The game of chicken that had stretched to nearly two months finally ended on Tuesday evening when the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins reached agreement on the much-anticipated trade of quarterback Trent Green.
Miami agreed to send a fifth-round choice in the 2008 draft to the Chiefs in exchange for Green. The pick can be upgraded to a fourth-rounder if Green reaches certain predetermined playing time and performance levels. Miami had been offering a sixth-round choice and the Chiefs had been steadfast for several weeks in their demands for a fourth-round selection.
The trade, confirmed by sources from both franchises, represented a natural compromise.
Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson, who suggested only two weeks ago that it was "entirely do-able" that Green return to Kansas City in 2007, perhaps as the starter, wanted to secure fair value for a starting quarterback. While the performance thresholds that can raise the pick to a fourth-rounder were not yet known, the Chiefs figure to receive the higher selection if Green simply plays to his form of previous seasons.
Completion of the deal is contingent upon Green passing a physical examination with the Dolphins, but that is considered academic.
Although Green missed eight games in 2006 because of a severe concussion sustained in the season opener, he has suffered no lingering effects from that injury. Nor are there concerns about the knee injury that Green sustained in 2000, forcing him to miss that entire season. Green reiterated in recent weeks that he feels fine physically and is confident he can play at a high level for several more seasons.
Two weeks ago, with the soap opera lingering and no resolution in sight, a frustrated Green went public with his displeasure at what he said had become an untenable situation.
"It's not only awkward for me and my family, but it's awkward for the guys in the weight room, in the locker room, on the practice field," Green told Kansas City media members. "I'm here every day. People ask, 'What's going on?' Guys don't know how to react to me, how to treat me."
In the end, the Chiefs finally decided that the revised compensation proposal from Miami was sufficient. And Miami decided that it was counterproductive to wait any longer, since there was a need to get Green onto the roster and onto the practice field with new teammates.
Clayton: Miami paid up
With camp coming up and their quarterback situation not to their liking, the Dolphins finally decided to pony up and give the Chiefs basically what they wanted for Trent Green, John Clayton writes. Story
The trade likely ends the disappointing one-year tenure of Daunte Culpepper in Miami. Acquired by then-Dolphins coach Nick Saban from Minnesota last spring for a second-round selection, Culpepper has undergone two surgeries to repair a right knee shredded in a 2005 injury in which he tore three ligaments and is still rehabilitating.
Given his base salary of $5.5 million for 2007 and the near-certainty that Green will become the Dolphins' starter, Culpepper could be released. The hope of the Dolphins is that Green will provide the franchise its most stable quarterback situation since Hall of Fame passer Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season.
If Green can give Miami two or three productive seasons, it will give the Dolphins time to perhaps develop John Beck of BYU, chosen in the second round of this year's draft.
Green, 36, was deemed expendable months ago by the Chiefs, who plan to provide second-year veteran Brodie Croyle every opportunity to win the starting job. Croyle, Green and journeyman Damon Huard -- who was signed to a contract extension by the Chiefs this spring, ostensibly to give the team a veteran insurance policy -- shared snaps with the No. 1 offense during the Chiefs' three-day minicamp over the weekend.
But Chiefs brass has made clear its preference that Croyle, a third-round choice from Alabama who played sparingly as a rookie in 2006, seize the starting spot. Croyle said over weekend that he was confident he would prevail in the battle for the top spot on the depth chart and that he felt the Chiefs were becoming his team.
In February, citing in part the need to get younger at the game's most critical position, Peterson approached Green about renegotiating his contract and perhaps accepting a lesser role in 2007. Green responded by requesting that the Chiefs grant him the right to seek out potential trade partners.
Several franchises indicated varying degrees of interest in Green, but his preference quickly became the Dolphins, where he is familiar with first-year head coach Cam Cameron and his offensive design. Cameron was Green's quarterbacks coach with the Washington Redskins early in the veteran's career.
Nearly two months ago, Green focused his efforts on being traded to the Dolphins and his agent, Jim Steiner, reached a contract agreement in principle with Miami officials. Details of that agreement were not yet available. Under his Kansas City contract, Green was to have had a base salary of $7.2 million for 2007, which would have been fully guaranteed were he on the Chiefs' roster at the outset of the regular season. There were two seasons beyond 2007 left on that contract, at salaries of $7.7 million for 2008 and $9.2 million for 2009.
A 14-year veteran, Green has six times thrown for 3,000-plus yards in a season and has three seasons of 4,000 or more yards. He has completed 2,143-of-3,527 passes for 26,963 yards, with 157 touchdown passes and 101 interceptions in 112 games, including 107 starts.
Until last season, Green had proven incredibly durable and had started every game for the Chiefs since Kansas City acquired him from St. Louis in a 2001 trade. But Green, regarded as one of the NFL's classiest players, suffered a severe head injury in the season opener, when he was hit outside the pocket by Cincinnati Bengals end Robert Geathers, and he started only eight contests.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.