Let’s Make a Deal: Trading for a Veteran Quarterback

On Monday we discussed the Dolphins’ remaining quarterback options if they take the free agency route, whenever it may be that free agency is actually permitted to take place.

While there are a few impending free agent quarterbacks that would make the Dolphins a better football team and could potentially unseat Chad Henne as the starter in an open competition, there’s no doubt that the best chance at ending this franchise’s long quarterback drought, would be trading for either Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, or Kyle Orton.

Throw in Matt Flynn from the Packers and Jeff Ireland has himself several intriguing options if he wants to stray away from his normal conservative approach and go all in for a reliable quarterback that would instantly put the Dolphins in the playoff discussion.

I’m not going to argue the case for which quarterback I would prefer Miami trading for. Although, I would say Carson Palmer and Kyle Orton are safer bets than Kolb even though the Eagles are reportedly asking for at least a first-round pick. Of the two, Palmer and Orton, I’m not exactly convicted one way or the other. Palmer was once an elite quarterback in this league but he’s never been the same after hurting his knee. Orton, on the other hand, will never be a top five passer, but he’s younger and is arguably the most underrated quarterback in the league with the stats to back it up.

The week before the draft, anticipating that the Dolphins would try to trade down in the first round, I decided to reach out to some blogs that represented teams that selected late in round one, and offer them hypothetical trade request. When thinking about what it would cost the Dolphins to trade for a quarterback, I thought I would reach out to blogs that represent the Bengals, Eagles, Broncos, and Packers, to try and get a feel for what they would accept for these quarterbacks.

Please welcome in Jason Garrison from Cincy Jungle, Thomas Jackson from Eagles Eye, Kirk Davis from Mile High Report, and Brandon Benson from Acme Packing Company. I asked the bloggers to answer my trade request with accept, decline, or counter offer.

Carson Palmer Trade Request

The offer: Miami Dolphins’ 2012 second-round pick for Cincinnati Bengals QB Carson Palmer

Response: Counter offer

Here’s the deal, I’m going to have to decline your trade offer and make a counter offer. I would love to ask you for a 2012 first round pick but I know that a team wouldn’t be willing to give up a first rounder for Palmer. At the same time though, I think Palmer’s worth more than a second-round pick by itself.

So here’s my official counter offers. The Bengals are in need of a running back. Cedric Benson is a free agent and it’s unclear as to whether or not the Bengals will be able to re-sign him. With a new west coast system and a rookie quarterback, it will be important for the Bengals to be able to run the ball to keep some pressure off Andy Dalton. The Bengals did not address the running back position in the draft until they used their seventh round compensatory pick on Baylor running back Jay Finley.

The same goes for the cornerback position. Johnathan Joseph is a free agent and while Adam Jones and Leon Hall could start in 2011, they are both free agents in 2012. They Bengals also passed on cornerbacks like Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara so they could grab A.J. Green in the first round. The Bengals didn’t address the cornerback position until they selected Southern Illinois defensive back Korey Lindsey in the seventh round. So, what I would propose is one of two trades:

One: The Bengals give the Dolphins Carson Palmer in exchange for a 2012 second-round pick and newly acquired Kansas St. running back Daniel Thomas. I believe that both Ricky Williams and Ronny Brown are free agents now, that, combined with the fact that I liked Thomas while he was at Kansas St. and I believe he could fit into their WCO well, are the reasons that I would want Thomas. So even though you’d be losing a good running back prospect, you’d be gaining a proven quarterback that knows how to win. or

Two: I would ask for a 2012 third round pick and cornerback Vontae Davis. I know that Davis is a first round pick, but so is Palmer and, really, you probably need a quarterback worse than we need a defensive back. In reality, this is the kind of trade Bengals owner Mike Brown would ask for. You would be getting a proven quarterback and losing Davis, but cornerbacks are easier to replace than quarterbacks are.

The choice is yours, but really, I’d be surprised if Brown is willing to deal Palmer at all in 2011. He’s a stubborn man.

My counter offer response: Declined

I like Jason’s outside of the box thinking here by throwing in players to the deal. But honestly, I don’t find these trades very realistic. I highly doubt Jeff Ireland would be willing to give up a rookie running back he was high enough on to trade away a fifth-round pick to move up into the second round for. And I’m almost certain Jeff Ireland would hang up the phone after a chuckle if the Bengals asked for Vontae Davis.

