A trip to London by a Miami Dolphins contingent to promote an Oct. 28 game against the New York Giants appears to have gone swimmingly well.
But shortly after Dolphins coach Cam Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller return to the U.S., the duo will have to deal with a grievance filed against the franchise by quarterback Daunte Culpepper through the NFL Players Association.
An arbitrator is expected to decide whether to support Culpepper's claim that the Dolphins broke NFL rules by not allowing him to practice in team drills during a minicamp earlier this month. The Dolphins have publicly said that wasn't the case, although the franchise doesn't deny having told Culpepper they were seeking to trade him in light of the recent acquisition of quarterback Trent Green from Kansas City.
The arbitrator's decision could come within a week after the June 29 hearing in New York City.
If the arbitrator rules in Culpepper's favor, his release would seemingly be imminent. Otherwise, the Dolphins could continue trying to trade Culpepper before the start of training camp even though he has said he would refuse to restructure his contract, which would likely scuttle any deal.
Culpepper is set to earn $5.5 million in base salary this season as part of a lucrative contract that runs through 2013. It's highly unlikely that any interested suitor would agree to pay such a lofty salary, especially considering it remains uncertain whether Culpepper will be ready to play at the start of the regular season. Culpepper is continuing to recover from two knee surgeries that prevented him from practicing earlier this offseason and ended his 2006 campaign after just four games.
Jacksonville has emerged as a potential suitor for Culpepper, but he isn't a lock to sign there. Culpepper could have other options, which is reflected by the fact Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga told British media on the team's tour that several franchises have expressed interest in a trade.
Oakland could be an intriguing destination because of an uncertain backup situation behind rookie JaMarcus Russell and Raiders owner Al Davis' love of strong-armed quarterbacks. Green Bay doesn't have a set heir apparent behind Brett Favre, who could be entering his last season with the Packers. St. Louis also would be an interesting fit because of Rams coach Scott Linehan, who was offensive coordinator in Minnesota during Culpepper's standout 2004 season.
Regardless, one thing is certain: Culpepper won't be with the Dolphins in 2007.
Culpepper's Claim To Be Heard Soon
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