From 7 p.m. until approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday night, I spent time on the phone and in person listening to Jason Taylor, or people close to Jason Taylor, or family members of Jason Taylor, or associates of Jason Taylor. (I admittedly did not communicate Dr. Doolite-style with Jason Taylor's dog.)
When I arrived home I got a call from the Miami Dolphins and spent 45 minutes on the line listening to what they have to say about, you guessed it, Jason Taylor. By the way, 45 minutes on the line with folks representing an NFL team is an aging experience.
Following that I will now share with you what I know and what is curiously not settled as this chapter of Taylor's Dolphins career comes to a close.
What I know:
1. Taylor on Tuesday morning accepted from the New York Jets the only contract offer he had on the table to him. Period. There was a report on the Dan LeBatard radio show here in South Florida that quoted a source saying the Dolphins had an offer on the table for Taylor and he decided to take the Jets offer anyway.
"It was take this or go on a nationwide (Dancing with the Stars) tour with Jerry Rice," said Taylor, who also called LeBatard's source "a liar."
The Dolphins are in agreement with Taylor on this issue. They confirm they did not currently have a contract offer on the table to Jason Taylor.
We're off to a good start.
2. The Dolphins offered Taylor a contract extension in early November of 2009. That was reported here yesterday, Taylor said it in his press conference, and the Dolphins confirm this is true.
And the manner in which the offer came is also not up for debate. It came in a private meeting between Taylor and Bill Parcells himself.
And the offer came in the form of a Post-it note.
Parcells wanted to deal with Taylor directly. No agent was supposed to be involved. That seems to be increasingly the way the Dolphins operate with their veterans. Remember that last year Parcells approached Ricky Williams to discuss his contract?
Williams thought the team wanted to cut his salary. Instead, Parcells handed Williams a note with the figures for a contract extension. The caveat to the note was that Parcells didn't want to go through Williams' agent. And so Williams, needing money, happily left agent Leigh Steinberg out of the loop and accepted the Parcells contract extension on a Post-it note.
Well, the Dolphins tried the same thing with Taylor.
He declined the offer and instead referred the Dolphins to his agent Gary Wichard.
"It wasn't the right time," Taylor said. "I wasn't comfortable with the contract situation coming up then. Maybe I grew up old school, back in the days of Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt and Rick Spielman. We didn't talk contract once the season started. My focus was on trying to get to the playoffs, not on talking money. And why would I do a deal without my agent? Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland have an agent."
3. The Taylor camp believes that once the player declined the Big Tuna's personal offer, that triggered something that doesn't resemble love. The Dolphins do not argue the point that perhaps -- perhaps -- Parcells was not thrilled Taylor rejected his personal overture.
4. The Taylor camp to this minute does not know if the Dolphins would or would not have offered them a contract after the draft. And the Dolphins don't know 100 percent, either. That decision, they say, was going to be made after the draft. And they admit they might have decided not to offer Taylor a contract.
5. The idea about after the draft is troubling but moreso in that there is agreement on it than not. The Dolphins say that after Taylor received an initial offer from the Jets, they were told of the offer from the Taylor camp. No disagreement there. And the Dolphins say their response to finding out those numbers was to inform Taylor and his agent they wished to make their decision on Taylor "after the draft."
And, they say, that as late as Monday, the Taylor camp was "fine" with waiting until after the draft.
The Taylor camp agrees that they were initially "fine" with the idea of waiting until after the draft. No disagreement there, either.
Now here is where we get into disagreements:
1. The Dolphins, far as they know, still believe the Taylor camp was "fine" with waiting for Miami's decision after the draft. The Taylor camp obviously felt that a decision needed to be moved up because the one offer they held -- that of the Jets -- could easily disappear after the draft.
The Taylor camp says it reached out to the Dolphins when it became clear the Jets could pull their offer. The Taylor camp says it requested a decision one way or the other but got no response.
Why there wasn't one last-minute, last-gasp attempt to keep Jason Taylor in a Dolphins uniform, is unclear to Taylor. In fact, to this day Taylor doesn't know why he didn't get any Miami offer. "If I was told why, I could express it to you," he said. "But I wasn't told."
The Dolphins say there was nothing to express. They were waiting until after the draft.
2. About that November contract extension:
The Taylor side feels Parcells took Taylor declining to deal without an agent personally. The Dolphins side doesn't necessarily refute this as stated above. But ...
Parcells would not allow personal feelings to get in the way of completing imperative football business even if his feelings have a little boo-boo. (Salguero personal opinion: Taylor simply wasn't imperative to the Dolphins. If he was 25 instead of 35, he would have become imperative. But he isn't.)
3. Taylor said that once he turned the situation over to his agent he expected the negotiation to continue but that eventually the offer was pulled. The Dolphins say that once Taylor declined Parcells' offer, it was turned over to Jeff Ireland to handle and that negotiations indeed continued for some time between Ireland and Wichard.
(I'm getting a headache, aren't you?)
4. The Taylor camp is not really going here, but I am: They believe they were disrespected. Taylor, they say, is an all-timer with the Dolphins that, no matter what your football evaluation is, should be respected and treated well based on what he's meant to the franchise for 13 years.
They don't believe either Parcells or Ireland recognized the player's place in team lore and dealt with him poorly by playing the "after the draft" game. Taylor just wanted to know outright if the Dolphins wanted him or not. Black or white. The Dolphins told him to wait until after the draft in 2009, but they also told him they wanted him. They told him to wait until after the draft in 2010, but didn't hint as to whether he was in their plans or not.
Taylor was ultimately frustrated by the gray of "after the draft."
You saw part of that peek through when Taylor said, "I'm happy somebody wants me to play for them. The Jets have given me an opportunity to play and not just an opportunity but they showed me they wanted me up there ... They made it clear what they wanted to do."
The Dolphins? They insist they respected Taylor's historical standing.
But, they add, at the end of the day, they simply made a football decision.
[BLOG NOTE: I know there were issues with all of you being able to post comments on Tuesday. I was flooded with e-mail complaints that the blog was broken. I'm told the issue is being resolved. Personally, I blame it all on the New York Jets.]