Tag:Matt Flynn
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:07 pm
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Report: Browns will go after Matt Flynn

Flynn

By Josh Katzowitz

The list of potential suitors for Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn continues to grow. Already, you know the Dolphins are interested, and Green Bay probably would like to bring him back so the team can then (possibly) trade him away.

But according to the Canton Repository, the Browns also will make a play for the fourth-year veteran who’s made exactly two starts in his career (though he admittedly was pretty awesome in both those starts).

As Steve Doerschuk writes, “There will be a budget that will not be exceeded in the play for Flynn. Peyton Manning’s presence on the market drives down his price.  … That still leaves the Dolphins as a suitor … and as the likely lander of Flynn.”

The paper also notes that Browns president Mike Holmgren is “no great fan” of quarterback competition, and if Cleveland can land Flynn, the team would make him the starter instead of Colt McCoy.

It’s still unclear whether the Browns, who hold the No. 4 spot in April’s draft, will try to trade with the Rams to move up to the No. 2 position to grab Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, but on Wednesday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur had some nice things to say about McCoy*.

In like Flynn?
"We're looking forward him to improving through the offseason," Shurmur said. "I think it will make a big difference in year two (of) me being here.  I told him to prepare himself to get as much out of this offseason as possible. I'm expecting him to attack this offseason and get as good as he can get within our system. He really works at things and that's going to help him."

*Basically, it seems like nobody has any idea what the Browns will do.

Flynn, meanwhile, is looking forward to striking out on his own as a potential starting quarterback.

"I'm a confident person but the element of the unknown makes you wish March 13 was tomorrow," Flynn said this week. "I've loved being a Packer, and it's not 100 percent sure I'm leaving Green Bay, but as a competitor and football player, that's what you play the game for -- to be a starter in the league. Hopefully some teams will be interested in me and I can find a good opportunity. I want to lead a team and I'm excited about it. But I can't talk to teams now. I don't know if I'm on their radar. It's going to be a long month leading up to that time -- waiting and wondering."

While you still have to consider Miami the favorite to land Flynn (even if there are no billboards of him on I-95) because of the connection with new Dolphins coach/former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, it will be interesting to see if the Browns actually can make themselves a player in this lottery.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:27 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:28 pm
 

Are Dolphins best fit for Matt Flynn's skills?

Green Bay might franchise Flynn but only to trade him to a team in desperate need of a QB.  (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Packers inked tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year deal Wednesday night, which means that they can now use the franchise tag on backup quarterback Matt Flynn. The organization isn't interested in paying Flynn $14.4 million to watch Aaron Rodgers in 2012, but instead are hoping to trade him to a quarterback-needy team.

" If (the Packers) franchise Flynn before the March 5 deadline, they would be on the hook for a $14.4 million salary, but their intention would be to do a sign-and-trade," Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote late Wednesday.

"In other words, they would shop Flynn to those interested in him and take the best offer. Flynn would have to agree to renegotiate the one-year deal into a long-term contract before any team would be willing to make a trade. Then, once he was dealt, he would restructure the contract."

The Patriots did something similar with Matt Cassel in 2009 -- franchising him before eventually trading him to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

So who might be in the market for Flynn's services? The Dolphins seem like the most logical destination; new head coach Joe Philbin was Flynn's offensive coordinator in Green Bay and Miami has no intentions of re-signing Chad Henne. Then there are the Redskins, Seahawks, Cardinals, and the Browns.

We went into painstaking detail about Flynn's future (as well as that of Peyton Manning, the other quarterback who will draw plenty of interest in free agency as soon as he's released).


NFL Films' Greg Cosell, who watches more game film than anyone whose not an NFL coach, wrote Thursday about Flynn's strengths and weaknesses. Many of the concerns scouts had about Flynn coming out of college remain (size and arm strength chief among them), but he still has the chance to be pretty good.

