Ireland on way to Dallas to pick up Sparano
Ireland a few minutes ago boarded one of Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga's private jets -- one of the smaller ones, not the 737 -- with his wife. Educated guess here: Ireland's wife is going back to Dallas to tie up some family loose ends and will stay.
Back to facts: Ireland is expected to return with Sparano this evening. It takes approximately three hours to fly to Dallas and a little less than three to get back. That would put the return touchdown around 6-7ish when you add in time to taxi the aircraft, pick up Sparano etc...
If I know the Dolphins, the team will likely wine and dine Sparano this evening, maybe even have him meet Huizenga over dinner. Then everyone can get about the business of finalizing this hiring Wednesday morning -- assuming EVERYTHING goes smoothly.
I know that Sparano's agent -- yes, it is Jimmy Sexton -- is already prepared with a preliminary contract he would expect for his client. That contract includes something of a raise from the contracts first-year head coaches such as Mike Tomlin, Lane Kiffin, Gary Kubiak, and yes, Cam Cameron signed last year.
These negotiations are rarely a problem when they don't involve Raiders owner Al Davis, and this one doesn't.
So unless something goes unexpectedly off course, the Dolphins are navigating toward having a new coach in place by sometime Wednesday. And the latest step in the process just happened when that jet carrying Ireland took off.