When it comes to coaching searches, the last 24 hours have been some of the craziest you will ever witness. It reminds me of one of my college nights that turned into the following day…at the end of which I didn’t know which way was up. From what we can gather, Jim Harbaugh was all set to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, as a contract was agreed to in principle. That was until news broke last night that Stephen Ross, the Dolphins billionaire owner, was on his way to meet with Harbaugh in San Francisco. Harbaugh agreed to meet with Ross to hear the Dolphins second pitch. We say second pitch because the Dolphins first pitch, apparently didn’t impress Harbaugh. Their second pitch will likely impress him, as the Dolphins owner is willing to pay Harbaugh roughly $2 million more than what San Francisco has offered.
Put simply, Ross is willing to make Harbaugh the highest paid coach in the NFL. You read that right. Ross is so enamored with Harbaugh that he is willing to pay a rookie NFL Head Coach more than every other coach in the league. Stephen Ross can spend his money however he wishes, it doesn’t count against any cap that is upcoming. If he and his management team think that Harbaugh is the best option for the Dolphins moving forward, go for it. It’s not our money, it’s not your money, it’s a billionaire’s money. As I’m typing that, I feel like a Yankee fan, which just made me throw up in my mouth. Sorry.
While all of this is happening, Tony Sparano (remember him?), is still the Miami Dolphins head coach. We feel bad for Tony, we really do. How would you like it if your girlfriend/wife was so desperate to replace you that she flew across country to talk to your potential replacement. Did I mention that your replacement is engaged and on his way to the church? That’s about the same situation that Sparano is in. What choice does he have though? If he resigns, he doesn’t get paid. If he sticks it out, he’ll get paid either way and might even get a contract extension if all other coaching possibilities fall through. That’s business, but we can’t help but feel bad for Sparano.
Amidst all of the craziness that was last night, we learned a few things:
1. The Dolphins made a contract offer of about $7 mil to Jon Gruden. Gruden turned down the offer, as he reportedly is looking for a deal closer to $10 mil.
2. Carl Peterson is heavily involved in the Dolphins at this juncture. He could soon be named to the VP of Football Operations, ala Bill Parcells. Peterson has a track record in the NFL and is a confidant of Stephen Ross.
3. Jason LaCanfora said this morning on Armando and the Amigo that John Fox could be a fallback option for the Dolphins if they cannot land Harbaugh.
4. Stephen Ross likes Jeff Ireland more than he likes Tony Sparano. He wants to keep the GM in place, while replacing the coach.
5. On Mike and Mike this morning on ESPN Radio, they debated whether or not it was proper for Harbaugh to accept the meeting with Ross, when the Dolphins do not currently have a head coaching job available. No one really knows what has been said to Tony Sparano, so we wouldn’t be too quick to make judgements.
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