"Flynn, at 6-foot-2, does not possess prototypical size. He has above-average arm strength, nothing more," Cosell said. "There are power throws he will struggle to make, like deep digs at 18-22 yards, or deep comebacks. In fact, these are not throws you would ask Flynn to make. The bottom line: Flynn is not a top-level passer.

"His attributes, based on film breakdown of his two NFL starts, derive from his talent as a timing and rhythm passer who’s decisive with his reads and throws, and has shown good accuracy in the short to intermediate areas. …One thing I liked was his pocket movement. He showed the ability to slide and maintain his downfield focus. That’s a far more important trait than running out of the pocket."

So what are Flynn's long-term prospects? "Flynn, I believe, can be a successful NFL starter, but he must be carefully manipulated by the schematics of the passing game, and helped by the play-calling," Cosell said. "He’s not Aaron Rodgers simply because he put up better numbers in a late-season start. Rodgers is an exception, a supremely talented passer with rare traits. Few quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown with Rodgers’ combination of velocity and accuracy."

Cosell concludes that "It would make good sense for Flynn to join his former offensive coordinator in Miami. Philbin understands from personal experience Flynn’s strengths and limitations. If he gets the chance, he will take a page from the Bill Walsh book, and cast Flynn in his rightful role: an efficient passer in a multi-dimensional passing game in which the scheme rules, not the quarterback."

Flynn has drawn comparisons to Kevin Kolb, who was miscast in the Cardinals' scheme last season  (they run a completely different offense than the Eagles' version of the West Coast). The difference: if Flynn lands in Miami, he'll have a much greater chance for success.

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said he hadn't heard about the grassroots South Florida "Manning to Miami" push until someone told him about it at the combine in Indianapolis Thursday morning, but said that "I don't think it has to be a long-term solution (at quarterback) -- I think you can look at a short-term solution."

Hopefully, Ireland meant that in the physical sense (Flynn's 6-2) and not in the "we can get a year or two out of this old-timer assuming he's completely healthy (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we're getting Peyton!)" sense.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:47 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:11 pm
 

Packers sign Finley to 2-year deal, Flynn next?

Green Bay keeps Finley for two more years, is Flynn  next? (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

There were concerns heading into the offseason that free agent tight end Jermichael Finley, who hauled in 131 passes for 1,744 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Packers since 2009, would want to be paid like a wide receiver. Turns out, the two sides found common ground nearly two weeks before the start of free agency; Finley has signed a two-year deal with Green Bay worth slightly less than $15 million. ProFootballTalk.com originally reported the news and Finley confirmed it on Twitter.

JermichaelF88
It's TRUE! Thank you so much to the Packers organization, all of my fans, and my beautiful wife. Happy Bday. Let's GO Packers!! Back soon...
2/22/12 8:31 PM

As PFT noted, the average value of Finley's new contract -- roughly $7.5 million -- splits the difference between the franchise tag values for tight ends ($5.4) and wide receivers ($9.4).

Finley made $1.2 million in base salary last season.

Signing Finley means that the Packers now have the franchise tag still available to them to use as they see fit. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein tweets that "I anticipate the Packers using the franchise tag on (Matt) Flynn now. They'll take the $14 million cap hit and then deal him to somebody."

We wrote about this possibility on January 3 when Silverstein first floated the idea of a Packers tag and trade:

Silverstein [writes] that the move isn't without risk for the Packers. Putting aside the illegality of a tag and trade, there's also the issue of having a $14 million backup on your roster if other teams aren't sufficiently interested in trading for him. Which means that team president Ted Thompson would have to work with Flynn's agent "behind the scenes to find a trading partner and then negotiate a deal suitable to Flynn."

Silverstein was told by a "prominent agent who has represented a franchise player" that Green Bay could be in line for a first-round pick at minimum for Flynn, and maybe a first- and third-rounder.

That sounds, well, extreme, especially since Hue Jackson already traded for Carson Palmer.  


