My two cents on both the Bates question (assuming he were to be asked to stay and accepted) and the JT/complaining players:
I have seen good leaders in business, education and clergy. Sometimes they come into environements where people talk tough and act like they aren't going to bow down and get with the program. Good leaders don't just cut these people out, especially when these people are talented. Usually, if the leader comes in with a real vision, confidence that if people bought into it that they could realize the vision, and a real plan to execute that vision, along with a bit of charisma and intelligence and the ability to convince and balance a whole slew of different personalities, than one thing happens. The complainers begin to SHUT UP. The easier ones soon after he first arrives, the more difficult ones with a bit more work and usually after they see that the plan just might work. I have seen people complain literally up to the minute before the new head honcho walked in the door and never breath a word against the guy after he spoke his first sentence.
To cut your most talented player, or any of the core talent of the team, because they say things that can be interpreted as out of line before you even get there is just plain bad planning. If Saban is as good as people think he is, than he will be thinking to himself right now "This guy is talented and very loyal to his coach. GREAT! When I go in there I am sure to win him over with my vision and then I will have one of the most talented DE's who will give that loyalty to me and my plan, because my plan is a good one ." I have worked as a part time teacher, and, not to boast, I was pretty good at it. I have had students (7th through 12th grade) who I was told had attitude problems by the previous teacher, who, not to be too critical, was not great at taking charge of a classroom. So suddenly, all these attitude problem kids popped up in his class?! Bullsh!t Some of them were tough, but by the end they were really learning with me. The other guy didn't know how to lead and so the class started to crack as people recognized the vacuum in leadership and rushed to fill it. In football, like a classroom, when 53 different players feel insecure about a void in leadership and rush to fill it when its not their job and when they are not the one's that are qualified yet to do it, its a recipe for disaster. With a D this talented over the last several year, always top 10, with major playmakers, but with an uncanny nack for complaining and occassionally choking (bearing in mind they didn't often get support from the other side of the ball), the only reason that comes to mind is leadership. DW failed miserably and the players rushed to fill the void. If it were one real problem case who refused to let himself be coached or join the team (e.g., Kobe), I would understand the need to cut him. But when the problem is more ubiquitous, than the cause is often that the players even unconsiously feel the need to take on a role that isn't theirs. The HC has that job. If Saban is good, he won't cut them, he will give them what they want, even if they don't know they are asking for it, REAL LEADERSHIP. If he can't quell the complaints then I believe the problem would be with his ability to inspire and not the player's complacency. It doesn't mean he is bad coach, but it would show a major limitation.
That is why I would not be concerned about player loyalty to Bates. KB in a different thread said he thought, if Bates joined the team, it would behoove him to smooth things over with the players, and he is right. Football is not a democracy. While you need to recognize and reward individual effort, and you always need consesus and buy in to be succesful (people won't work their hardest just because of the pay check and your title if they don't think you are making the team progress and you don't proove yourself to be a leader), there is only one leader of a football team. Assuming Bates return to the fins, the only issue is whether he feels dissed or Saban feels threatened. Bates's main job is to support the vision of his boss and help him and challenge him to impliment it. Saban's, in relation to Bates, would have the job of utilizing Bates' skills and knowledge and relationship with the team to the best advantage. If Bates refuses, than he should not stay a Dolphin. If Saban would feel threatened, than I would again say that this would be a major limitation on him. If they get their business squared away, the players will naturally follow.
I hope Saban is the right man and knows how to inspire adult men who know they are powerful and talented athletes in a high paying professional sport loved by millions of fans. It's a tough job.