Dolphins trying to balance Manning, Flynn

The Miami Dolphins are playing a high-stakes, cat-and-mouse game with the NFL's two biggest free-agent quarterbacks.

Miami wants Peyton Manning, clearly its Plan A. But the Dolphins don't want to sit idle, either. So they reportedly began negotiations with former Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn Tuesday night, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald.

We explained this scenario this morning in the AFC East blog. Miami is in the running for Manning and has no choice but to wait on his decision. But the Dolphins also don’t want to be held hostage.

By entering contract negotiations with Flynn, the Dolphins run the risk of turning off Manning. How committed to Manning could the Dolphins be if they’re already looking to sign another quarterback? The Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, for example, are not chasing other quarterbacks.

The Dolphins also traded Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall Tuesday to the Chicago Bears for two third-round picks. It's unknown if that makes Miami more or less attractive for Manning. But the early reaction to the trade isn't good.

Manning is not expected to make his decision for at least a couple more days. He still has to meet with the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday.