The fact that the Dolphins' job opened after the 2021 season remains one of the biggest surprises in this NFL coaching cycle. Now, the team is reportedly down to three finalists to take over for Brian Flores in Miami, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
He appeared on Friday's The Pat McAfee Show to discuss some openings around the league. The Dolphins' coaching hire is down to three current offensive coordinators: Brian Daboll of the Bills, Kellen Moore of the Cowboys and Mike McDaniel of the 49ers.
“Next weekend, that’s really going to pick up,” Rapoport says. “So they have three finalists now. It is Brian Daboll, who may or may not get the Giants' job over the next couple days. He is a very strong candidate in New York, along with Brian Flores. So if he doesn’t get that job, then a strong candidate with the Dolphins. I think there’d be a lot to like. He’s been close with Stephen Ross in the past, he obviously coached Tua [Tagovailoa]. A lot of mutual stuff there.
“Kellen Moore, also a candidate, a finalist with the Miami Dolphins. And then the last one is Mike McDaniel with the San Francisco 49ers. The sort of internet sensation who’s hilarious and very young, but very, very smart. Those are the three finalists.”
Rapoport made note of the fact that all three names are on the offensive side of the ball, which makes sense if the Dolphins are committed to developing Tagovailoa, or need to seek out another young quarterback down the road. He also alluded to the potential for the new coach to hang on to some of Flores’s defensive staff in Miami.
The situation with Daboll is probably the most interesting. The Buffalo OC is also a finalist with the Giants, who wrapped up their expected interviews Friday, and could look to make a call over the weekend. Flores and Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier are also in the mix in New York, with former Bills general manager Joe Schoen taking over the front office.
McAfee asked Rapoport whether Daboll will “automatically” choose the Giants if he's offered:
“Not necessarily, because it could get pretty real maybe from now to Saturday afternoon,” Rapoport said. “The Dolphins plan on interviewing three finalists next week. Let's say the Giants offer Daboll tomorrow morning. Does he then call the Dolphins and go, ‘Hey, look. I know you want to interview me and a bunch of other people, but if you don't hire me I'm going to take this up.’ He has a very good agent in Bob LaMonte, those agents know how to do leverage. It's going to get really interesting to see if the Giants' decision on their head coach ends up speeding up what the Dolphins want to do.”
If New York lands Daboll, it could open the door for Moore or McDaniel. Speaking to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this morning, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones discussed Moore's candidacy in Miami, saying, “I get a sense they will not reach out, and I believe he'll be back next year,” before declining to add more, citing a “competitive situation.” He made it clear that he wants to retain Moore as OC, as he did with Dan Quinn leading the defense after he took head-coaching interviews elsewhere.
McDaniel, the 38-year-old 49ers OC, is something of a wild card. He's in his first year leading the San Francisco offense, after four seasons as run game coordinator with the franchise. He is the last of the three Dolphins finalists still active this season, as the 49ers face the Rams in Sunday’s NFC championship game.
More NFL Coverage:
- Joe Burrow's Rise to Stardom Wasn't As Easy As He's Made It Look—Just Ask His Parents
- Meet Tom Zheng, the 49ers’ Secret Weapon to Staying Healthy
- Hackett Is a Great Hire Even Without Rodgers
- All Dolphins: Examining the Idea of the Dolphins Retaining Their Defensive Coaches
For more Dolphins coverage, head over to All Dolphins.