Culpepper Headed to Dolphins; Brees to Saints

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 14, 2006; 2:29 PM

The Miami Dolphins agreed today to trade a draft choice to the Minnesota Vikings for quarterback Daunte Culpepper. One source said the pick that the Vikings will receive is a second-round selection.

That led free-agent quarterback Drew Brees to agree to a contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Culpepper had asked the Vikings to trade or release him, and the club had been shopping him to several teams. The Dolphins were looking to replace Gus Frerotte as their starting quarterback and were negotiating with free agent Drew Brees while deliberating with the Vikings over Culpepper.

Culpepper has been one of the league's most prolific passers in the past but is coming off a season in which he suffered a major knee injury. He also is facing three misdemeanor charges stemming from his conduct during an October boat cruise that produced allegations of lewd behavior by several Vikings players. He and the Vikings clashed during the offseason over Culpepper's reported requests that the team upgrade his contract, a move viewed by some people in the league as being a bid by Culpepper to prompt the club to trade or release him.

Brees visited the Saints and the Dolphins in recent days, and it had become clear that he would leave the San Diego Chargers for one of those two clubs. The Saints apparently made Brees the more lucrative contract proposal but Brees seemed to be leaning toward Miami and his agent, Tom Condon, was trying to get the Dolphins to improve their offer.

But today's musical chairs left Culpepper with the Dolphins and Brees replacing Aaron Brooks, who's likely to be released by the Saints, as the starter in New Orleans.

Brees threw for more than 6,700 yards over the past two seasons but the Chargers were unable to sign him to a long-term contract. Brees suffered a shoulder injury during the Chargers' season finale and underwent surgery for a torn labrum. The injury, to Brees's throwing shoulder, apparently caused concern for some clubs interested in him.

The Chargers appear prepared to go with former first-round draft choice Philip Rivers as their starter. The Culpepper-less Vikings will be left starting Brad Johnson, who played well this past season when Culpepper was hurt.

Players Approve Labor Deal

Player representatives, meeting in Hawaii with union leaders, voted unanimously to approve the labor settlement that was ratified last week by the NFL's franchise owners.

The deal had been proposed by Players Association chief Gene Upshaw, so approval by the players was a formality.

Giants Working On Secondary

The New York Giants agreed Monday to a three-year, $6 million contract with free agent cornerback R.W. McQuarters, mostly recently of the Detroit Lions. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus. McQuarters is the second free agent cornerback signed by the Giants following the addition of Sam Madison.

The Giants also re-signed two unrestricted free agents in recent days, backup quarterback Tim Hasselbeck and kick returner Chad Morton. Hasselbeck got a three-year, $2.25 million deal and Morton re-signed for $3.85 million over four seasons. . . .

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