If the Dolphins go quarterback-shopping, don't expect to find anything close to a long-term answer in free agency. A trade isn't likely either, unless Miami is willing to dangle a first-round pick for Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb (Miami doesn't have a second-rounder in 2011) or if Tennessee dumps Vince Young and the Dolphins take that risk.
Philadelphia's Michael Vick and Indianapolis' Peyton Manning aren't going anywhere, even if the franchise tag needs to be used.
Beyond those two, the unrestricted free agent list includes Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck (well past his prime), Chad Pennington (might retire after another major shoulder injury), Brett Favre (says he's retiring), Tyler Thigpen (Dolphins don't consider him a potential starter), Tennessee's Kerry Collins, San Francisco's Alex Smith and backups Seneca Wallace, Marc Bulger, Jim Sorgi, Billy Volek, Rex Grossman.
Depending on terms of the new labor deal, quarterbacks who will be either unrestricted or restricted include Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson, Oakland's Bruce Gradkowski, the 49ers' Troy Smith, Houston's Matt Leinart, Detroit's Drew Stanton and the Chiefs' Brodie Croyle.
• With Stanford's Andrew Luck potentially the first overall pick, three quarterbacks could figure in the Dolphins' first-round range (likely to be in the teens): Auburn's Cam Newton and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett (should they turn pro) and Washington's Jake Locker. But Newton or Mallett could go earlier.
``I would be shocked if Newton didn't go in the top 10,'' Fox's Jimmy Johnson said. ``I would take him in a heartbeat.'' (Mel Kiper rates him 14th among all prospects.) . . . Sporting News draft analyst and ex-Browns scout Russ Lande said, ``In terms of size and arm strength and pulling free from sacks, the most intriguing comparison to Newton [6-6] is Ben Roethlisberger, though he's not anywhere near as polished.'' Fox's Terry Bradshaw said, "He stands with his feet together and uses his wrist for his motion. He can't do that and be accurate in the NFL. He's going to have to learn to use his legs."
Kiper has Mallett No. 9 among all prospects, on espn.com. The 6-7 Mallett (30 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions) ``has become far more than a big arm,'' Kiper said. ``Patience, poise and willingness to check down have enhanced his stock.''
Lande said ``teams will look at Mallett and envision Joe Flacco. But I believe he will have mistake problems in the NFL.''
Kiper ranks Locker 23rd among all prospects: ``The skill set is fantastic but poor year overall.'' Lande said when Locker ``is in the pocket, he's really inconsistent. His mechanics aren't the same; his ball is over the place.''
• Lande said if the Dolphins don't take a quarterback in the first round, three are potential options in the third round: FSU's Christian Ponder, Idaho's Nathan Enderle and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick. Some have Iowa's Ricky Stanzi in that third-round range. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert could be off the board by Round two if he turns pro, Lande said. But it's unrealistic to expect any of those five to come in and start immediately.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/12/08/1 ... z17VGJsxeZ