MIAMI (CBS4) – For all intents and purposes, the Miami Dolphins will not be coached by Tony Sparano next year barring a miracle. Instead, the Dolphins are going all out to hire current Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh originally met with the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday to discuss their head coaching opportunity. He was offered around $5 million per season to join the team, according to local media reports, but left the facility without taking the job.

According to Michael Martinez of, Harbaugh was hesitant to go to the 49ers due to the inexperience in the current hierarchy of the 49ers franchise.

Seeing an opportunity to pounce, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, general manager Jeff Ireland, and advisor Carl Peterson made their way to California to interview Harbaugh for the Fins head coaching job.

While Ross and the upper management were on their way to California, other coaches began packing their offices up in preparation for their likely termination if/when Harbaugh takes over the Dolphins.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reported on his Twitter account that NFL sources told him the Fins were ready to pay Harbaugh more than $8 million per year to hire him. The 49ers refused to go higher than $5 million to land Harbaugh.

If the Fins actually end up paying Harbaugh above $7 million per year, it would make him either the highest paid or one of the highest paid coaches in the National Football League. Currently, Bill Belichick is paid the most, more than $7 million according to NFL sources.

But Harbaugh is running the risk of overplaying his hand. The Fins will likely offer him the job, but there’s still the risk he will decide to stick to the west coast and either stay at Stanford or go to the 49ers. If he continues to delay his decision, the 49ers could move on and go with another coach.

Still, Harbaugh will likely not get a better job offer, at least on the money end, than what the Dolphins are willing to pay him. Plus, he’ll get a ready-made defense that allows him to focus solely on the offense, where he will have to determine who his quarterback will be in 2011.

But, the Fins still have one hurdle to clear before hiring Harbaugh, the Rooney Rule. The rule was put in place to guarantee minorities would be seriously considered for open head coaching and upper management positions. It was named after former Steelers owner, Dan Rooney.

The penalty for violating the Rooney rule is approximately $500,000. Only one team in history has been reprimanded for violating the Rooney rule, the Detroit Lions. The Lions were fined $200,000 for violating the rule, but then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue told teams it would increase to the current amount if any other team violated the rule.

Comments (5)
  1. Rick says:

    Here we go again, do you remember the last college guy that was to fix everything for the Dolphns, Nick something, right.

  2. Jimbo99 says:

    Too funny, the Dolphins want Broward tax money to renovate a stadium, yet will pay Harbaugh close to double what they paid Nick Saban. I’d like to remind these idiots that it’s the players on the field that win and lose games. Harbaugh hasn’t won the Pac-10 title, let alone won a national championship. And they are going to pay him more than Bellicheck makes for having won 3 SB’s the last decade, going to 4 with a perfect 18-0 team and losing that one by a fg ? State of the Dolphins, gossip is Henne is a lousy QB and that’s if you believe Ricky Williams, who in all likelihood won’t be here in 2011-2012. Then there’s Brandon Marshall, according to RW is a cancer on the team ? The defense, the Dolphins are 7-9 again. They might’ve won more games with a few more defensive stops. But that’s like saying had the offense had another few drives, they win more too. I wish the Dolphins good foirtune in their pursuits, but it’s time to reason this out and have realistic expectations. Arguably Harbaugh can do about as good as 11-5 with what he inherits, That’s all Parcells & Sparano could muster with gimmick plays like the wild cat offense. Is there 2-4 more wins with the personnel the Dolphins put on the field, and also consider a coaching change doesn’t bode well for players. Read an article on the Raiders, Cable was fired, their pro bowl lineman, forget his name is tired & worn out from the coaching carousel there. Miami is fast becoming that same revolving door.

  3. Footballer says:

    Right… College coaching is ions away from pro coaching. The Dolphins would be much better off going after someone like Cowher.

  4. M.J.R. says:

    This is a very bad idea in the making. Lets see Spurier, Davis, Saban, Erickson, Wanstad, that guy who was from Louisville, coaching college is not coaching the pros! When are these people going to learn that just because they did an amazing job coaching a college team doesn’t mean that they will be just as successfull in the NFL! By the way almost all of them returned to coaching college football after a major failure in coaching in the NFL, and to top it off they are all doing an amazing job once again coaching college football. What does this mean, it means that they are very good in coach and dealing in the college environment and they were too fustrated when they were coach pros, & that is why they returned to coach college players. They’re exceptions like Jimmy Johnson & Carroll but that is because they had experience coaching pros for numerous years before they went coaching college and then returned to the pros.

  5. Larry says:

    Not sure about Nick something’s pro football experience, aside from his time with the Dolphins, but at least Harbaugh played the game as a professional.

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