The Dolphins won too many games to get Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin . They've been eliminated from the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. And they won't get Matt Flynn, either.
Flynn, presumed to be a natural fit with the Dolphins given his ties to new head coach Joe Philbin, instead signed a three-year deal with the Seahawks on Sunday, the team confirmed. The deal was worth $26 million with $10 million guaranteed, according to reports. Flynn on Friday visited the Seahawks, the Dolphins' only competition for him.
The Dolphins hosted Flynn all day Saturday, but didn't want to pay top dollar for a quarterback with two career starts, and by Sunday showed signs of moving on from Flynn. The Dolphins hosted San Francisco free agent quarterback Alex Smith until about 5 p.m. on Sunday, and plan to host former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard on Monday, a league source confirmed.
Matt Moore, under contract with Miami for one more year, remains the Dolphins' starting quarterback for now. Pat Devlin, an undrafted rookie in 2011, is the only other quarterback under contract.
General Manager Jeff Ireland spoke two months ago at the Senior Bowl about making "a much bolder statement in South Florida" and the necessity to find a quarterback "that can lead us over the hump."
But the only bold move so far has been a subtraction – trading No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall to the Bears for two third-round picks.
Otherwise, the Dolphins have signed a handful of backups in free agency and missed out on Manning and now Flynn, who will likely win Seattle's starting job over Tarvaris Jackson. That Philbin knows Flynn after spending the past four years as his offensive coordinator is potentially an indictment that Philbin wasn't thrilled about signing Flynn, especially for $10 million guaranteed.
Smith, though, offers an intriguing alternative to Flynn.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, Smith didn't live up to expectations in his first six seasons with the 49ers, getting benched at various points in favor of unheralded quarterbacks including Trent Dilfer, Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, J.T. O'Sullivan, Shaun Hill and Troy Smith.
But Smith, 27, had a breakout year in 2012, throwing 17 touchdowns against just five interceptions while leading San Francisco to a 13-3 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said last month at the NFL Scouting Combine that the team wants Smith back.
"Alex is our guy. That's well-documented," he said.
The team reportedly had a three-year, $24 million offer for Smith on the table last week that he declined to sign. Meanwhile, the 49ers jumped into the Manning sweepstakes last week, and Smith could soon be in need of a new team. With the Seahawks signing Flynn, Miami and perhaps Denver (if it trades Tim Tebow) are Smith's only options other than San Francisco to be a starting quarterback in 2012. Smith was supposed to visit the Seahawks on Monday but had his visit canceled.
An athletic, dual-threat quarterback at Utah, Smith was drafted by the 49ers in 2005 when their offensive coordinator was Mike McCarthy, who runs the same West Coast Offense as does Philbin (McCarthy later became the Packers' head coach and Philbin's boss).
But Smith will have to continue to improve on his accuracy to run the West Coast Offense, which relies on quick, accurate passes. He completed a career-high 61.3 percent of his passes last year, but for his career is at just 58 percent.
The Dolphins must also take a look at Garrard in case they don't come to terms with Smith. Garrard, 34, was cut by the Jaguars at the end of training camp in August and did not sign with a team. He had discussions with the Dolphins when Chad Henne suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, but Garrard had a back injury himself, and had surgery a few weeks later.
Garrard has thrown for over 16,000 yards with 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions in nine seasons with Jacksonville, five as a starter. It is doubtful that he would instantly supplant Moore as the Dolphins' starter in 2012, but he could be allowed to compete for the job in training camp.
According to the Florida Times-Union, Garrard also will visit the St. Louis Rams this week.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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