Almost two months later and it still sounds extreme.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Group purchases 'Manning to Miami' billboard

Desperate times call for desperate measures. (Local10.com*)

By Ryan Wilson

It's no secret that the Dolphins need a franchise quarterback. We've mentioned it before, but the list of successors to Dan Marino in Miami is one of the saddest things you'll ever see. The team's top passers since 2000: Jay Fiedler, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne and Matt Moore (see, we told you).

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is reportedly "infatuated" with Peyton Manning for obvious reasons: assuming he's healthy enough to play in 2012, Manning immediately makes the Dolphins competitive and, perhaps more importantly, he'll sell tickets, something the team struggles to do when it's not Tim Tebow Appreciation Day.

Free agent Matt Flynn might make more sense -- he's younger, healthier, and is familiar with new head coach Joe Philbin's offense (Philbin and Flynn were together in Green Bay). But Flynn ain't Manning when it comes to cachet or resume, which explains the South Florida billboard visible from I-95 relaying a simple message: Manning to Miami.

There's also a website for the like-minded to sign a petition and "Be part of 'The Movement' and make history -- bring Manning to Miami."

The site asks some important questions:

"How many wins is Manning worth? When's the last time we the fans have had an 'impact' quarterback? What about the most cerebral quarterback of all time?"

The only problem is that Manning, in his current state, is worth zero wins. But this is what desperation smells like when you've been subjected to names like Frerotte, Culpepper, Harrington and Henne in recent years.

* The screenshot above is courtesy of Local10.com. You can watch the compelling video here. (Apparently, the camera has zoom capabilities -- both in and out.)

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:42 pm
 

Report: Dolphins won't attempt to re-sign Henne

Henne's career in Miami ends after four uninspiring seasons. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

We spent a good part of the latest Pick-6 Podcast talking about where Chad Henne will play in 2012 because while Miami's front office hasn't come out and said it, it's a foregone conclusion that he played his last game for the Dolphins in Week 4 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

On Tuesday, a league source told the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly that Dolphins won't be making Henne an offer. Which means that the unrestricted free agent will be free to hawk his wares to any of the other 31 NFL teams.


In early January, Henne, the Dolphins' 2008 second-round pick, said he would "love" to return to Miami. But the 13-18 career record as a starter and the career-best 79.0 passer rating through four games of the 2011 season were two good reasons for the organization to continue its search for the next franchise quarterback.

“Chad has done what we’ve asked him to do," Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said at the Senior Bowl last month according to Kelly. "I like Chad personally very well. He’s very smart. Very intelligent. Very tough. A football guy. He loves being around the game and is a very good teammate. But this football team didn’t win enough games when he was quarterback here.

"But that doesn’t mean he did everything wrong, or right. If he goes somewhere else, Chad’s a good football player. He can play in this league.”

While Henne won't have trouble finding work, barring an extraordinary set of circumstances, it won't be as a starter. (CBSSports.com's Will Brinson pegs the Chiefs, Jets and Broncos as possible destinations.)

As for the Dolphins, two names are often mentioned at the top of their wish list: Peyton Manning (who owner Stephen Ross is reportedly infatuated with) and Matt Flynn, who knows new head coach Joe Philbin well from their time together in Green Bay.

Flynn might make the most sense because he's familiar with Philbin's offense and hasn't had four neck surgeries. But Manning would give the Dolphins something they haven't had since Dan Marino retired: one of the league's best quarterbacks. The only difference is that Manning's best days could be behind him. Exacerbating matters: we won't know one way or the other for weeks, maybe months.

One thing is for certain, however: Henne's career in Miami is officially over.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:10 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 5:01 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Quarterback rankings

The 2012 free-agent quarterback class is an, um, diverse group. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling lists of the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the quarterbacks.

