The price for Trent Green was more than the Miami Dolphins were willing to pay, but in the end, Miami felt desperate. June had arrived and time to prepare for training camp was slipping away.
Despite the likely cost of a fourth-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Dolphins came out winners Tuesday with their trade for Green, who will replace Daunte Culpepper as the team's offensive leader. Miami wins because Green gives the Dolphins a chance to become an offense that could score at least 20 points a game.
For a team to be a playoff contender, it needs to score at least that many points. Even though the Dolphins annually change quarterbacks, they haven't had a 20-point offense since 2002 when they finished 9-7. Despite making trades for Culpepper, A.J. Feeley and others, the Dolphins offense has been mired in mediocrity.
After taking John Beck in the draft, the Dolphins believe their days of trading for quarterbacks will end with the Green deal. In the eyes of coach Cam Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller, Beck is the quarterback of the future, so they had to settle on the quarterback of the present.
Green, with his quick release and strong leadership, was a better fit for the offense than Culpepper, whose style is the opposite. Culpepper is a big quarterback with a slower release even though he has a big-time arm.
That worked for Nick Saban, but he's gone. Cameron is in charge and Green was the player he wanted, until Beck develops.
Mueller and Cameron came into the office Tuesday and decided the stalled trade talks with the Chiefs for Green had gone on long enough. Chiefs president Carl Peterson wanted a fourth-round pick. The Dolphins were offering a sixth that would upgrade to a No. 5. Each day, Green would plead with Peterson to allow him and his family to move to the team of his choice, the Dolphins.
With two weeks remaining in the offseason program and a minicamp ahead for the weekend, Mueller and Cameron decided on Tuesday to up the offer. If Green plays 70 percent of the offensive snaps, Peterson would get his No. 4. The Dolphins expect to pay it because they acquired a quarterback who knows Cameron's system from their days together in Washington. Green will become the leader of the offense.
Green's acquisition means Culpepper's stay with the Dolphins could end quickly. Once Green passes a physical, he is expected to sign a three-year contract worth between $4 million and $5 million a year. Unless Culpepper takes a major pay cut from his $5.6 million salary, he's not going to get the chance to compete against Green. In all likelihood, Culpepper will be shopped, and if the Dolphins can't make a quick deal, he will probably be released.
For Culpepper, the timing of the Green trade was strange because he's coming off a very good day. He visited Dr. James Andrews on Monday for an examination of the knee that required reconstructive surgery in 2005 and another procedure the following season. A thorough exam of the knee gave him clearance to practice. Culpepper prepared to go to the Dolphins facility on Wednesday with the idea of practicing. Now, he may be on the way out.
Green turns 37 this season, but the Dolphins believe he's good enough to carry the offense for at least two seasons. The Dolphins passed on taking Brady Quinn in the first round because they wanted to get Ted Ginn Jr.'s quickness into the offense and hoped to get lucky and grab Beck in the second round. Cameron and Mueller look at Beck as being a younger version of Kurt Warner.
The Chiefs will let Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle battle for the starting job while Peterson can put the Dolphins fourth-round choice into the franchise's plan of trying to create a younger roster in the years ahead. The Chiefs are starting to rebuild. The Dolphins hope Green gives them enough on offense to compete against the Patriots and Jets for a playoff berth.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.