Breer’s Latest: GM Candidates, Dolphins, Cutler

Albert Breer’s usual Friday column at has arrived one day early this week, in advance of Christmas Day. Breer’s Week 16 notebook focuses on general manager candidates around the league, with one current GM suggesting that the most important thing for a team is for its GM and coach to be on the same page.

“That is the most important thing,” the veteran GM said. “And it is for multiple reasons. The coach and GM have to share a vision. And once you start that relationship, you have to have clearly defined roles. If it’s that [the coach] is coaching and I’m bringing [players] in, once I start to veer and step over that line, everything becomes blurred and dysfunction follows.”

After detailing the importance of the rapport between a coach and GM, Breer identifies a number of potential candidates for jobs that will open up this offseason, examining front office executives who are on the rise and on the cusp of getting their first big shot (such as Chris Ballard of the Chiefs, Nick Caserio of the Patriots, and Brian Gaine of the Texans), as well as those that deserve a second chance at a GM position (like Mark Dominik, Jeff Ireland, and Scott Pioli).

Here are a few more highlights from Breer’s piece:

  • The Dolphins have begun to vet possible candidates for their head coaching job, and the team is taking a closer look at the 2006 and 2009 coaching cycles to help identify important characteristics for those candidates. Those were the two years that former Jets executive Mike Tannenbaum hired new coaches – Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan – so the current Dolphins exec is very familiar with what he and his former team looked for at the time, and what they may have missed in other candidates. The overarching idea for Miami is to break away from the group-think mentality that may keep the club from considering a strong option.
  • While it may have seemed unlikely a year ago, it now looks like a lock that the Bears will keep Jay Cutler on their roster for 2016, whether or not offensive coordinator Adam Gase remains in Chicago. Cutler’s partially guaranteed salary for next season will become fully guaranteed on St. Patrick’s Day, so the club figures to finalize its decision by then.
  • A source tells Breer that the NFL expects to decide before the Super Bowl whether or not a 2016 regular season game will take place in Mexico. The league’s charge to make it happen has “slowed a bit,” according to Breer, who notes that there are several issues still to overcome to make Azteca Stadium game-ready.
  • In Breer’s view, the Packers did well to lock up Mike Daniels to a four-year extension rather than having to consider using the franchise tag on him. As a defensive end in a 3-4 system, Daniels isn’t quite as valuable as elite 4-3 DE pass rushers, but his franchise salary would be the same as those players. Teams like the Jets (this year) and Eagles (next year) will face similar dilemmas for Muhammad Wilkerson and Fletcher Cox, respectively.
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