Chris Grier

Fallout From Dolphins’ Adam Gase Hiring

The lead conductor of the Dolphins’ coaching search, Mike Tannenbaum, initially preferred Doug Marrone before the franchise decided to offer its head-coaching job to Adam Gase, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets.

Marrone interviewed for the position, but the 37-year-old Gase became the “unanimous favorite,” according to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (via SportsTalk 1040 The Team’s Jenna Laine, on Twitter).

[RELATED: Dolphins hire Adam Gase as head coach.]

(Gase) has worked extremely hard his entire career and is very deserving of this opportunity. I wish he could stay with us in Chicago, but everyone has a journey and this is the next part of his,” Jay Cutler told media, including Larry Meyer of ChicagoBears.com. “His work with quarterbacks is well documented and I know firsthand how good he is.Adam Gase

Here is some more news on Marrone, Gase and more from the Eastern divisions.

  • New Dolphins GM Chris Grier will have control over whom the team signs, but Gase will be in charge of determining the 53-man roster, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). A fair amount of power will come for the new youngest head coach in the game. Fewer than 10 coaches currently possess that control, according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer (on Twitter). Tannenbaum’s presence still looms, however, so the Fins could have a complex power structure this season.
  • As expected, Gase will call plays for the Dolphins this season, as he’s done for the Broncos (in 2013-14) and Bears in 2015, James Walker of ESPN.com tweets. Gase’s offenses ranked first, fourth and 21st over the past three seasons, with the injury-ravaged Bears being the only one of his units to fall out of the top five.
  • Beasley tweets the Dolphins, per Tannenbaum, considered 25 coaches for the position before settling on seven for interviews.
  • Peyton Manning also endorsed Gase (per Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk), focusing on the 37-year-old’s attention to detail. “He’s an extremely hard worker, a grinder,” Manning said. “He’s extremely bright on all things football, an excellent communicator and always eager to learn more. He asks a lot of questions and writes everything down. I’ve always been impressed with his work ethic and his eagerness to learn more.” Although he passed over the wunderkind offensive mind in favor of Gary Kubiak last offseason, John Elway also endorsed the Broncos’ former offensive coordinator from 2013-14. Gase, of course, guided Manning to the record-setting 55-touchdown pass campaign two seasons ago after serving as the Broncos’ quarterback coach in 2011, when the team orchestrated a midseason overhaul of its offense for Tim Tebow.
  • Gase could take Bears quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to Miami with him, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports, or John Fox could promote him to Gase’s old position. The former Titans OC contributed to Gase’s play-calling this season. Both Cutler and John Fox hold Loggains in high regard, Campbell reports. Either way, this season will bring Cutler’s sixth offensive coordinator since he was traded to Chicago.
  • Loggains would create the least disruption for the Bears, the Tribune’s Brad Biggs tweets. But the Chicago reporter also notes Fox could pursue newly unemployed offensive bosses Ken Whisenhunt or Pat Shurmur (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

Dolphins Request Interview With Josh McDaniels

The Dolphins have already lined up multiple head coaching interviews for this week, with Teryl Austin, Adam Gase, Doug Marrone, and Dan Campbell among the candidates meeting with the team in the coming days. However, Miami is working to schedule interview with several more assistant coaches, most of them from within the AFC East.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link), the Dolphins are requesting head coaching interview with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, and Bills assistant head coach Anthony Lynn. It’s not clear yet if the division-rival Pats will grant Miami permission to interview their assistants, but Buffalo has granted Lynn permission to speak to the Dolphins on Wednesday, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.

In addition to Austin, Gase, Marrone, Campbell, and the three AFC East assistants, the Dolphins have also been linked to Todd Haley, Dirk Koetter, Mike Shanahan, and Jim Mora Jr., so it sounds like their search will be an expansive one. Former Falcons head coach Mike Smith has been mentioned as a candidate for Miami as well, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Smith will interview with at least one team, but it’s not clear if the Dolphins are that team.

