The Miami Dolphins should be celebrating the greatest turnaround in NFL history today. From 1-15 to 11-5 and an AFC East title, the Dolphins should bask in the glory and get ready to face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. But instead, talk around the Dolphins will be divided among the playoffs and Bill Parcells, who could be out of Miami after helping out with this historic season.
When Parcells signed with the Dolphins to become Executive VP of Football Operations, there was a clause that allowed Parcells to leave if the team was sold. With Wayne Huizenga now preparing to sell the Dolphins, that clause in Parcells’ contract becomes even more important.
Parcells could choose to renew his contract with the possible new Dolphins’ owner, real-estate billionaire Stephen Ross. But the clause states that Parcells can leave the Dolphins without breaching his contract, if he doesn’t have a new deal in place 30 days after the sale.
If he does, Parcells would still get the remaining $12 million left in his contract.
With this clause now making headlines, Parcells could be on the free agent market yet again. After the year the Dolphins have had, Parcells will be even higher in demand than usual when he leaves a team.
If Parcells leaves the Dolphins now, it wouldn’t even be at the top of abrupt Parcells departures. The Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys have all been victim to this trend in the past. But that was when Parcells was a head coach.
Parcells has a less visible behind-the-scenes job in Miami, but it appears to have paid big dividends. Parcells has a history of turning franchises around, except with the Cowboys. But the Dolphins’ historic rise is big, even by Parcells standards.
Parcells brought coach Tony Sparano on board, as well as GM Jeff Ireland. Under his watch, the Dolphins picked up Chad Pennington after the Jets released him to get Brett Favre. The move worked out better for Pennington, as he proved by beating the Jets yesterday.
If Parcells does decide to go, there are already some suitors lining up. If Parcells wants to make the biggest turnaround of all, he may go to the 0-16 Detroit Lions to join their front office. The Browns, Raiders, and even the Jets are speculated as contenders as well.
The Jets may be more desperate to bring Parcells back, after their late-season collapse and the firing of Eric Mangini.
For now, Parcells will still be around to see the Dolphins host the Ravens in the playoffs Sunday. After that, the Huizenga to Ross deal will likely be done, and Parcells will have yet another chance to abandon a team and start another rebuilding project.
Palm Beach Post- “Bill Parcells could leave Dolphins with big payday if Wayne Huizenga sells team” www.palmbeachpost.com/dolphins/content/sports/epaper/2008/12/28/1229parcells.html
Detroit Free Press- “Report: Parcells might leave Miami; Lions on radar” www.freep.com/article/20081229/SPORTS01/81229001/1049/SPORTS01