Alex Smith Rumors: Is Alex Smith or David Garrard a Better Fit for the Dolphins?

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball
during the second half of the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Entering this offseason, almost everyone and their dog expected the Miami Dolphins to be major players for Matt Flynn of the Green Bay Packers.

It was essentially a circumstance of two-plus-two journalism as analysts looked at the new head coach in Miami and instantly penciled Flynn in at the top of their depth chart.

Joe Philbin, the Dolphins' new head coach, was Matt Flynn's quarterback coach in Green Bay with the Packers. If anyone knows enough to accurately assess the record-breaking quarterback (who only has two career starts), it is Philbin.

Therefore, it should be noted that the Dolphins, while they did make a move for Flynn, didn't offer him a big enough deal to sign him. In fact, the Dolphins interest appears to be somewhat fleeting, as they reportedly were low-balling him.

Instead, the Dolphins have brought in veteran quarterback Alex Smith today in order to figure out if he can offer them an upgrade over Matt Moore after a breakout season under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco last year.

While Smith is in town, the organization has already organized a visit with another veteran quarterback in the form of David Garrard, previously of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Neither quarterback has ever really overwhelmed fans with their exhibitions in the past, despite the fact that they were both starters for lengthy periods.

Nonetheless, let's see how these two match up with each other and, ultimately, who would be the better fit for the Miami Dolphins.


The first thing suitors of prospective free agents will always need to know is what it is going to cost to acquire the player. There is no doubt that Alex Smith will cost more than David Garrard because he is closer to the prime of his career and has had more recent success.

Smith played in the NFC Championship Game last year, whereas Garrard never found a team after being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars and missing most of the season because of injury.


Smith has 66 starts in his career and worked with multiple offensive coordinators and head coaches throughout. However, while he has experience dealing with change, he has only ever actually dealt well with it once: last year, with Jim Harbaugh.

Smith should be considered a leader, however, as he never backed down throughout his career despite facing a huge amount of adversity and criticism from fans. He was even once questioned by a teammate prior to last season.

By the end of last season, however, Smith's teammates loved him.

Garrard has 76 starts in his career, which includes a trip to the playoffs after the 2007 season. Garrard never reached a conference championship game like Smith did last year, but he did have more consistent success on a weaker team over many years.

Garrard was never truly appreciated in Jacksonville and they only realized what he provided the team when he left.


Smith has a clear advantage as far as health goes. He is 27 years of age so he still has multiple years left to play in the NFL.

At 34 years of age and coming off a season when he couldn't get healthy enough to sign with a team, Garrard is, at best, a one-year option. Additionally, his physical prowess may have declined.


Smith's only success came last year when he played in a very quarterback-friendly offense. He has decent athleticism, okay arm strength and inconsistent accuracy. Garrard's accuracy is not much better, but, at least when healthy, he has much better mobility and arm strength than Smith.

Garrard, at his best, is much better than Smith. Smith likely is a safer bet, though—his drop-off won't be as severe as he is still in his prime.


Prior to last season, Alex Smith had thrown 53 interceptions to 51 touchdowns in his career. Last year, he threw 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. That was largely because of the scheme and harness which Jim Harbaugh put him under.

Throughout his career, Garrard has been incredibly efficient considering the lack of talent with which he played. Of course, the fact that he always played with a strong running back and was capable of running himself in broken play aided his playmaking efforts.

After his rookie season, Garrard never threw more interceptions than touchdowns in a single season.

Neither Alex Smith or David Garrard are long-term options for the Miami Dolphins. In fact, Matt Moore is arguably a better option than both.

However, since the Dolphins don't appear interested in anyone else, who do you think is the better fit?