NFL Free Agency: Could the Miami Dolphins Pursue QB Dennis Dixon?

Mark LeskoCorrespondent IIJuly 31, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Dennis Dixon #10 of the Pittsburgh Steelers rolls out under pressure from the Tennessee Titans defense during the first half at LP Field on September 19, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins were wise to walk away from the Kyle Orton trade earlier this week. The Denver Broncos were rumored to have wanted way too much for the average quarterback.

Then, you factor in that Orton wants to start and wants to be paid like a starter. The deal was just never going to work.

The Dolphins then moved on to quarter Matt Moore and signed him to a two-year deal.

That leaves the 'Fins with Moore, Chad Henne, Pat Devlin and Tom Brandstater as the quarterbacks on the roster. Not exactly a list that brings a great deal of excitement.

Let's face it. There is not much left, as far as quarterback possibilities are concerned.

I still believe Orton will be released by Denver, but I think he will be tough for the Dolphins to afford. Barring another release, the Dolphins probably only have about $4 to $5 million left to spend.

Orton would have to lower his demands to make a new contract with Miami work.

Now, a new option has emerged: Dennis Dixon.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback has not reported to camp and has demanded a trade so he can have a shot at a starting gig.

Dixon is a restricted free agent who was tendered with a fifth-round pick by the Steelers. (That means if a team were to sign him, the Steelers have the right to match the offer or else receive a fifth-round pick as compensation.)

There is no way any team will give up a fifth-round pick to sign a quarterback who has only made three career NFL starts.

However, he could be traded for a cheaper draft pick—if the Steelers choose. Dixon's salary was a little over $400,000 last season, and he probably would not require much of a raise from that for this upcoming season.

For the small salary and low compensation in a trade, Dixon could fit in the Dolphins budget.

In his three starts, Dixon went 2-1, throwing one TD and two INTs while running for 59 yards on eight carries. He was also sacked five times.

He has shown flashes of ability, but the sample size is just way too small to know just how good he is.

Dixon is also coming off a major knee injury.

Obviously, I would like to see the Dolphins find a way to get Orton. However, if he still wants $6 million to $8 million a year to possibly ride the bench, then he is not worth it.

Dixon would be a much cheaper option, but he is not as proven as Orton.

The Dolphins have played this offseason close to the vest and are not willing to overpay for players. Therefore, it could be very possible the Dolphins will look into what it would take to land Dixon.