There have been several general managers and personnel people we've talked to in the past month or so who, without solicitation, all came up with this comment about the Miami Dolphins situation:
What a mess.
|Nick Saban is reportedly deciding on the Dolphins' offer. (AP)|
The team has cap issues, draft picks have been traded away and some of the best players are on the downside of their careers. The Dolphins have $101 million in cap room already committed for next season, and the cap is expected to be about $85 million. Some of that room will be erased by releasing big-ticket players like Jay Fiedler ($9 million cap hit), although there will still be a lot of work to do after that.
"Whoever takes over better make sure the owner has some patience," said one NFC personnel director. "That thing needs to be blown up and fixed from top to bottom."
It certainly won't be easy, which is why the Dolphins have to be careful if they do hire LSU coach Nick Saban. The recent word Wednesday was that Saban has been offered the job, but might not take it after all, in large part because his wife is said to be pressuring him not to do so. And we all know how that works.
It will be awfully tough for him to turn down a five-year deal for $20 million-$23 million from Miami because he would also be getting final say on personnel decisions -- something Saban badly wants if he does make the step to the NFL.
Thus lies a potential problem area. The Dolphins had better make sure Saban has a darn good personnel man working with him, one who isn't afraid to challenge him.
A college coach going to the NFL with total personnel power can blow up big time. Just look at what happened in Cleveland when Butch Davis was given control. The thinking was the Browns would do well in the draft because Davis knew the college players coming from the college level.
College coaches usually only know the players on their schedule or in their conferences, so that's why a personnel guy is needed for Saban or any other coach making the move.
Although the preference here is for a general manager to be in control of personnel, if the coach is going to have final say it would be wise to have a relationship like the one Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli have in New England. Belichick has final say on personnel, but with a lot of input from Pioli.