In a move sure to excite the fan base, the Miami Dolphins and general manager Jeff Ireland have mutually agreed to part way, ending his six-year tenure with the franchise. Ireland originally joined the team under Bill Parcells in 2008, coming to the team from the Dallas Cowboys, along with Dallas-offensive-line-coach-turned-Miami-head-coach Tony Sparano.
Ireland has been much maligned over the past few years, with teams frustrated by the four straight losing seasons from 2009 to 2012. That streak ended this year, but only with an 8-8 record, meaning Miami has not had a winning record since they went 11-5 in 2008.
Ireland's results as a general manager has been debated non-stop among the Dolphins fan base, starting with the argument over who was making the draft picks and free agent signing decisions from 2008 to 2010, Ireland or Parcells, who was serving as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations, or "football czar" for the team. Since Pacells left the team, Ireland has had stretches were things looked to be turning around, but then would have personnel moves that would confound the fan base.
Ireland was able to make a trade to bring running back Reggie Bush from the New Orleans Saints in 2011, only to allow Bush to leave after the 2012 season and an average of 1,000-yards rushing in his two seasons with the Dolphins. He traded away Pro Bowl MVP Brandon Marshall in March 2012, without any discernible plan to replace the team's number one wide receiver. He drafted players like Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but also allowed former number-one overall pick Jake Long to leave via free agency, and replaced him with Martin, who was unable to handle the position.
The Dolphins will now begin a search for a new top personnel executive. That search could include internal candidates Dawn Aponte, currently the Executive Vice President of Football Administration for the Dolphins and a potential candidate for the NFL's vacant Vice President of Football Operations position, or current Assistant General Manager Brian Gaine, who has been considered by several teams in the past for various vacant General Manager positions.
Miami ended the season on a two-game losing streak, missing the playoffs by one game. The team had two, three-game winning streaks during the season, including winning the first three games of the year, but were unable to offset a four-game losing streak in the middle of the year and finished the year with a disappointing 8-8 record, despite an offseason filled with big-name free agent signings.