In other news out of Miami, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets that new GM Chris Grier, whose hiring was announced earlier today, will report directly to Mike Tannenbaum, making for a cleaner organizational flowchart than the one the team employed in 2015.

Dolphins Hire Chris Grier As GM

MONDAY, 10:43am: The Dolphins have officially hired Grier as their general manager, the team announced today (via Twitter).

SUNDAY, 2:45pm: Just one day after parting ways with former general manager Dennis Hickey, the Dolphins have found an internal replacement in the form of college scouting director Chris Grier, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Grier, who was widely expected to be tapped as the club’s new GM following Hickey’s dismissal, is likely to be officially named to his new post on Monday.

Grier, who will be entering his 22nd NFL season (16 with Miami), began his career as a Patriots scout in 1994 before working his way through the scouting ranks in the Dolphins organization. This past offseason, he was a candidate for the the Jets and Eagles general manager vacancies. Per Salguero, Grier’s skill in talent procurement is widely respected around the NFL, and he’ll now team with executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum as the club seeks to rebuild.

The first task for the duo will be the hiring of a new head coach, a process that Grier will join immediately once his contract is signed, according to Salguero. That search committee, expected to be lead by Tannenbaum, will also include vice chairman Matt Higgins, president and CEO Matt Garfinkel, and owner Stephen Ross.

It remains to be seen exactly how much of a voice Grier will have in the Dolphins’ new configuration. Hickey, according to reports, had been largely usurped by Tannenbaum, and was essentially acting as nothing more than a scouting director (he also declined to be reassigned within the organization before being fired). Grier, unlike Hickey, was clearly hand-picked by Tannenbaum, so perhaps the two will have a smoother (and more fruitful) working relationship.

Latest On Dolphins’ Front Office

Former general manager Dennis Hickey, whom the Dolphins parted with Saturday, had his role diminished in 2015 to that of a scouting director, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (Twitter link). With Hickey gone, there are sure to be more changes forthcoming to Miami’s front office, Jeff Darlington of NFL.com reports.

Those changes could involve executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte, though she has a fan in owner Stephen Ross. However, her specialties (namely the CBA and salary cap) might soon fall under the purview of executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, who is in position to become the franchise’s football czar. Despite that, Ross won’t let her go easily, Darlington writes.

Regardless of what happens with Aponte, the organization wants its all-time best player, Dan Marino, to take on a larger role. For his part, Marino – currently a special consultant to president and CEO Tom Garfinkel – is reluctant because of the commitment that would come with a higher ranking within the franchise. Nevertheless, the Dolphins do highly value the opinions of both Marino and vice chairman of the board Matt Higgins.

On the subject of the team’s coaching search, Breer tweets that Miami would be willing to let its next coach bring a personnel man with him. That goes hand in hand with Darlington’s notion that Tannenbaum would be open to decreasing some of his own power over the roster if it means hiring the right GM. If the Dolphins stay in house to hire their next GM, it’s likely to be director of college scouting Chris Grier. That would benefit Tannenbaum, who does not diligently scout players. Whether Grier or someone else becomes the GM, the Dolphins are cognizant that they need to put greater emphasis on scouting.

Of course, it remains to be seen whom the Dolphins will choose as their next GM and head coach. Two things are certain: Interim coach Dan Campbell won’t get promoted to the full-time role, per Darlington, and the team will enter its respective searches with Tannenbaum fully in control, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Dolphins, GM Dennis Hickey Part Ways

SATURDAY, 7:10pm: The Dolphins and Hickey have parted ways, Salguero reports. Grier is likely to take Hickey’s place.

On Hickey’s departure, Tannenbaum said, “I want to thank Dennis for his work over the last two years. We talked about a number of different possibilities, but at the end we reached this agreement. I have a great deal of respect for what he accomplished here and wish Dennis and his family well.”

