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Gus to take less to come back?


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By Alex Marvez

Staff Writer



Quarterback Gus Frerotte said Monday he is willing to renegotiate his contract but the Dolphins' offer "has to be fair."


Frerotte's 2006 base salary and salary cap number have skyrocketed because of play-time incentives he reached while starting 15 games.


A source said Frerotte's base jumped from $1.1 million to $4.1 million because he hit a $3 million escalator clause by playing more than 85 percent of the snaps. Frerotte also earned $3 million in 2005 through not-likely-to-be-earned incentives by appearing in 93.6 percent of the plays (930 of 1,026).


Frerotte's cap number for next season is $4.68 million, the source said. The cap number comprises Frerotte's $4.1 million salary, a $330,000 roster bonus he is to collect March 7 and $250,000 in prorated signing bonus from the $500,000 he received in finalizing a two-year contract with the Dolphins last March.


Frerotte's $4.68 million cap number is believed too high for management, especially if it plans to acquire a veteran quarterback to replace him as starter when the free-agent signing period begins March 3. The Dolphins are projected as being several million over the NFL's projected 2006 cap of $92 million to $95 million, but they can remedy that by releasing players and restructuring contracts.


Frerotte acknowledged a contract extension was a possible solution. That would allow the Dolphins to convert some of what Frerotte is owed into guaranteed money to prorate over the length of the contract and greatly lower his cap number.


Frerotte said he plans to discuss the situation soon with agent Marvin Demoff.


"We'll probably figure it out, but I haven't really thought about it," said Frerotte, who had an $800,000 base salary in 2005.


"Marvin has done this for so many years and is really good at it, but we haven't talked yet. We've been meaning to, but he's had someone pass in his family, and I told him it can wait."


The field of quarterbacks who might be available via trade, free agency or the draft has changed dramatically in a week.


Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper has received a vote of confidence from new coach Brad Childress. ESPN recently reported Tennessee officials are negotiating to restructure the contract of Steve McNair, who would be released if they can't agree on a new deal that would void a $50 million bonus he is due in March.


ESPN also reported that the Dolphins, Detroit and New York Jets have interest in Tampa Bay's Chris Simms, who is to become a restricted free agent. If the Buccaneers couldn't reach agreement on a long-term contract extension with Simms before the start of free-agent signing, Tampa Bay would have the right to match any offer he signed elsewhere or receive draft-choice compensation.


The major injury to Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer's knee in Sunday's 31-17 playoff loss to Pittsburgh could prompt the Bengals to make a strong push to re-sign his backup, Jon Kitna, who is to become an unrestricted free agent.


The shoulder injury suffered by the Chargers' Drew Brees in a season-ending loss to Denver also may keep them from floating backup Philip Rivers as trade bait.


The Dolphins' chances of landing a quarterback with the No. 16 overall pick in April's draft improved when star University of Texas junior Vince Young declared himself eligible.


Young's entry could push top prospects like Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler down further in the first round.


The Dolphins will be scouting Cutler and quarterbacks Charlie Whitehurst (Clemson), D.J. Shockley (Georgia), Brodie Croyle (Alabama) and Darrell Hackney (Alabama-Birmingham) this month at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.


in catchers' midst


NFL veterans Kelly Campbell (Minnesota) and Chris Cole (Denver) as well as Eric Plant (Virginia State University) were the wide receivers who caught passes from quarterback Tim Couch Friday at his tryout with the Dolphins.

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