Dolphins to trade '05 conditional pick

Updated: February 22, 2004, 3:06 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Having apparently decided that the price of acquiring either Drew Henson or Patrick Ramsey might be prohibitive, the Miami Dolphins have taken another direction in attempting to upgrade the quarterback position, and are close to acquiring Philadelphia Eagles backup A.J. Feeley.

Team and league sources said here Saturday evening that the two sides have reached an agreement in principle on a trade that will send Feeley to the Dolphins in exchange for a conditional second-round pick in the 2005 draft. The sources said that only minor details need to be addressed, that none are considered "deal-breakers" and that the swap will be officially consummated after March 3, when the league's trade moratorium is lifted.

On Saturday, the Dolphins worked out a tentative deal with the Eagles to be given permission to negotiate a long-term contract with Feeley, who is a restricted free agent. The Eagles planned to tender Feeley as a restricted free agent with first-round compensation because there were three or four teams interested in signing him next month.

Negotiations between the Dolphins and Feeley's agent, David Dunn began Saturday. The plan is to sign Feeley and try to convince Jay Fielder to stay and compete for the starting job.

Improvement at the quarterback position has been the Dolphins' biggest priority in the offseason. Miami officials have explored the possibility of acquiring Henson from the Houston Texans and Ramsey from the Washington Redskins.

The Dolphins wanted to sign quarterback Mark Brunell if he was cut by the Jaguars, but a trade was worked out by the Redskins and Jaguars that ended that possibility.

It is not known who initiated the Feeley discussions, or when, but talks accelerated here during the annual predraft combine workouts. Feeley, 26, is a three-year veteran who gained acclaim in 2002, when he took over as the Eagles' starter after injuries to Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer. He completed 86 of 154 passes that year for 1,011 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions and went 4-1 as the starter.

The former University of Oregon star was the Eagles' fifth-round choice in the '01 draft. For his career, he has played in seven games, with five starts.

Philadelphia coach Andy Reid allowed last year that he was surprised the Eagles had received no trade offers for Feeley, especially given his performance in the five games he started.

Injury-prone quarterbacks Jay Fiedler and Brian Griese split time last season, but both could be gone this season.

Fiedler is due a $2 million option in April, and his projected base salary for 2004 is $3.7 million if he returns. Griese also is likely to be released for financial reasons. The second year of his contract would cost Miami more than $6 million in salary cap space.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.