Hickey also issued a statement, which in part reads: “Over the past week, I have had a number of conversations with the Dolphins organization about my role in the team. Ultimately the Dolphins and I agreed that it would be best if we parted ways. I will always be proud of our accomplishments in Miami including many key additions to the team through the draft and free agency.”

FRIDAY, 2:19pm: After another disappointing season in Miami, the Dolphins are expected to fire general manager Dennis Hickey on Monday, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Another source tells Florio that although discussions are ongoing regarding Hickey’s fate, nothing has yet been finalized. Meanwhile, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that while no decision has been made, it’s unlikely that Hickey will be retained.

Hickey was named the club’s general manager prior to the 2014 season after Miami conducted a lengthy search. The former Buccaneers executive had a largely successful first year with the Dolphins — he hit on draft picks Ja’Wuan James and Jarvis Landry, and made smart free agent decisions, bringing in Branden Albert and re-signing Brent Grimes.

But Hickey has been largely marginalized since his hiring, as he notably was not able to select his own head coach, having been assigned Joe Philbin. Additionally, the Dolphins hired ex-Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum as something of a football operations czar, further lessening Hickey’s impact. Tannenbaum took the lead on the club’s free agency and draft decisions, leaving it unclear as to exactly what Hickey’s role was.

According to Florio, Tannenbaum won’t name himself as Miami’s new GM (whether or not that has any material impact is unclear, given that Tannenbaum already wields total control of football matters). One key name to watch in the upcoming general manager search, a source tells Florio, is Dolphins director of college scouting Chris Grier, who was a candidate for both the Jets and Eagles GM vacancies last offseason.

Meanwhile, in a letter to season ticket holders (and passed along by Salguero), Dolphins owner Stephen Ross expressed his disappointment with the club’s results this season, and pledged that the team has already identified “several promising candidates” in it search for a head coach (a search, it should be noted, that will be lead by Tannenbaum). Interim head coach Dan Campbell will be granted an interview, per the letter, while any mention of Hickey was notably omitted altogether.

NFC Notes: Glennon, Rams, Eagles, Fewell

Assuming the Buccaneers intend to draft a quarterback in April with the first overall pick, that should make Mike Glennon expendable, and this spring could be an ideal time to move him in a trade, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. As Cummings points out, the free agent market for QBs is weak, and there are few viable rookie options besides Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. For teams looking to add a potential starting quarterback, Glennon may actually be one of the best options available, and should only cost a mid-round pick.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has a second interview lined up with the Rams for their offensive coordinator position this week, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Per La Canfora, the Bills would like to bring back Hackett, who is also drawing interest from Washington and the Jaguars as a potential quarterbacks coach.
  • In addition to considering Chris Polian for their front office opening, the Eagles have Dolphins scout Chris Grier and internal candidate Ed Marynowitz at or near the top of their list of targets, reports Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. One source tells Mosher that he believes Grier is coming in to interview for a second time with Chip Kelly.
  • Ex-Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has an offer from the 49ers to become their defensive backs coach, says John Keim of ESPN.com (via Twitter). However, before he makes a decision on that offer, Fewell is speaking to Washington about a similar role on Jay Gruden‘s staff, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
  • CFL receiver Duron Carter is expected to make a decision on his NFL team this week, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities, who tweets that the Vikings and a couple other teams remain well-positioned — one of those other suitors is certainly the Colts, who were reported on the weekend to be the frontrunners. Carter can’t officially sign an NFL contract until February 10 unless the Montreal Alouettes release him from his CFL deal.
  • Speaking to reporters in Arizona, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said it was “very tough” to pass up a free agent offer last year from the Bears, who offered him “way more money.” Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the quotes and the details.
  • Locking up linebacker Lavonte David to a long-term deal, perhaps in the neighborhood of $7MM annually, should be a priority for the Buccaneers this season, writes Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

East Notes: Fins, Clay, Pats, Ayers, Washington

The Dolphins would like to re-sign impending free agent tight end Charles Clay, and are preparing an offer with the intention to submit it to Clay’s representatives in the coming weeks, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Clay, who turns 26 in about three weeks, earned $1.431MM in base salary last season, and should be in for nice pay increase despite a somewhat disappointing campaign that saw him catch 58 passes for 589 yards and three touchdowns. I profiled Clay as an extension candidate before the season, and while the four-year, ~$21MM contract I projected at the time now seems a tad high, a $4MM AAV isn’t out of the question.

