There really is no way to do this weekend justice in exactly what it felt like for a Miami Dolphins fan, riding the ups and downs of General Manager candidates being offered, then turning down, the position. However, we will try to recapture everything that happened over the weekend.
News started coming out on Friday, when it was first reported that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross would be back in Miami for the weekend, with the team's second round of interviews for the position previously held by Jeff Ireland taking place as early as dinner on Friday night. Then, word started leaking that the team was actually already in an interview, but it was with a new candidate, the New England Patriots' Nick Caserio.
Caserio has been both a personnel guy and a coach in NE...Fins looking for good marriage between coaching and scouting staffs......— Jesse Agler (@jesseagler) January 24, 2014
The Caserio interview started early in the morning Friday, lasting until early afternoon. The Dolphins then did move into their finalists' interviews, starting with the team's Assistant GM Brian Gaine.
Assistant GM Brian Gaine interviewed today for the general manager position. It was his second interview.— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) January 25, 2014
The Dolphins GM finalists are all 43 or younger. Caserio is the youngest at 38. Gaine is 40, Dawson is 42 and Hickey is 43.— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
After what seemed like a routine step in the GM search process. The news suddenly started coming fast-and-furiously. First, worked broke that the Dolphins had offered the GM position to Caserio.
Source in Miami: Dolphins have offered GM job to Patriots director of pro personnel Nick Caserio.— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) January 26, 2014
It didn't take long for Caserio's offer to turn into a Caserio rejection. Citing his comfort and enjoyment of the position he currently holds as the Director of Player Personnel in New England:
Indications are that Nick Caserio will be staying with the Patriots. #patriotstalk— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) January 26, 2014
Of course, Caserio's rejection also lends credit to the theory that he was simply trying to use Miami as leverage for more money in New England. Fans, of course, reacted negatively to the idea that the Dolphins were once again used to get more money from another team, a theme that has been seen many times in recent years. However, that's not a storyline unique to Miami, with most teams that are changing head coaches or GMs seeing that happen, and with the constant turnover in Miami, with a head coach or GM search being conducted every two- to three-years as of late, the team will be seen a lot.
Then, sometime between Caserio's rejection and Sunday morning, the Dolphins reportedly offered the position to Dawson, who also turned it down.
...ESPN's Adam Schefter said Lake Dawson also turned down Dolphins GM job today.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 26, 2014
Finally, down to just Gaine and Hickey on the list, it appeared Gaine would be the favorite for the position, with Hickey considered a dark horse from the moment he entered the interview process. However, it would prove to be that dark horse would get the final offer:
Breaking: The Dolphins have hired Dennis Hickey as their new GM— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 26, 2014
Official | Dennis Hickey has been named General Manager.— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) January 26, 2014
In the end, the Dolphins finally had their GM, and the search was over. Whether it was the first or fourth or eighth choice, Miami's GM could get to work and start planning for free agency and the NFL Draft in May.
Reports and speculation began swirling after the Hickey hire, with people trying to determine what had caused the embarrassment of the multiple rejections. It also has led to one situation that still has to be determined:
Dolphins assistant GM Brian Gaine, only finalist NOT offered the Dolphin GM job, is not likely to stay with the Dolphins over longterm.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 26, 2014
Dolphins would like to keep Brian Gaine but I'm told he understands he has no real chance for advancement in Miami.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 26, 2014
How Gaine fits into the team's future plans, given his current role as the Assistant GM, but not being offered the position as the team's GM, will be something to watch. Teams typically wait until after the NFL Draft to shake-up a front office, so Gaine could stay with the Dolphins until May, then move on from their fourth GM candidate.
Dawson explained that the team's fit was not right for him, making him unwilling to take the position.
L. Dawson releases statement saying he turned down Fins job because"details of the offer didn't align with my vision,...wasn't ideal fit..."— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 26, 2014
Lake Dawson's statement on turning down MIA"s offer is telling: "The details of the offer didn't align with my vision," Dawson said.— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) January 26, 2014
Dawson's rejection led to the immediate speculation that the idea that the team's GM would be answering to Executive Vice President for Football Administration Dawn Aponte was chasing away candidates
Some top candidates who didn't interview were told they'd be equals w/Aponte/Philbin. But Dawson, Farmer, etc believed they'd answer to her.— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
Reports continued to surface that the Aponte positioning over the GM was an issue:
I still imagine Ross says Hickey reports to him. But I'm hearing from reliable places that Aponte is considered the boss.— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
As I mentioned, today is not about Dennis Hickey. It's more about the #Dolphins' questionable structure that forced others to run away.— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) January 26, 2014
There also started a running theory that Head Coach Joe Philbin, and not Hickey, would have all the power over the 53-man roster. If true, this would completely contradict the statement owner Stephen Ross had issued at the start of the GM search, where he said personnel matters would be at the sole discretion of the GM.
Ross said Jan. 10 new GM would have "autonomous responsibility" over 53-man roster.CBS is now reporting that Philbin, not GM,will. Ross..— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 26, 2014
... assuredly will be asked to clarify at press conference.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 26, 2014
And to piggyback on @RapSheet report, I'm also told several Dolphins GM candidates were told Joe Philbin would have "some say" in personnel.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 26, 2014
The team started to argue against some of the reports being made by the media:
Dolphins say reason Nick Caserio didn't accept job is he wanted to fire Joe Philbin and Dolphins wouldn't allow. http://t.co/bKnn8ZyJvt— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 26, 2014
Dolphins tell me Lake Dawson was willing to keep Philbin but wanted say over his status in future. Ross keeps that: http://t.co/bKnn8ZyJvt— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 26, 2014
Dolphins insist Dennis Hickey has full control over 53, UFA, draft. http://t.co/bKnn8ZyJvt— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 26, 2014
Just spoke to someone involved in interview process who denies numerous reports, says Hickey will be in charge of roster & be Aponte's boss— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
Only Philblin and Hickey will report directly to Ross, I'm told.— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
And this person claims the only "power structure" concern was that the GM does not have ability to bring in their own coach.— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
Based on information I'm gathering....everyone wanted the ability to hire/fire the Dolphins coach. Steve Ross wasn't willing to give it up.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) January 26, 2014
I'm not sure that's right or wrong, good or bad.....BUT.....not sure I'd give anyone the ability to hire/fire coaches either.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) January 26, 2014
I'm also told that Dawn Aponte will report to new GM Dennis Hickey on all things regarding the Dolphins salary cap.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) January 26, 2014
High level #Dolphins source says: Dennis Hickey is in charge of the roster and oversees VP Dawn Aponte. But cannot fire/hire head coach.— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
Ex-GM Charley Casserly said it's not that unusual for owner to want control over coach's future.But most top GM candidates want that control— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 26, 2014
I'm told that Dawn Aponte will report to Dennis Hickey on "all matters," not just cap.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) January 26, 2014
Also Hickey will be allowed to bring in his own staff. Don't be surprised if Mark Dominic is considered for asst GM. Would be a role switch.— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) January 26, 2014
The Dolphins end three weeks of constant updates and rumors with the hire of Hickey yesterday. However, the team does not come out of this search unscathed, with a lot of people asking questions about the team's process, Ross' refusal to allow the GM to have power over the coach, and trying to figure out exactly where Miami goes from here.
Final Fins GM scorecard: AT LEAST 4 turned down interviews, one declined 2nd interview; 2 turned down job offer.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 26, 2014
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