Report: Thigpen second, Pennington third

The Miami Dolphins are paying Chad Pennington $2.5 million to be an insurance policy not only to Chad Henne, but possibly to Tyler Thigpen.

Miami Herald reporter Jeff Darlington, with help from an unnamed source close to Pennington, provides an in-depth look at the Dolphins' quarterback situation and how they'll incorporate the veteran into their 2010 plans -- and third-string mentor might be his status.

Darlington writes Pennington wants to play five more seasons and was inspired to return to the Dolphins after a long talk with Kurt Warner, a star-turned-backup-turned-star again.

Pennington will turn 34 in June and is coming off major surgery to his throwing shoulder a third time. The story explains how sensible it would be for Pennington to ease back into practices for his own well-being and to give Thigpen the second-team reps.

If the season unfolds as the Dolphins hope, then Henne would stay healthy and Pennington wouldn't take a regular-season snap. Pennington's anticipated contributions will be as Henne's mentor and a locker-room sage. Pennington can handle those responsibilities regardless of where he's listed on the depth chart.

Darlington writes: "The Dolphins' plan, barring an offer that's too tempting to ignore, remains to keep both Pennington and Thigpen on the roster."

To expand on that, the Dolphins can't afford to trade Thigpen for months. They must hold onto him until they witness Pennington return to form. Even then, the Dolphins can't be sure given Pennington's injury history.

None of this is good news for sophomore quarterback Pat White, a second-round draft pick last year the Dolphins insisted was a quarterback, but he never looked like one.