Vontae is on the verge of blossoming into one of the league’s best corners. Not only do you need a quarterback more than ever in a league that is evolving more and more towards the passing game, you need lockdown corners to shut down the pass on defense. Vontae Davis is going to be a shutdown corner and paired with Sean Smith, the Dolphins may have the brightest cornerback duo in football. That isn’t something the Dolphins should be willing to part with, even if it is for Carson Palmer.

Kevin Kolb Trade Request

The offer: Miami Dolphins’ 2012 second-round pick for Philadelphia Eagles QB Kevin Kolb

Note: Yeah, I was aware that the Eagles writer would decline the offer. While I believe Kevin Kolb has the most potential of any quarterback expected to be available, I don’t think the Dolphins will be willing to part with a first-round selection for a guy who’s thrown more picks and touchdown passes.

Response: Declined

I believe the Eagles would entertain your trade offer for Kevin Kolb— as long as it was for a first-round pick in 2012. Look, Kolb has value as a Dolphins-system-ready QB…very short learning curve involved…He can fit right in with ease. Kolb knows what it takes to avoid sloppy turnovers, which is exactly the trait Miami needs right now to move forward on offense… Kolb is not a spectacular playmaker, but likewise he is not an unseasoned rookie who will panic under pressure and cough up a key possession…Kolb knows when to hold and when to fold, which is the discretionary strength Miami has lacked in its recent QB history. Kolb is an accurate short-to-medium route passer, too, which would bode well for the Dolphins’ current offensive system. He may not be the best stretch-the-field passer in the NFL, but Kolb can get it to the open man, and he knows how to find him. Kolb can manage a Miami game-plan… it’s in his DNA. I think he’d be an excellent fit for the Dolphins in 2011 and beyond…and well worth the expenditure of a 2012 1st-Rounder…

Kyle Orton Trade Request

The offer: Miami Dolphins’ 2012 third-round pick and 2013 third-round pick for Denver Broncos QB Kyle Orton

Response: Counter-offer

I would counter offer a 2012 – 2nd and a 2013 – 3rd rounder. Future picks are downgraded one round for the next year. I’m not sure what the value is for a 2 year projected pick, but because it is so uncertain, the team trading the picks must give a little more value. I think most GM’s would give up a 2nd rounder for a starting QB so adding the 3rd round pick in 2013 would balance the scales in my opinion.

My counter-offer response: Declined

If I were to continue the negotiating process, I would give in if the Broncos would settle for just a second-round pick. I just don’t think trading a second and a third for Orton, who is attainable for a reason, is worth giving up two young players that would be brought in with those selections. If Orton was worth that sort of compensation, why isn’t he the unquestioned starter in Denver? Palmer wants out of Cincinnati, that’s the only reason he’s available, and Kevin Kolb is riding the pine behind Michael Vick. Orton? While he’s certainly a very solid starter, he’s been inconsistent. He’s not worth anything more than a second-round pick or two middle-round selections if you ask me.

Matt Flynn Trade Request

The offer: Miami Dolphins’ 2012 third-round pick for Green Bay Packers’ QB Matt Flynn

Response: Accepted

That’s about what I’d hope for in a trade, though the Chargers got more for Charlie Whitehurst. I’ve wrote about why it’s likely Matt Flynn will be traded. After three years of waiting, and a good first NFL start at New England, he appears to be ready for a chance to compete. The Packers traded Favre for a conditional fourth round pick in 2008, which turned into a third rounder after incentives were met, and then traded that pick as part of the deal to acquire Clay Matthews, so I’m always happy to see the Packers acquire another third round choice. But based on the Whitehurst trade, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers ask for a conditional third round pick (i.e it becomes a second round pick if Flynn starts so many games, or gives the Packers the right to swap a second round draft choice).

I don’t know what other QBs the Dolphins might be rumored to be looking at, but I’m really eager to see some team give Flynn a chance. He reminds me of Rodgers circa 2007, but he probably doesn’t have quite the same accuracy. He’s only 25, so someone will be getting the prime seasons of his career. His two games in 2010 might look a little hit or miss (great game against the Patriots, lousy game against the Lions). But the Lions defensive line (Suhhhhhhhh) destroyed the Packers offensive line in that game. They knocked Rodgers out, and Flynn was running for his life while trying to play it safe because the Packers had no other QBs on the active roster for that game.