Looking at potential coaching openings around the NFL, the Dolphins represented the lone opportunity that made sense for Cowher, according to the source, but that sense has diminished.
The source said the Dolphins are strongly considering parting with head coach Tony Sparano, but they likely will retain general manager Jeff Ireland. The GM has built a strong rapport with Dolphins owner Steve Ross and also has close ties to former Kansas City Chiefs president Carl Peterson, a longtime friend and confidant of Ross.
Cowher, along with commanding a salary in the $7 million-to-$8 million range, would want his own personnel staff, meaning sweeping changes to the football-operations side of the organization -- in essence, clearing out those brought in previously by Bill Parcells.
Those close to Cowher don't expect him to move forward with the Dolphins unless the parameters of the job substantially change.
Cowher amassed a 149-90-1 regular-season record with the Steelers from 1992 to 2006. He led the team to six conference championship games and two Super Bowls, including a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
Cowher currently is an analyst for CBS Sports, where he works with former Dolphins great Dan Marino.