Let’s look at some more notes from the two East divisions:

  • In the same article, Jackson passes along some other Dolphins news, including Miami’s visit with defensive tackle prospect Danny Shelton, and league-wide interest in Dolphins executives Chris Grier and Adam Engroff.
  • The NFL bears significant responsibility in the DeflateGate scandal, argues Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Despite vowing to investigate the matter fully, the league hasn’t discovered much in the way of evidence or intent, writes Florio. Instead, the Patriots and the NFL as a whole are now being tarnished in what is the most important week in the league calendar.
  • Akeem Ayers doesn’t have any hard feelings towards the Titans regarding the trade that sent him to the Patriots, as the linebacker tells Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal. “They made a decision that they felt like they needed to make,” said Ayers. “…I just took it as motivation and especially being here on this team, I feel like they did me a favor, honestly…I came here and I did a good job here and we’re going to the Super Bowl.” New England acquired Ayers and a seventh-round pick for a 2015 sixth-rounder. A free agent at season’s end, the 25-year-old Ayers registered 20 tackles and four sacks in nine games with the Pats.
  • Washington would like to speak with Packers senior personnel executive Alonso Highsmith about its director of personnel position, but hasn’t heard back from Green Bay as of yet, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.

Coach/GM Notes: Falcons, Bears, Jets, Eagles

According to our head coaching search tracker, there are eight candidates involved in the Falcons‘ hunt for Mike Smith‘s replacement, and if no new names are added to that list, the team’s first round of interviews should conclude tomorrow after a meeting with Todd Bowles. So it makes sense that Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggests today (via Twitter) that Atlanta intends to bring in its finalists for a second round of interviews. According to Rapoport, Rex Ryan will be among those finalists, though it’s not clear yet who will join him.

Here are a few more items from around the league related to coaches and front offices:

Coaching:

  • Todd Bowles and Frank Reich completed their interviews with the Jets today, according to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter). Bowles’ next visit will be with the Bears.
  • A Tuesday report indicated that the Bears would likely meet with Mike Shanahan about their head coaching position after hiring a new general manager, but despite Shanahan’s past success with Jay Cutler (and Brandon Marshall), he’s not currently on Chicago’s list of candidates, says Ed Werder of ESPN.com (via Twitter). We’ll have to see if anything changes on that front after the team makes its GM hire.
  • After sitting in on the Raiders‘ interview with Shanahan, John Madden is expected to be in attendance for Tony Sparano‘s meeting with the club as well, tweets Fallon Smith of CSNBayArea.com.
  • In the wake of Perry Fewell‘s dismissal, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com offers a few suggestions for the Giants to consider for their defensive coordinator job, including Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, who Graziano thinks could be among New York’s top candidates.

Front office:

