DOLPHINS STARTING NEGOTIATIONS
The Miami Herald is reporting that the Dolphins, though they haven't reached out to either of their 2nd round picks yet, have indeed reached out to at least one of their draft picks. The agent for 7th round pick Lionel Dotson said the Dolphins have already delivered an offer. The agent, Kenny Zuckerman, believes that the Dolphins, with the people they have in place, are very comfortable in establishing the market if they have to. It seems like their primary concern is getting everybody in camp.
Bruce Tollner, the agent for 6th round pick Jalen Parmele, also expects the Dolphins to come calling sooner rather than later. He believes that the Dolphins "will be on the front end of the signings."
The most interesting of all the negotiations, though, will be with their first 2nd round pick, Phillip Merling. The intrigue here will be the fact that Merling was the 32nd overall pick. In any other year, that's the final pick of round 1. In 2008, thanks to the Patriots' cheating ways, the #32 pick is the first pick of round 2. So how exactly will Merling's agent, Jimmy Sexton, handle this situation? One thing working in Miami's favor is that Sexton also represents Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano. Therefore there probably won't be any bad blood. However, it might take a little longer than usual to get this particular deal done.
Back in 2006 (yes, I'm skipping '07 because the #33 pick that year, Alan Branch, has a very complex contract with little info available to the public), the 32nd pick was Mathias Kiwanuka. He signed a 5 year deal worth $10 million. The 33rd pick (which was the first pick of round two), DeMeco Ryans, signed a 4 year deal that is worth $6 million. So there's a $500,000 difference per year. How will the Dolphins and Merling's agent Jimmy Sexton deal with this? I'd bet that the deal will likely get done for 4 years with a total value lower than the usual 32nd pick would get but with the guaranteed money higher than the usual 33rd pick would get. Sound fair?
MIGHT PARCELLS COACH AGAIN?
In a recent blog post, the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly ponders an interesting question:
Ever wonder if Parcells will get the coaching itch again and want to take over the Dolphins if Tony Sparano stumbles after his first season?
While I know Parcells is digging the mentorship role he's playing, and says the NFL's now a "young man's game," watching him roam the field during the rookie minicamp actually made me think he'll eventually want to scratch that itch.
Will meddling on a daily basis do it? And will Sparano eventually turn a deaf ear to the master chef who is routinely looking over his shoulder while he's trying to prepare the meal?
It's an interesting question that deserves to be addressed. I've said plenty of times that I'm totally against Bill Parcells as a coach. Why? I just don't think he's as great as everyone seems to think in terms of his coaching ability. Why else would the Cowboys have a far more successful season with Wade Phillips than with Bill Parcells?
But debating Bill's coaching ability isn't the point here. The point is to talk about if we think Bill might "get that itch" again and want to coach. If you ask me, I don't think it will happen. And I don't think that if Sparano does struggle in year one that it will have any impact on Bill's desire to return. I say this because I think Bill is having too much fun working behind the scenes. He's been pacing in the weight room, keeping players on edge. He quietly watched mini-camp practices. Basically, he gets to do what he seems to love (building a team) without having to go through the daily grind of practices and film watching and game planning. Oh, and let's not forget that he never has to speak to the media (which he never liked) unless he wants to.
And keep in mind that he basically hand-picked who he wanted to coach this team. I doubt that one bad season would change Bill's mind about Sparano.
As for Bill's "meddling" in Sparano's business, I don't see this as a problem. And we really don't even know how much "meddling" is going on. All indications are that Bill and Jeff Ireland are letting Sparano coach as he wants. I recall fairly recently that Sparano said that he'll go seek out Bill if he feels he needs to, but that Bill rarely seeks out Tony.
I think that part of this "meddling" that people seem to think is going on stems from the fact that we just haven't seen or heard much from Sparano. But this is the off-season, which means it's the time of year for the front office guys to do their jobs. Once training camp comes around, we'll be hearing more about Tony and less about Bill. That will be when Sparano will rise out from behind Parcells' (very big) shadow and I think that's when we'll really get a feel for Sparano and the kind of coach he's going to be.