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Dolphins set to offer Harbaugh $8 million

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By PFW staff

The Dolphins are putting all their chips front and center in the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes.

PFW has confirmed reports that the Dolphins likely will offer Harbaugh a contract worth $8 million per season.

Harbaugh, the head coach of Stanford, also was offered a contract by the 49ers worth reportedly $4.5 million per season. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, general manager Jeff Ireland and former NFL executive Carl Peterson flew to California to meet with Harbaugh. They were on the Stanford sideline before Monday's Orange Bowl.

The Dolphins had a 7-9 record this season and have yet to officially fire head coach Tony Sparano, who met with Ross earlier this week.

Sources told PFW that the Dolphins offered former Steelers head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher $7 million per season, but weren't willing to give Cowher complete control of the organization, as Ross plans to retain Ireland as GM.

Before the Dolphins can hire Harbaugh, they will need to fire Sparano and interview one minority candidate to satisfy the Rooney Rule. Harbaugh led Stanford to a 12-1 record this season.

The way we see it

Despite no professional coaching experience, Harbaugh has become the hot candidate during this year's coaching search. Ross clearly wants to make a splash in Miami, and with all the hype surrounding Harbaugh, that hire could accomplish just that. The Dolphins' defense had a solid season, and they want to keep coordinator Mike Nolan. But all this is being done while Sparano is technically still the head coach of the Dolphins, bringing some public ire toward Ross and Ireland.

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