Photo: Bob Rosato - Sports Illustrated

Fisher's Rams Contract Points To No Miami Interest

The Miami Dolphins lost out on their bid for Jeff Fisher‘s services late last week.  When the process began, many believed that St. Louis was the top choice of Fisher from the start and the fact that his agent, Marvin Demoff, was the father of Rams executive Kevin Demoff did little to curb that projection.  Stephen Ross entered the fray and made the full court press to lure the 17 year head coach to south Florida.

It didn’t work.

Ross flew Fisher in to the training center in his helicopter, toured the facility and talked shop.  Carl Peterson joined in the game and public opinion swayed in the direction of the Dolphins.  Then it was leaked that Ross would not be undercut financially by anyone seeking Fisher for their HC vacancy.  Almost two weeks later after days of silence from Fisher, the Dolphins and Ross watched as Fisher took the job he was projected to take from day one.  Becoming the HC of the Rams.

So began the tantrum of media and fans alike towards Stephen Ross.  It was rumored that Ross refused to reword the contract of Jeff Ireland that would give Fisher final say over personnel.  Something only three other coaches in the NFL have.  Fans and some media threw barbs at Ross for being schooled and taken advantage of while other simply blamed the organizations woes on losing a top candidate, presumably for the second time in as many seasons.

Today, it becomes clear that Jeff Fisher never truly intended on taking the Dolphins job to begin with, unless total and absolute power was granted in the process, and even then, it may have only been a ploy to get more out of the Rams.  As Fisher preps for his coming out announcement officially in St. Louis, contract details are emerging.  Those rumored details point to the probability that he may never have had true interest in Miami to begin with.

Five years, 35 million averages out to be 7 million a year.  Less money than Ross would have offered.  There will be no “Executive” title attached to his name which was a rumored hang-up with Miami negotiations.  Absolute power will not belong to Fisher as well.  While Fisher will have a say in the next General Manager, it’s more than likely that GM will have sway over final decisions although tie-breaking decisions may likely go to Fisher, but even that is not guaranteed.

As it stands, Fisher will have less money and maybe a tad bit more control than he would have had in Miami.  A Dolphins source presumably leaked to members of the media following Fisher’s decision, that they had been “used” by Fishers’ camp.  That very well may be true.  Fisher it seems milked St. Louis for a higher contract than what may have initially been offered but in the end, he came away with less than he would have received in south Florida.

My contention all along was Fisher had no desire to uproot and move out of the mid-west unless southern California was a possibility.  His hometown.  Moving from Tennessee to St. Louis is a marginal difference.  Fisher will have say in the next GM, something he would not have in Miami.  How is that important?  Simple, he would bring in someone who shares the same views and goals and roster opinions as Fisher.  Not relying on someone else who has their own ideas of who should or shouldn’t be on the team.  He will have the second overall pick in the draft to use or trade as he sees fit.

Following his interview with Stan Kroenke, the Rams owner, in Denver, Fisher spent considerable time with Rams starting QB Sam Bradford.  That bares mentioning because his views of Bradford and vice-versa go a long way in forming a solid relationship between coach and player.  It’s similar to an interview of a rookie prospect at the NFL Combine.  Fisher came away from that interview impressed.  So much so that many believe the second overall pick is on the trading block.

While fans still believe that Ross was taken to school, the fact is he did exactly what he could do in the face of an uphill battle.  He made the climb and put his best options on the table.  Is it possible that Ross could have swayed Fisher to come to Miami by granting him full control?  Of course, but it should also be noted that Fisher easily could have taken that to the Rams and been given the same power.  In fact, it’s very possible that after rumors hit of Ross saying no to complete control, that the Rams simply said no as well (referring to the ‘Executive’ title).  The point is we will never know if Ross and the Dolphins were seriously in contention for Fisher or was simply a tool to drive up the price for the Rams.

What we do know is that while some fans and some in the media believe that once again Ross comes away looking foolish, he did absolutely nothing wrong and many contend that Fisher’s previous record over 17 seasons doesn’t warrant total and absolute control, something that the Rams themselves appear to not be willing to do…or so it is rumored.

The Dolphins will continue their coaching search and it may very well be a blessing for Stephen Ross that he didn’t put all his eggs into the Jeff Fisher basket.  Despite public opinion, Jeff Ireland is not as vilified in NFL circles as some would have you believe.  In fact, his last draft, the first entirely on his own, and free agency, again the first entirely on his own, were solid.  With coaching candidates being interviewed across the country for the three remaining teams with vacancies (Indy could join the mix at any time), the Dolphins now have to look towards next Monday’s start of the Senior Bowl week.

Ideally, teams want their GM and head coach together at the event, the Dolphins may only have Ireland scouting potential draftees.  The delay in Fisher making a decision put Miami about five days back of the rest of the teams but it should be noted that the other teams have not made moves either.  Whether the Dolphins can get their man this week or not will be the discussion across the media and message boards for sure.

Jeff Fisher has added his DC, Gregg Williams who’s New Orleans Saints melted in the waning moments of their division game with San Francisco and will add either Hue Jackson formerly of the Oakland Raiders or Brian Schottenheimer formerly of the Jets as his OC.  Neither coach brings the excitement of an offense by name alone.  It’s a solid question if fans would be excited of Fisher’s choices had he come to Miami.

For now, it’s safe to take note that despite the private contemplation of Jeff Fisher, his choice of St. Louis netted him no executive title, no guarantee of final say, and less money.  Sounds to me like his intentions were always St. Louis.

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Tags: Jeff Fisher Miami Dolphins St. Louis Rams Steven Ross

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