Quarterback Daunte Culpepper was told Wednesday morning by the Miami Dolphins that the team would like to trade him now that Trent Green has been acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Culpepper said he would prefer to be released or allowed to compete for the starting job this season.
"This morning I met with (general manager) Randy Mueller and (coach) Cam Cameron," Culpepper wrote in an email on Wednesday morning. "They finally notified me that they are going in a different direction at the QB position. They would like to trade me in order to 'get something for me.' However, it is my position that I have already been down that road and I am not interested in being traded. They have told me throughout the off-season that I am under contract to the Dolphins.
"Therefore, it will be up to them to either keep me under contract or release me. In the meantime I will continue to work out at the facility with the team and prepare myself for training camp, wherever it may be."
The Dolphins had no immediate comment on Culpepper's statement. However, they face complications if they indeed attempt to trade Culpepper.
He is scheduled to earn $5.5 million in base salary this season and as a result would likely have to restructure his contract to accommodate a deal which gives him ultimate leverage over what happens.
Another issue is that despite his claim he's been cleared by both team doctors and Dr. James Andrews to participate in the team's minicamp this weekend, Culpepper is a health risk. He missed the final nine games of the 2005 season with the Minnesota Vikings after tearing three ligaments in his right knee. He then missed 12 games with the Dolphins last season as a result of not being fully recovered from the '05 injury and had surgery in December to remove scar tissue.
Furthermore, the Dolphins must find a team in immediate need of a quarterback. At this point, most teams have identified their starters for '07. Culpepper is close with former Minnesota coach Mike Tice, who is now an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and with former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who is coaching the St. Louis Rams. However, neither team has an open job at the moment, although Jacksonville starter Byron Leftwich is not on the strongest footing with the Jaguars.
The Dolphins gave up a second-round pick in March '06 to acquire Culpepper from Minnesota, but have spent most of this offseason trying to land Green. The Dolphins agreed to send Kansas City a 2008 conditional fifth-round draft pick in exchange for Green.