reportedly said he is not interested in joining the Titans, at least for now.
It's also possible New Orleans could enter the process if the Saints don't land Brees.
The Vikings now have until March 24 before they are due to pay Culpepper a $6 million roster bonus.
The thinking from the player's side of the bargaining table is if Fonoti plays well, he'll either get a solid offer in free agency in 2007 or from the Raiders to re-sign. The key for him is to keep his weight down.