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Priority would be Manning first, Flynn as fallback

For five days now I've been telling you the Dolphins are on the quarterback hunt -- again.

I told you Saturday that Peyton Manning is a possibility for the team and that he's prominent on the team's radar, assuming he is available and wants to play in 2012. The point was echoed by national and other local news sources Sunday and Monday.

As you know the hiring of Joe Philbin makes Matt Flynn another possibility in the team's chase of a starting franchise quarterback. Philbin was the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator and is familiar with Flynn, the Packers backup.

But which one is the chief priority?

Is it Manning at age 36? or Flynn who is largely unproven?

A team source e-mailed me this afternoon that the priority is Manning. This coincides with news out of Mobile, Ala., where the Senior Bowl is going to be played Saturday. A league source there tells The Herald's Barry Jackson that the Dolphins have shown no interest in Flynn as of yet -- not even informal interest.

Now, teams are not allowed to show formal interest in soon-to-be free agents at this time. But at those Senior Bowl practices, where agents and team personnel departments mingle on the sideline, it's common for preliminary signs of future interest to be displayed. In fact, it's almost expected.

The Dolphins have shown no such interest in Flynn.

That combined with the e-mail tells me the Dolphins will wait until there is a clear course of action on Manning -- when they know if he's going to be in Indy or on the market, when they know his health -- before they decide what other direction to take.

If Manning is out there, if Flynn is available in free agency, at least we now know the team views Manning as the priority.

Why?

The club believes a healthy Peyton Manning is simply a better gamble than an unproven Matt Flynn. Flynn is younger and will be cheaper (although not by a lot) but clearly the Dolphins are more drawn to the idea of a proven NFL performer -- despite his advancing age and greater risk of his neck injury resurfacing.

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