With a record of 7-7, the Dolphins sit in third place in the AFC East, and while they’re not technically eliminated from playoff contention, a postseason berth is extremely unlikely — after Sunday’s lost to the Patriots, Miami’s playoff odds dropped from 21% to 0%, per Football Outsiders. Although parts of the Dolphins’ season have been encouraging — the development of Ryan Tannehill, a defense that played extremely well until falling off recently — it’s largely been a disappointing year in South Beach. Fans hoping for a coaching staff overhaul might be out of luck, however, as sources tell Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald that owner Stephen Ross hasn’t shown a willingness to fire head coach Joe Philbin.
The Dolphins have been linked to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who is expected to part ways with San Francisco after this season. Harbaugh has reportedly received a six-year offer from the University of Michigan, believed to be worth nearly $50MM. Whether or not Miami (or any other interested club) would be forced to match that total is unclear, as some believe that Harbaugh would prefer to remain in the NFL ranks. Ross & Co. have tried to lure Harbaugh to Miami before — the team tried to bring him into the fold in 2011, but ultimately gave Tony Sparano an extension when their Harbaugh efforts failed.
For his part, Philbin refuses to discuss his future with the team past 2014. “I’ve talked to [Ross] often, but what we discuss is private,” said Philbin. “I’m not worried about my future. I’m worried about the Minnesota Vikings (the Dolphins’ next opponent). That’s it.” Since taking over in Miami in 2012, Philbin has a record of 22-24, with the team finishing second and third, respectively, in the AFC East ’12 and ’13. The Dolphins have yet to make a playoff appearance during his tenure.
Beasley’s Herald colleague, Armando Salguero, is skeptical of the report, writing that it’s hard to believe that Ross wouldn’t want to acquire Harbaugh. In Salguero’s view, the Dolphins are merely signaling that they don’t wish to be used as leverage by Harbaugh, and that they won’t overpay for the 49ers coach. It’s an interesting theory, and one that makes some sense given both the recent failures in Miami and the club’s previous interest in Harbaugh.