How Tampering Penalty Could Affect Dolphins QB Plans in 2023

Photo Credit: Dolphin Nation

The NFL announced on Thursday that the Miami Dolphins were being stripped of their 2023 first-round pick as well as their 2024 third-round pick. Additionally, Owner Stephen Ross was suspended — kind of — for the first six weeks of the season and fined $1.5 million. All of this comes after Ross and the Dolphins were found to have illegally tampered. Ross attempted to lure Tom Brady away from Tampa Bay and Sean Payton from New Orleans while they were under contract. Miami still owns San Francisco’s first-round pick in 2023; however, the loss of those picks has the potential to be a more devastating loss than we think. Hint: Like everything else, it involves Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins QB plans in 2023. 

The Potential Damage

Everyone seems to agree that this is Tua’s last chance to prove he can be a starter; at least in Miami. He has to show that he improved on his weaknesses and has the “it” factor. Specifically, he needs to prove he can be a quarterback who wins late-season games and make throws that he’s struggled to make in the past. His leash is short. 

When Miami committed to Tagovailoa in the spring, Miami’s long-term plan seemed fairly clear. If Tagovailoa progresses like they expect him to, they have found their franchise quarterback. If he doesn’t, then the Dolphins have the fire-power to trade-up for a top-tier QB in the draft.

Ohio State QB CJ Stroud and Alabama QB Bryce Young are expected to enter the 2023 draft. Miami would likely have a great interest in both quarterbacks. The power of having two first-round picks was immeasurable in this QB class. Unfortunately, after yet another embarrassing blunder of the Stephen Ross era, that plan has probably gone out the window. 

Ross’ mistake has cost the Dolphins a significant draft pick regardless of whether it’s used on a quarterback. Hopefully Tagovailoa proves he can be the Dolphins QB in 2023, and the potential long-term impact of losing the first-round pick is minimized. 

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Making sense of the Jim Harbaugh to the Miami Dolphins rumors

There’s buzz that Jim Harbaugh is connected to the Miami Dolphins Head Coaching opening. Hussam Patel updates the recent reports.

Yesterday, my colleague Tyler DeSena wrote a column about Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh being a potential Dark Horse Candidate in the Miami Dolphins Head Coaching search.

As reported, Harbaugh had an interview scheduled with the Minnesota Vikings.

Per sources, Harbaugh is potentially mulling NFL offers.

While it is not shocking, Harbaugh is considering coming back to the league there are several factors into play.

Money not the primary factor but talks

Money is not the main issue in this situation, Michigan is offering plenty of resources at Harbaugh’s disposal.

A world class facility, complex and stadium to capture the best recruits. While potentially getting a blank check from the University itself.

When the University asked coach Jim Harbaugh to take a pay cut to return this past offseason, he did not flinch.

Harbaugh described it as “no big deal” to the request. His base salary was cut from $8 million to $4 million as part of a four year extension; however, it is maximized with incentives.

“Attacking each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, as always. It didn’t really mean anything to me. It’s just money.”

Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

In turn, Harbaugh finally beat Ohio State, won the BIG 10 Championship game and an appearance in the College Football Playoffs.

Unfinished Business

Jim Harbaugh lost in the Super Bowl as the Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers to the Baltimore Ravens, against his brother John Harbaugh, 34-31.

If Jim Harbaugh has a chance at something and can not accomplish it, it will motivate him to reach it. It’s exactly what he did to finally beat Ohio State. The potential to get a Super Bowl victory could mean a chance at redemption.

The NFL is just better than College. Little recruiting is done compared to the NFL with better say in who will be in the organization. Along with the new NIL deals and rules in place, there are no worries about potential players transferring out of programs.

A roster full of talent, along with full control of decision making is enticing to any potential NFL Head Coach.

Rumor Mill updates

Per source, there is a Wolverines team meeting this morning; however, it is not anything related to do with Harbaugh or any contract negotiations. It’s business as usual for the Wolverines as Spring Conditioning will take shape soon.

The buzz around Harbaugh to Miami is not gaining much traction around Ann Arbor. It is speculated in coming from the NFL side and to leverage Harbaugh’s negotiations in a new contract extension.

Per source, Harbaugh is considered to be in the mix of the Vikings job and has conveyed interest.

What it means

Mighigan

For Michigan, it says that Harbaugh has done the most what he could do at Michigan. While it may be hard for a lot of Michigan fans to realize is that if not given what he wants the potential is there for him to leave campus.

He beat Ohio State, won a BIG 10 Title, and made the playoffs in one season. No one is winning a national title at Michigan, especially with how powerful SEC schools have become and rival Ohio State with more resources at their disposal.

The salary range for College coaches are rising.  Currently, Michigan State’s Mel Tucker and Penn State’s James Franklin have lucrative contracts. Tucker’s deal is approximated at $9.5 million per year for 10 years, while Franklin has a 10-year contract worth a minimum of $70 million and potentially $10 million more.

LSU lured Brian Kelly out of Notre Dame similar to what Tucker is receiving and USC swooped Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma with a $110 million contract.

Money might not be the primary motivator, but it talks. At this point, its either Michigan or Minnesota.

