The St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins are still dancing with Jeff Fisher, but the clock may be close to midnight. There are conflicting reports bouncing around, but the latest says that Fisher is close to picking the Rams, according to Howard Balzer of 101 ESPN.
Fisher is reportedly leaning toward the Rams based on a handful of factors: he gets to help pick a GM, the Rams have prime spots in the 2012 NFL Draft, and they play in a competitive division.
As far as an official decision, that could come anytime. Balzer suggests by the end of the weekend. Previous reports suggested early next week. After an interview with Ray Horton in Denver today, the Rams are in compliance with the Rooney Rule.
In related news, Jim Thomas reports that the Rams have received permission to interview two GM candidates currently serving with the Tennessee Titans. One is Lake Dawson, who has been mentioned before as a possibility. Dawson is the Vice President of Football Operations with the Titans; he runs pro scouting among other responsibilities. The other is Ruston Webster, the Vice President of Player Personnel; he's primarily focused on college talent. He's served two years in Tennessee, coming over from Seattle ... where he served under Tim Ruskell, even a short stint as interim GM.
Thomas' news could be a sign that Fisher and the Rams have already talked GM candidates, or it could be a move by the Rams to further convince Fisher. Or both.
In the middle of the week, Fisher was said to be leaning toward the Dolphins, so this could also be one last leverage move from Fisher to drive up prices. Miami has promised not be outbid, and this would be an excellent way to get Stephen Ross to throw in the kitchen sink, a last bidding war to drive up his final price. As for how much Fisher is likely to make, it would have to be in the $7 million neighborhood.