He wanted my advice on how he could let them know they could have him cheaper without looking desperate. Well, if they're calling his references, they can't be so dumb to have ignored the application with his last salary. All he has to do is trust that if he gets an offer, either they'll meet or beat his last salary or if they want to offer him less, they will. The last thing to do is interfere when the ball is already rolling in your direction.
The desperation of fear can pervade the thinking of so many in the job market. Make no assumptions unless you have hard evidence. There are many strong companies who know they have to pay for true talent. If you're one of them, relax until you're back in the hot seat.