  • The Bears confirmed that they interviewed Chris Ballard and Ryan Pace for their GM vacancy, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune tweets.
  • Jon Robinson‘s interview with the Jets will take place tomorrow, according to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter).
  • The Jets announced today (via Twitter) that they’ve lined up an interview with Buccaneers personnel executive Jon Robinson for their general manager position. The club also confirmed the candidates they’ve spoken to so far: Chris Grier (Dolphins), Trent Kirchner (Seahawks), Bill Kuharich (Browns), Mike Maccagnan (Texans), Rick Mueller (Eagles), and their own Rod Graves.
  • The Jaguars have granted pro director Chris Polian permission to interview with the Eagles for their GM job, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network (via Twitter).
  • The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with the NFL on minority hiring issues, has filed a complaint with the league over Washington‘s general manager search, writes Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Washington spoke to Jets executive Rod Graves about the GM job, but didn’t run the request for permission by the league, and seemed to do it only as a formality while working out an agreement with Scot McCloughan, so as to abide by the Rooney Rule.
  • Meanwhile, the Dolphins appear to have evaded a Rooney Rule violation by changing the role of recently-hired Mike Tannenbaum, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains. The club has altered Tannenbaum’s and Dennis Hickey‘s duties since first announcing the hiring, so that Tannenbaum doesn’t qualify as a GM-type hire, meaning the club wouldn’t have needed to meet the Rooney Rule.

Extra Points: Shanahan, Trestman, Ryan

Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will consider leaving the Browns, even for a lateral move, because of friction within the organization, writes Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. Shanahan is aiming to become a head coach somewhere (perhaps in Buffalo) but he’d also like to reunite with his father, Mike Shanahan. The 49ers, Raiders, and Bills are have interest in hiring Mike as a head coach with Kyle as the offensive coordinator. More from around the NFL..

  • Washington interviewed Rod Graves on Monday for their GM position, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter). By interviewing Graves, Washington has satisfied the Rooney Rule, so that is not a roadblock in their talks with Scot McCloughan.
  • Former Bears head coach Marc Trestman will interview for the Jaguars‘ offensive coordinator position, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Trestman has already interviewed with the Buccaneers.
  • Rex Ryan will be meeting with CBS executives tomorrow to discuss a possible TV role if he doesn’t land a head coaching job, a source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles have requested permission to interview recently promoted Packers exec Eliot Wolf for their personnel opening, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Wolf was recently promoted by Green Bay, ostensibly to keep him in-house as the heir apparent to their own GM job.
  • The Eagles requested GM interviews with Chris Grier (Dolphins), Chris Polian (Jaguars), and Brian Gaine (Texans), sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Texans might have interest in former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, according to Dan Pompei of Sports On Earth (on Twitter).
  • Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson is scheduled to interview with the Jaguars for their offensive coordinator position on Thursday, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Gaine and Lake Dawson, the Titans‘ vice president of player personnel, completed their interviews with the Bears for their GM opening, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Saints GM Mickey Loomis says that the team will take linebacker Junior Galette‘s arrest “very seriously,” as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. “If at some point we deem it necessary for the club to take some action, we’ll do that,” Loomis said.
  • Loomis feels that the Saints are in better shape financially, Evan Woodbery of The Times Picayune (on Twitter). “I would say we’re in a better situation than we were a year ago — on pure salary cap.” He also scoffed at a recent report indicating that he will move into a new role with the team (link).

Jets Notes: Ballard, Pace, Grier, Bowles

Chiefs executive Chris Ballard will interview for the Bears’ general manager opening later this week, but he won’t meet with the Jets about their GM position. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Ballard has declined New York’s request for an interview. While there are a number of reasons why Ballard may be open to exploring the Chicago job and not the Jets’ opening, it’s not a great look for Woody Johnson and company, who were also officially turned down by Saints director of player personnel Ryan Pace, per Breer (via Twitter).

As the Jets shift their focus to GM candidates who will speak to them, let’s round up the latest out of New York….

  • Dolphins scouting director Chris Grier will interview with the Jets for the general manager position on Tuesday, a source tells Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link).
  • The Jets will also continue to speak to head coaching candidates this week, with Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles lined up for an interview on Wednesday, tweets Costello. Per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Jets will be the first team to meet with Bowles, followed by the Falcons on Thursday, and likely the 49ers and Bears after that.
  • Former Jets head coaches are also busy these days interviewing for head coaching jobs — Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports (via Twitter) that the 49ers’ interview with Rex Ryan took place on Sunday, while Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 in Washington tweets that Eric Mangini‘s meeting with the Raiders is happening today.