Miami

As for the Miami Dolphins, owner Stephen Ross has claimed that he will not be the one to take Harbaugh away from Michigan. Ross, an alum from Michigan, is a prominent donor to the University.

There have been reports about Harbaugh to Miami, but it’s all about connections and Ross has gone after Harbaugh before.

There has not been any official word on Harbaugh interviewing with the Dolphins organization and directly contradicts what Ross has told the media.

This morning on Peter King’s Football in America column:

“Heard some cryptic things about the Michigan coach over the weekend, including that he’s not likely to get the Vikings job and yet one other job is in play. Not sure which that would be. Would Shad Khan take another shot at a famous college coach? Can’t imagine. Houston? Miami? Steven Ross? No! Who knows. I hear a lot of weird things this time of year”

As of now the main candidate in play for the Miami Dolphins Head Coaching gig is favored to be 49ers Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel. McDaniel is scheduled to interview today.

The other candidates include Rams RB and Assistant HC Thomas Brown and Cowboys OC Kellen Moore.

The Dolphins Head Coaching search is a situation to be worth monitoring.

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Jim Harbaugh is the Darkhorse in the Miami Dolphins’ HC search.

After naming their final two candidates for the Head Coach position, the Dolphins may have an ace up their sleeve in Jim Harbaugh.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh could be a dark-horse candidate for the Miami Dolphins job
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Following the New York Giants hiring of Brian Daboll, the Miami Dolphins have seemingly moved down to two head coach candidates: Mike McDaniel and Kellen Moore. Next week, the two will interview when the Dolphins hope to make their final decision. However, a new candidate has entered the arena, and he may be of interest to the Miami Dolphins: Jim Harbaugh.

University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has reportedly scheduled an interview with the Minnesota Vikings.

This comes as a shock, as many suspected he would stay at Michigan, as opposed to returning to the NFL. However, his professional success has been significant, so the possibility of him returning to coaching can’t be ruled out.

Jim Harbaugh’s background makes him a top HC candidate for anyone.

Before leaving for Michigan in 2015, potential Miami Dolphins head coaching candidate Jim Harbaugh was among the most successful coaches in the NFL. In four years with the San Francisco 49ers, he led them to a 44-19-1 record, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2012.

His defenses never ranked below 10th in points and finished third or better in three of his four seasons. Better yet, behind coordinator Vic Fangio, they were able to grab 16 interceptions in their Super Bowl season.

Harbaugh’s success is significant with San Francisco.

Following a mediocre fourth season in San Francisco, Harbaugh decided it was time for a change. So in the 2015 offseason, he agreed to a seven-year contract worth over 40 million dollars with the Michigan Wolverines. This marked a return to college, where he coached at Stanford for four years before taking the 49ers job.

Jim Harbaugh and his relationship with the Miami Dolphins owner.

At the University of Michigan, where Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is a significant donor, is where the two initially met. Ross has had the opportunity to see Harbaugh’s work firsthand and, as a result, holds him in high regard.

Even before his Michigan hiring, the Dolphins owner coveted Harbaugh, even flying out to interview him with Tony Sparano still at the helm in 2011. It was with this connection, however, that fans and media alike had found more speculatory material.

Ross apologizes for Harbaugh interview.

Ross had stated in his interview after firing Brian Flores that he’s “not going to be the person” to take Harbaugh from Michigan, but if he were planning to transition back to the NFL anyway, then he wouldn’t have to pull him away.

The Jim Harbaugh rumors are heating up.

Now that Harbaugh has interviewed with the Vikings, he’s shown that he’s willing to look into an NFL job. Thus, he now officially opens up the idea to be interviewed by other teams, including Miami.

His Michigan staff has also seen departures recently. Defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald left for the Ravens two days ago among those.

It’s under these circumstances that Harbaugh could reasonably justify a return to the league he found substantial success.

Ross also could justify hiring Harbaugh, which would help Miami without “taking” the coach from his alma mater.

While it seems like a conspiracy, it may make some sense for Miami. On top of being offensive-minded, Harbaugh also has the experience as a head coach that Miami covets. Three of their seven interviews were former head coaches, although all three were on defense.

Miami has hired several first time coaches since Wannstedt.

However, Miami’s finalists are both offensive coordinators. Harbaugh brings the opportunity to give the best of both worlds, something the other candidates cannot.

The aforementioned Vic Fangio is available after being fired by Denver, and a reunion is possible if he decides to come back. Additionally, it’s rumored that Harbaugh would bring back some of the coaches he had before his departure, looking to rekindle the fire of past successes.

What’s the endgame for Jim Harbaugh and the Miami Dolphins?

Miami will likely hire one of Kellen Moore or Mike McDaniel next week, but that doesn’t mean Harbaugh is out of the picture. He has a clear connection to owner Stephen Ross and can bring back assistants of the past.

With Miami’s vacancy, this potential move makes too much sense. Moreover, the coach who has caught the owner’s eye for over a decade may be available. So it only seems reasonable that he would at least do his due diligence.

Stephen Ross holds the most power in this scenario, and his desire for success at 81 years old has never been stronger. He may want to take a big swing at the end of his Dolphins tenure.