Last year, it widely was reported, by folks like Chris Mortensen of ESPN, that former Chiefs G.M. Carl Peterson would assume the V.P. of football operations position previously held by Bill Parcells with the Dolphins. At one point, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that Peterson and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross were in talks regarding a job for Peterson.
Now, amid reports that Peterson has been directly involved in the search for a new coach of the Dolphins, David Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Ross has said Peterson won’t be officially employed by the team.
“He’s a trusted friend and adviser and will be in Miami and our offices strictly as an adivser [sic],” Ross said, per Hyde. “Jeff Ireland and I are making the decsions. [Peterson] is not and will not be here in any executive capacity.”
This doesn’t mean that last month’s reports were incorrect. It’s possible that Ross and Peterson couldn’t come to an agreement on key terms like compensation and responsibilities, and that they decided that it simply wasn’t the right time to launch a formal employer-employee relationship.
It’s also possible that, while Peterson has no “executive capacity” with the Dolphins, he’s being paid to advise Ross. Friendship has its limits; Peterson shouldn’t be devoting time, effort, skill, and experience to the Dolphins’ coaching search or any other projects unless he gets something in return.
For Ross, Peterson provides something that every owner who made his money in another line of work needs — a person who knows the business and who can whisper in the owner’s ear when decisions need to be made.
Thus, while Ross and Ireland will be making the decisions, Ross surely will be asking Peterson for advice before doing so. Which necessarily gives Peterson a significant degree of influence over the organization, whether he’s on the official payroll or not.