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Tuesday, January 18, 2011
McDaniels out? Rams, Seattle competing?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks could be competing for coaching talent after the Rams' talks with Josh McDaniels apparently hit a snag over money.

Seattle plans to interview Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to replace the outgoing Jedd Fisch as quarterbacks coach, ESPN's John Clayton is reporting. ESPN's Chris Mortensen says the Rams are also making a run at Bevell -- and Atlanta Falcons assistant Bill Musgrave -- after talks with McDaniels broke down.

Bevell and Bill Musgrave, promoted by former Rams executive Tony Softli as a logical coordinating candidate, would presumably come cheaper than McDaniels.

Bevell's status has remained uncertain since the Vikings named Leslie Frazier head coach. Minnesota interviewed McDaniels as a candidate to become coordinator. The Vikings have given Bevell permission to explore opportunities elsewhere.

Bevell has been the Vikings' offensive coordinator since 2006. He worked for the Green Bay Packers beginning in 2000, when Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was still with the team. Bevell was a quality control coach at that point. He became quarterbacks coach in 2003, after Hasselbeck had joined the Seahawks.

Mortensen cites a source as saying the Rams took a "conservative fiscal approach" with McDaniels, and this could have been a problem in negotiations. McDaniels has been a head coach recently, so he's accustomed to earning top dollar. Can he command well into seven figures as a coordinator? Should the Rams pay whatever it takes?

The Rams have wealthier ownership since Stan Kroenke took over full control of the team. That doesn't mean the Rams will issue blank checks. The Seahawks have stood firm on financial matters even though their owner, Paul Allen, has deeper pockets than any of his peers.

This news on McDaniels could equate to a game of poker. It's too early to call the Rams cheap or declare the talks dead.

I think the Rams offer McDaniels his best shot at becoming a head coach again. Working with Sam Bradford would appeal to any coordinating candidate. Bradford is going to be good, most likely, whether or not McDaniels coordinates the offense. But the Rams have a responsibility to find the coordinator most likely to help Bradford realize his potential.

McDaniels might be that coordinator.

If the Rams pass on McDaniels over money, it's likely the fit wasn't going to be ideal. McDaniels might view himself in a manner inconsistent with how the Rams want him to fit into their staff.