Though the list of free-agent quarterbacks for 2012 isn't necessarily the greatest crop of players in NFL history, it does have the potential to be one of the most intriguing in years, because of one man: Peyton Manning. Manning's saga is well-documented at this point; the back-and-forth between Manning's camp and Jim Irsay dominated the freaking Super Bowl.

Releasing him into the wild seems like a mere matter of timing. So we're going to take that assumption and add Manning to our lists of free agents. We're also including the Saints Drew Brees and 49ers Alex Smith on this list, since both are technically unrestricted free agents, until they receive the franchise tag from their respective teams. There's a better likelihood of Jimmy Clausen unseating Cam Newton than there is Brees not returning to New Orleans, but maybe someone in the Saints office will forget to fax in the franchise-tag paperwork.


Brees offseason could be interesting.  (Getty Images)

1. Drew Brees

Breakdown: The biggest problem for the Saints isn't that Brees might leave. He's not going to unless something really ridiculous happens. The biggest problem for the Saints is that if they're forced to use the franchise tag on Brees, they could end up losing Carl Nicks and Marques Colston. That won't make Brees any happier when it gets down to brass-tack negotiating.
Potential Landing Spots: Saints

2. Peyton Manning

Breakdown: Perhaps you've heard of Manning before. He's third all-time in passing yards (54,828). He's third all-time in passing touchdowns (399). He's won more MVPs than anyone in NFL history (four). And he's second in his own family with Super Bowl rings (one). That last item isn't a shot at Manning, though. It's the reason we believe he's not done when it comes to football, and that he'll come back to the game supremely motivated. No one knows whether or not he'll be fully healthy by the time the 2012 season begins. We do know he won't be fully healthy by the time March 13 rolls around, though. Which means that anyone who signs him will be engaging in a serious high-risk, high-reward game of chicken with Manning's neck.
Potential Landing Spots: Cardinals, Dolphins, Seahawks, Jets, Redskins

3. Matt Flynn

Breakdown: Flynn's attempted just 132 passes at the professional level, but 81 of them are pretty impressive. Those came in the only two starts of his career, when Flynn managed to go 55 of 81 for 731 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. There are concerns that Flynn can't make every throw (right now) and that he might be a product of Green Bay's system. But that system's in Miami now, as former Packers quarterbacks coach Joe Philbin is the Dolphins head coach. If Miami doesn't make a run at Flynn when free agency opens up, that should be a big red flag for anyone else interested in Aaron Rodgers backup.
Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Seahawks, Redskins

4. Alex Smith

Breakdown: Smith resurrected his career under new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and, in the span of about two playoff minutes against the Saints, nearly flipped the entire narrative of his career. As it is, Smith's improvement in 2011 is impressive; according to Pro Football Focus, he had the third-highest accuracy percentage in the NFL (factoring in drops, throwaways and spikes) last year, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Smith's said he isn't interested in leaving San Francisco, and Harbaugh's gotten his back publicly, even though there's zero chance they'll use the franchise tag on him.
Potential Landing Spots: 49ers
Henne could surprise in the right spot. (Getty Images)

5. Chad Henne

Breakdown: Miami drafting a quarterback in the second round: an April tradition unlike any other! But no, seriously, Henne's in a long line of signal-callers that the Dolphins took in the second round who didn't pan out. He's had serious problems with interceptions; Henne's got a 3.5 percent INT rate over his career and only nine of his 36 NFL games have not featured him throwing a pick. And Henne tends to look particularly robotic at times in the pocket (these things go hand in hand). But he's only 26 and it's not fair to blame him for all of Miami's woes the past three years. Henne can make all the throws and flashed some serious potential at times during his tenure in South Beach. He's the highest-upside backup quarterback out there and he's got several former coaches -- Brian Daboll, Tony Sparano -- coaching in spots that could use a backup quarterback.
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Jets, Broncos

