Jeff Fisher has decided to join the St. Louis Rams as their head coach, The Miami Herald has confirmed through various club and NFL sources.
Fisher seemed headed to the Dolphins throughout the day Wednesday but intense negotiations with the Dolphins, particularly club owner Stephen Ross on the power structure of the organization could not be resolved so Fisher opted to go to St. Louis.
According to an NFL source close to Fisher, Ross was not willing to give Fisher power over the entire football operations, including veto power of decisions by general manager Jeff Ireland.
[Update 1: A club source tells me Fisher never requested full authority over the Dolphins. Source says club's understanding was that Fisher and Ireland would work together, agreeing mutually on personnel.]
Obviously, given the contradictory stories coming from the Dolphins and the source who is in the Fisher camp, the two sides were apparently not speaking the same language here. Either that or someone is fibbing.
That leaves the Dolphins, who hoped to lure Fisher to become their coach, scrambling to recover from yet another disappointment following a season filled with disappointments.
Fisher, through representatives, informed the Rams he had picked them to succeed the fired Steve Spagnulo. Fisher is expected to sign a contract by the weekend. Contract details remain sketchy.
Fisher's also informed the Dolphins he would be going to St. Louis and thanked the Dolphins for considering him. Fisher spoke with Ireland directly. The Dolphins interviewed with Fisher last week and were hoping to make him the 10th coach in the franchise's history.
So where does this leave the Dolphins?
The team must quickly rebound and continue a search for a new coach. The club has already interviewed Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Chicago special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
The Dolphins are expected to expand their coach search. Among the candidates are former Texas Tech coach Mike Sherman, current Carolina offensive coodinator Rob Chudzinski, New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
The club contends, through sources, that Fisher's decision is not a blow.
This, of course, is part wishful thinking, part spin meant to protect the club's reputation. The truth is the Dolphins have sunk from a franchise that once could lure practically any candidate -- Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban, Bill Parcells -- it chased away from other suitors.
In this case, the Dolphins find themselves placing second in a two-team competition to a St. Louis franchise that could be on the move from its current city in the span to three seasons, a club that has been one of the NFL's losingest franchises for nearly a decade.