Football fans were treated to a flurry of moves in the NFL on Tuesday. After negotiations with Drew Brees stalled, the Dolphins opted to send a second-round pick to Minnesota to acquire Daunte Culpepper. Brees then quickly agreed to a six-year contract in New Orleans.
Culpepper underwent major knee surgery in mid-November last year, and at the time it was believed that he would be sidelined for at least a full 12 months. He claims to be ahead of schedule in his recovery and has suggested he could be playing before September, but fantasy owners need to take that with a huge grain of salt -- even if he actually believes that and wasn't just spinning a best-case scenario yarn to faciliate his departure from Minnesota, a great deal of time exists between now and then were he could suffer a "setback" that would put him back on the original timetable.
Culpepper should ultimately return to his status as one of the elite fantasy producers in the game, but it won't be a surprise if he needs a game or two to shake off the rust following a mid-season return. That fact, combined with his uncertain timetable, make him a huge gamble on draft day.
Brees is recovering from surgery of his own, having undergone shoulder surgery in January to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. But his injury is much less serious, and he could resume throwing by mid-April with a good chance of being ready to play by the start of the regular season.
The Saints also hold the second overall pick in the draft, which they were originally believed to be thinking of using on USC's Matt Leinert. That may or may not still happen, but it's far more likely the team will trade down and use their first-round pick on a defensive player.
The Lions also acquired a quarterback on Tuesday, inking Jon Kitna to a four-year deal. It's not yet known if head coach Rod Marinelli (and perhaps more importantly, offensive coordinator Mike Martz) view Kitna as their likely starter, but at the very least he will likely be given a chance to compete with Joey Harrington and Shaun King. Kitna was very effective in his last full season starting back in 2003, but he's played in only seven games since then.