You know, I'm going to try to remain composed here as I share with you today's latest slap in the face move against the Miami Dolphins that, unless handled correctly, has the potential to be quite embarrassing and make the organization look like a convention of clowns.
Earlier today, several media outlets, including The Worldwide Leader in media platforms reported that San Francisco 49ers president Jed York intends to contact Dolphins consultant Bill Parcells and ask for advice as that team conducts a general manager search.
Let that marinate for a second ...
So, basically, the head of a competing organization intends to call a person whom the Dolphins pay approximately $4 million per year to consult for Miami and ask him to consult for San Francisco for free, with no benefit to Miami.
What are the Dolphins? The court jesters of the NFL?
The Dolphins pay Parcells and he would gift advice to one of Miami's 32 competitors?
It is insulting to the Dolphins. It is galling that the 49ers think they can do this with a Miami employee any more than they can,say, Bill Belichick or A.J. Smith or the man running any other NFL outpost. And the bothersome thing is folks around the league think this is perfectly acceptable.
Remember last year when the Jets made the playoffs and Rex Ryan said he was going to contact Parcells for advice on how to handle the playoffs? The Jets, for goodness sake! The *&%?=#@$ Jets!
Thankfully, in that instance, Parcells put the kibosh on the whole deal by graciously declining to become involved. The hope here is he does the same thing this time around, regardless his relationship with York.
Otherwise, it makes the Dolphins look like a bunch of incompetent foofs who wrote themselve terrible contract terms with Parcells and now still pay him while other teams use him.
We all know Parcells is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the Dolphins. He doesn't really watch practice film any more. He isn't calling GM Jeff Ireland every day, advising him on what moves to make next so that this disappointing season can be salvaged next season. I get that. We all have to accept that.
But to get paid by the Dolphins and give his future Hall of Fame opinion to someone else in the NFL? That's a slap.
Let it be known that Parcells is not parsimonious with his opinion. He called University of Miami athletic director Kirby Holcutt during Miami's coach search and gave a resounding endorsement of Al Golden. Parcells loves Golden's work ethic, thinks the young coach can recruit, and comes from great stock.
But UM isn't competing with the Dolphins for players or victories. The 49ers are a different matter.
Yes, Parcells has a sweetheart contract. He is reportedly being paid and can continue to be paid next year even if he walks away from the Dolphins and goes to work for some other team. But guess what? He hasn't chosen to go work for another team at this particular point in time.
That pretty much makes him a Dolphins employee -- albeit as a consultant -- until such time that he decides to go elsewhere.
And so I propose this: If York insists on making that call, the Dolphins should file a tampering charge against the 49ers. I have no idea if they could make it stick. But I do know the move would send a loud and chilling message to the rest of the league that Parcells is Dolphins property and he is not to be contacted without permission.
There is, of course, one exception to what I propose: If Parcells promises to advise York to trade his first round pick for, say, the quarterback the 49ers so desperately need, then go ahead Big Tuna, give the San Franciscos your two cents.
If Parcells can convince York to take Chad Henne for a first-round pick, then the conversation is worthwhile to the Dolphins. Otherwise, this conversation should never really get beyond, "Thank you," Jed, "but no thank you. I'm under contract to the Miami Dolphins."
That's really the only two ways the Dolphins don't come out looking ridiculous in this instance.
[UPDATE: 760-AM radio reporter Ken LaVicka, who asks tougher questions than most on the Dolphins beat, asked coach Tony Sparano about the topic just now. Sparano confirmed Parcells is still an employee of the Dolphins but declined to comment further.]
[UPDATE 2: An NFL source tells me there has been to this moment no contact between York and Parcells. Another source close to Parcells -- well, sort of close -- tells me Parcells has not ruled out speaking with York but will tread carefully. According to the source, Parcells believes York wants more of a handle on GM candidate Trent Baalke, who Parcells hired in 1998 to be a scout for the New York Jets. Parcells won't let the conversation seep into advice going forward that might give the 49ers an edge of the Dolphins, the source said. Makes sense.]