Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Welcome To Miami: Dolphins Acquire Culpepper

They'll party in the city where the heat is on, all night on the beach 'til the break of dawn with the announcement that the Miami Dophins have acquired Quarterback Daunte Culpepper. The erstwhile Viking is coming off a major knee surgery, and had asked for a trade. Minnesota receives a 2nd Round Pick in next month's entry draft.

In Culpepper, the Dolphins acquire an All-Pro Talent, albeit one who has been erratic at times. For each of the three All-Pro level seasons he's put up as a starter, he's put up one average to below average performance, including 2005's injury-plagued campaign. However, with the right supporting cast, which he will have in Miami, he should thrive. Though there are some questions about the Dolphins' Offensive Line, their talent in the backfield (Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown) and at Receiver (Chris Chambers, Marty Booker, Randy McMichael) is top notch. Even if they don't upgrade their defense, I consider them to be the favorites to win the AFC East, with New England aging and losing key players left and right (David Givens signed elsewhere today and Willie McGinest should follow suit right away), and Buffalo and the Jets not having the depth to compete.

As for the Vikings, for now this leaves them with Brad Johnson as the undisputed Starter at Quarterback. They clearly need to bring in a younger option at that position, and as I noted yesterday, they should be targeting players like Josh McCown and Patrick Ramsey. With an extra pick in the second round, it's not inconceivable that they could try to put together a package to move up into the Top 10 of the draft to have a shot at picking Jay Cutler, either. Regardless of the direction they take, I think it's imperative that the Vikings do something to find a young Quarterback who can compete with Johnson for the job.

The Culpepper trade is the second Quarterback move of the day. Earlier, Jon Kitna signed in Detroit, where he will compete with Joey Harrington for the top job. With the Dolphins having filled their need at QB, it's expected that Drew Brees will sign shortly with New Orleans. A trade to send Patrick Ramsey to the Jets could also be completed right away.

The Dolphins are definite winners today. Nick Saban's team surprised everyone last year, and came within a couple of games of squeaking into the playoffs. Having now upgraded at the Quarterback position - their number one priority of the off-season, they are definitely going to be a team to keep your eye on come September.

**UPDATE** On the heels of the Culpepper trade, Drew Brees has signed with New Orleans. Wow, that took about 30 minutes to sort out.


At 1:17 PM, Blogger Nathan Muhly said...

Poor Drew, welcome to the graveyard that will soon become your career. I thought the Saints would target a QB in the draft, but now they have a proven guy in Brees. I wonder how his shoulder will hold up.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Whither Aaron Brooks? And who does this mean NO will take with their pick?

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Aaron Brooks will be cut loose at some point.

As for the draft, it looks like the Saints will trade down. If they stay in the 4-7 range, they could still grab a player like D'Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia or Mario Williams of NC State, both of whom are talented enough to be top 3 picks in a regular year. It's also possible that they could just pick one of those players in the 2 spot, and let the Titans sweat it out for 15 minutes trying to decide between Leinart and Young.

If I had to guess, I'd say New Orleans ends up with Williams. He's a lean, fast defensive end, who's been compared to Julius Peppers. The Saints also have a need at that position now that Darren Howard has signed with the Eagles (great move by Philly, btw).

Aside from San Diego, a potential loser in this Quarterback shuffle is Washington. They're still trying to unload Patrick Ramsey, and the New York Jets had appeared to be the most likely destination. Now, with the possibility that Leinart or Young could fall to them, they might be much less inclined to pursue a trade with the Redskins.

One final note, but am I the only the one who thinks that a blockbuster trade between the Saints and the Jets involving a swap of first round picks, the Saints getting John Abraham, and the Jets getting more draft picks in return makes too much sense? The Jets are assured of one of the top 2 QBs, and get a surplus of picks to help rebuild the squad, while New Orleans gets Abraham to fill Howard's spot, and can either draft Williams to team up with him, or Ferguson to anchor the offensive line.

The Jets have many needs, and are rebuilding, while New Orleans has a lot of talent, but is a few players and some franchise stability away from being a playoff team. This helps both teams move forward.

This is the best trade I've drawn up since I used ESPN's NBA Trade Generator to dump all the Celtics' useless white guys in return for expiring contracts in a three-way trade with Orlando and New York.


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