6. Jason Campbell

Breakdown: It's hard not to feel sympathetic for Campbell. The former Auburn star and first-round pick has had roughly 25 offensive coordinators since he started taking snaps in college and he's about to start out on his third NFL roster once the free-agency shuffling begins anew this year. He's 30 and hasn't played a full season in the past two years, either because of injury or being benched. The latter was for Bruce Gradkowski, so it's hard to tell what's worse for his reputation. He makes a lot of sense for a team that wants someone to push their starter without making a stink in the locker room.
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Eagles, Jets

NFL Free Agency

7. Kyle Orton

Breakdown: Orton's was a "winner" with the Bears, he was a stat-hog for a season with the Broncos, he flirted with the Dolphins and finally he was a streak-killer with the Chiefs. He's not going to be anyone's starter in 2011, unless Washington seriously misplays everything in free agency and the draft (not out of the question). But he's an above-average backup in the NFL and could certainly compete with the starters that various teams -- KC, Washington, Jacksonville, for example -- will trot out in 2011. Orton doesn't want to deal with being a "stop-gap option" but it's unlikely he'll have a choice next year.
Potential Landing Spots:
Redskins, Chiefs, Jaguars, Bears, Broncos

8. David Garrard

Breakdown: Pete Prisco's second-favorite quarterback missed the entire 2011 season after the Jaguars cut him and he underwent surgery for a herniated disk in his back. There was interest in the 34-year-old last year after teams lost quarterbacks to injury, but he decided to recover from the surgery instead. While that's the smart move, Garrard won't find the market as friendly for his services this time, especially since his agent said on February 15 Garrard would be ready in "four to six weeks." Expect someone with a steady starter and tenuous backup to look to Garrard.
Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Broncos, Buccaneers, Rams, Raiders

9. Shaun Hill

Breakdown: Hill's 32 and not exactly a spring chicken. But he performed admirably in place of Matthew Stafford in 2010 and the fit between he and the Lions is a nice one. The Lions are tight with cap space, but Hill appears to like where he's at, and it's not like he'd break the bank in another location anyway.
Potential Landing Spots: Lions
VY's likely to remain a backup. (Getty Images)

10. Vince Young

Breakdown: Now seems like a good time to remind you that the guy who coined "Dream Team" in Philly was indeed the backup quarterback and someone on a one-year contract. His personality and turnovers will cause a problem for teams looking to sign him. Unless that team happens to run the read-option offense and could really use a mobile quarterback with success in the NFL to step in and freelance if/when Tim Tebow gets hurt/melts down.
Potential Landing Spots: Broncos

11. Rex Grossman

Breakdown: Did you know that Rex Grossman is actually "Rex Grossman III"? Poor Mike Shanahan had RG3 on his roster the whole time and didn't even know it. Sigh. Anyway, Grossman's not going to attract a lot of attention on the market, and nor should he. As the old saying goes, though, "love the one you're with." And Grossman and the Shanahans are with each other, even if Rex isn't starting next year. It would be surprising to see him playing anywhere else in 2012.
Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

HONORABLE MENTION

Unrestricted Free Agents: Dennis Dixon, Josh Johnson, Brady Quinn, Charlie Whitehurst, Donovan McNabb, Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton, Caleb Hanie, Charlie Batch, Kellen Clemens

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:52 am
 

Sherman likens Tannehill to Favre, Rodgers

New Fins OC Mike Sherman thinks Tannehill is a Favre-like leader. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

When it comes to quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft, the general consensus out there is that Ryan Tannehill is the No. 3 signal caller behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. But that doesn't mean he's doomed to falling in the draft, as there are plenty of potential suitors picking in the top half of the draft.

One such suitor, the Miami Dolphins, recently hired Tannehill's coach at Texas A&M, Mike Sherman, as its offensive coordinator. And Sherman, speaking to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, said that Tannehill reminds him of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

"Like all good quarterbacks he had great poise. Very confident in any system, west coast or not," Sherman said of Tannehill. "Any quarterback has to be confident in his own skin and believe in himself. They always say a great quarterback makes those around him better. I thought [Brett] Favre did that. I think Aaron Rodgers does that. I think Tannehill does that as well."

