The Miami Dolphins signing free agent quarterback Matt Flynn makes a ton of sense: New Dolphins coach Joe Philbin spent four years coaching Flynn in Green Bay, and Flynn has already showed in limited action that he can play well in Philbin’s offense.
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. In fact, Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports reports that the Dolphins have yet to express remote interest in Flynn. The reason? All of the focus in Miami is on signing Peyton Manning.
If Philbin is on board with the decision to put all the emphasis on getting Manning, and not even thinking about Flynn, that ought to be a red flag for other teams: If the coach who knows Flynn best needs a quarterback, and doesn’t want Flynn to be that quarterback, other coaches may begin to think maybe they shouldn’t want Flynn either.
Alternatively, Philbin may have no say in the matter: Like other reports, Cole’s report suggests that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is the driving force for Manning, and he’s the one telling Philbin and G.M. Jeff Ireland that they shouldn’t even be thinking about any other quarterback. But then the question becomes, why hire Philbin at all if you’re not going to give him any say about the most important offseason move the team will make?
One of the fascinating dynamics in the Manning sweepstakes is that in many of the cities where reports are surfacing about interest in acquiring Manning, it’s the owners who are reportedly behind that interest. The day that Manning signs, sponsors will be lining up to do business with the team that signs him, and the phones will be ringing off the hook in the ticket office. Owners love the thought of that.
But owners ought to be smart enough to realize that what really drives ticket sales is winning games, and the way to win is to let the football people make the right football decisions. If Flynn becomes a good starting quarterback for some other team, the Dolphins may come to regret getting starry-eyed about Manning.