The Miami Dolphins spent the early part of the 2012 offseason hunting for their next head coach. They eventually hired Joe Philbin, who has been at the helm of the club since, and now appears to have the team positioned to return to winning. According to Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, things could have been different, however.
Bielema told ESPN's High Questionable that he was in discussions with the Dolphins in 2012 to take the coaching job. The Philbin coaching regime selected quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the first round of the 2012 Draft, pairing the former Texas A&M signal caller with his Aggies head coach Mike Sherman. According to Bielema's appearance on Dan Le Batard's show Friday, he would have pushed then General Manager Jeff Ireland to select, not Tannehill, but Russell Wilson to be his quarterback.
Bielema was the Wisconsin coach at the time, and had spent the season coaching Wilson. He told Le Batard that he "suggested" that Wilson should be the team's next quarterback during his interview in Miami, which he said was the first indication that the fit with Miami may not have been right. The job "intrigued" Bielema, and he stated that it was probably the closest he came to taking an NFL job, but instead returned to Wisconsin for another season before taking the Arkansas position.
Tannehill and Wilson have become the first two members of the 2012 quarterback class, which includes also Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, to sign contract extensions. Tannehill signed a five-year, $96 million deal, in early June, while Wilson agreed to a four-year, $87.6 million contract Friday.
Looking back to the 2012 Draft, Bielema's desire to pick Wilson would have seemed odd at the time. He was selected in the third round by the Seattle Seahawks, the sixth quarterback selected. Since being selected, Wilson has won a Super Bowl and led the Seahawks to a second championship game.
Miami appears to have their quarterback in Tannehill, who has progressed in each of his first three seasons and is poised to continue that trend this year. There is no guarantee that Seattle's Wilson would be the same Wilson if he were in Miami. The Dolphins had to at least consider the possibility of selecting Wilson early in the 2012 offseason, however, as the club discussed the coaching position was Bielema.