We'll forgo debating the comparisons between Favre and Rodgers, made only on the premise that Tannehill is a leader. Instead, we'll point out that it was actually Sherman who moved Tannehill to wide receiver before the 2008 season. Tannehill lost out in the competition for quarterback to Stephen McGee and Jerrod Johnson and remained a wide receiver in 2009.

Tannehill caught over 100 passes for more than 1,400 yards in two years before being moved back to quarterback, and completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 5,388 yards, 42 touchdowns and 21 interceptions over the next two years.

But again: Sherman's the guy who moved him to wideout. It's impressive as hell that Tannehill was a dominant college wide receiver, and even more impressive that he transitioned back to quarterback, but if he was "like Brett Favre," the move to wide receiver is an indictment of someone here.

Oh yes, and Sherman was fired from his job as Texas A&M head coach after this past season.

Having said all that, we tend to agree that Tannehill's stock is on the rise and that he's highly unlikely to even fall towards the end of the first round. NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler slotted him as high as sixth to the Redskins in the latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft. (Rob Rang has Tannehill going 22nd overall to the Browns.)

But if new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin feels the same way about Matt Flynn as Sherman apparently feels about Tannehill, it won't matter much that the Dolphins OC is that interested in his former wideout/quarterback protégé.

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Posted on: February 19, 2012 10:00 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 10:24 pm
 

How will Philbin, Dolphins deal with Marshall?

Some Fins players reportedly thought Sparano and his staff coddled Marshall. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Brandon Marshall's physical skills are undeniable. But the off-field distractions and occasional on-field lapses make him more mercurial diva than dominating downfield threat. His wife was accused of stabbing him last April, and in December, Marshall was temporarily detained for refusing to pay a cab fare. Then there are the issues with teammates and the random observations about his pregame preparations. (Then, when the games don't matter, Marshall goes off. Of course he does.)

So, yes, Marshall is viewed as something of an enigma. But according to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, the previous coaching staff led by Tony Sparano also served as Marshall's enablers.

"There’s curiosity internally in seeing how the new staff deals with Marshall. Some players thought the former staff looked the other way when he did foolish things (like spiking a ball off Vontae Davis’ face)," Jackson wrote Sunday.

Will new head coach Joe Philbin's staff demand more from Marshall? No idea, but here's how these things work on every team: the best players, or those physically gifted with gobs of potential, are given more leeway than the eighth guy on the practice squad. Media and fans are occasionally indignant when some players are given second, third and fourth chances for breaking the law or violating team rules while other players are promptly cut.

Marshall, in the right offense, can be dangerous. From 2007-2009, he caught at least 307 passes for 3,710 yards and 23 touchdowns. And despite "all the other stuff" since he arrived in Miami in 2010, he's averaged 84 receptions, 1,114 yards and 4.5 touchdowns. And that's with Chad Henne and Matt Moore throwing him the ball.

During the Pro Bowl three weeks ago, Marshall noted Moore's accomplishments under tough circumstances last season. But he also understood that Moore ain't a franchise quarterback.

"Obviously, Matt [Moore] had a great year," Marshall said. "You don't want to take anything away from Matt, but I think we really bring in somebody who can compete and make the team better."

Which is why Marshall has reached out to Matt Flynn, the Packers quarterback who will draw plenty of interest should he become a free agent.

"Hey man, listen, I'm out here at the Pro Bowl, and I'm not getting no balls thrown to me!" Marshall joked to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington. "I need a quarterback. You've got Big Ben throwing to [Mike] Wallace, you've got Philip throwing to [Antonio] Gates and Vincent [Jackson], you've got Andy throwing to A.J. [Green]. I'm the only guy out here, man!"

Then there's this: new Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman doesn't think the team is that far away.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com