Dolphins Rumors

2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

Along with the head coaches being fired, a few NFL teams are looking for new general managers. The Bears, Giants and Vikings are in the market for new GMs, while the Steelers are soon to follow. Listed below are the GM candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status.

If and when other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-19-22 (8:42am CT)

Chicago Bears

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. With the Texans firing David Culley, there are now eight full-time vacancies available this year.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-18-21 (8:40pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Updated 2022 NFL Draft Order

With the Wild Card round complete, another six positions in the 2022 NFL Draft have been confirmed.

One of the most interesting developments relates to the Philadelphia Eagles. After losing on Sunday, their own first round pick has been locked in at No. 19, having already known they would also own the 15th and 16th selections. What the team does with that much draft capital will be one of the most interesting storylines of the draft.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order is determined by the inverted 2021 standings, plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule. For playoff teams, the order is determined by their postseason outcome and regular season record.

Here is the updated order after this weekend’s results:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-14
  2. Detroit Lions: 3-13-1
  3. Houston Texans: 4-13
  4. New York Jets: 4-13
  5. New York Giants: 4-13
  6. Carolina Panthers: 5-12
  7. New York Giants(via Bears)
  8. Atlanta Falcons: 7-10
  9. Denver Broncos: 7-10
  10. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
  11. Washington Football Team: 7-10
  12. Minnesota Vikings: 8-9
  13. Cleveland Browns: 8-9
  14. Baltimore Ravens: 8-9
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: 9-8
  18. New Orleans Saints: 9-8
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: 9-8
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7-1
  21. New England Patriots: 10-7
  22. Las Vegas Raiders: 10-7
  23. Arizona Cardinals: 11-6
  24. Dallas Cowboys: 12-5
  25. Cincinnati Bengals: 10-7*
  26. Miami Dolphins (via 49ers)
  27. Buffalo Bills: 11-6*
  28. Detroit Lions (via Rams)
  29. Kansas City Chiefs: 12-5*
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 13-4*
  31. Tennessee Titans: 12-5*
  32. Green Bay Packers: 13-4*

* = Remaining playoff teams

AFC East Rumors: Jets, Cunningham, McCourty, Dolphins

The Jets wasted no time in 2019 when wide receiver Braxton Berrios was waived by the Patriots just prior to the 2019 NFL season. The fourth-year player from the University of Miami was tabbed early in his Jets’ tenure as Jamison Crowder‘s back up in the slot, but Rich Cimini, of ESPN, details how Berrios’s effectiveness running and returning the ball could net him a bigger contract than his fellow slot receivers.

The first-team All Pro return man hits free agency this offseason and it’ll be interesting to see how those talks play out.

Here are a few more notes on the AFC East, starting with another item out of the Tri-State area:

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer has recognized the Eagles’ director of player personnel, Ian Cunningham, as a potential future general manager. The Jets, specifically, have tried twice to bring him on, as he and Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas are both products of the Ozzie Newsome tree from their time with the Ravens.
  • As the Patriots’ season came to an end with last night’s blow out loss to the Bills, ESPN’s Mike Reiss brings forth the question of Devin McCourty‘s future. The New England mainstay has been a lynchpin of the Patriots’ defense for 12 years. But, at age 34 with an expiring contract, what does the future hold for the Boston-based twin.
  • Cornerback Xavien Howard put enough pressure on the Dolphins in August that they restructured his contract with a few rewarding incentives. Howard made sure to cash out. Howard added to his salary $1MM for making the Pro Bowl and another $1MM for playing at least 90% of Miami’s defensive snaps. Barry Jackson, of the Miami Herald, details the situation in his Sports Buzz column.

Bears Request Reggie McKenzie Interview

The Bears have requested an interview with Dolphins senior personnel executive Reggie McKenzie for their GM vacancy (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB). This marks McKenzie’s first GM interview since he was fired by the Raiders in December 2018.

After several years as an NFL linebacker, McKenzie for the Packers’ front office from 1994 through 2012. After that, he was hired as the Raiders’ GM, inheriting a team with an awful cap situation and depleted draft capital. McKenzie was not perfect, but he did manage to turn that club into a playoff team. Then, prior to the 2018 season, new head coach Jon Gruden wrestled away much of his control, shaking up the roster by trading superstar Khalil Mack to the Bears and shedding other veterans.

McKenzie made some of his best moves in the 2014 draft and did hit on some of his bigger free agency deals, leading the Raiders to a 12-4 2016 with a playoff appearance to snap their long-standing drought. McKenzie earned executive of the year acclaim for his role in that 2016 turnaround. He’s spent the last two years in the Dolphins’ front office where the jury is still out on Chris Grier‘s performance.

Here’s the full rundown of the Bears’ search, via PFR’s tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Searches Starting To Come Into Focus

As the playoffs begin, some teams are narrowing in on their preferred targets. Some teams don’t need to worry about the playoffs because their candidate isn’t participating, while others may just be waiting until their candidate’s season is over.

Jason La Canfora, of CBS Sports, reported that former Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores is considered the favorite to get the Texans’ open head coaching position. He suggests that firing David Culley may have been a reaction to Flores’s surprising availability. Both firings came as a shock to NFL media, so it’s not outrageous to assume that the Texans saw Flores get cut loose and decided to make a bold move of their own.

Flores and Texans’ general manager Nick Caserio worked together as scouts in the Patriots’ system. Flores won eight of his final nine games in Miami this year, showing a promising potential. Not to mention that Flores was a factor in Deshaun Watson waiving his no-trade clause for the Dolphins earlier this year, before that deal fell through. The Texans have other candidates, but Flores has interviewed with the Bears and will continue to be a target for other teams, so Houston will likely want to secure their target sooner, rather than later.

Tom Pelissero, of NFL Network, reported that Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is looking like the favorite to replace Vic Fangio in Denver. This situation is a little more fraught. The connections aren’t quite clear. Obviously Quinn’s resume speaks for itself as he made it to the Super Bowl with Atlanta and has helped develop an impressive, young Cowboys’ defense, but the Broncos just fired a defensive-minded coach in Fangio and it’s a bit surprising to see them double-down on that philosophy.

There’s also the issue that, unlike Flores, Quinn isn’t currently available. He hasn’t even interviewed with any teams. Even when he does, it seems those teams may be in competition with his current employer. La Canfora put out a report that Dallas holds Quinn in such high regard that they might be willing to move on from current head coach Mike McCarthy in order to secure Quinn as his successor.

There’s plenty of moves to be had and plenty of time for it all to play out. Be sure to follow all our updates on the 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Dolphins Expected To Stick With QB Tua Tagovailoa

While rumors will always persist, it sounds like the Dolphins are going to stick with their current QB. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be the Dolphins starting quarterback for the 2022 season.

[RELATED: Dolphins GM Chris Grier On Deshaun Watson, Tua Tagovailoa]

According to the writer, the organization has “significant” belief in the former fifth-overall pick. The front office will no longer pursue a top-end QB, which would seemingly take them out of the running for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, who the organization has been connected to for the better part of a year. While the team’s new head coach is expected to “evaluate every facet of the football team, including the QB,” the hope is that the new HC will continue to help with Tagovailoa’s development (vs. pushing for a replacement).

Rapoport adds the caveat that the plan is “barring some sort of unforeseen occurrence,” like a “high-profile QB demanding a trade to the Dolphins.” This is an interesting distinction; the franchise won’t pursue a top QB unless that top QB explicitly says he wants to play in Miami. This could indicate that the report is merely posturing by the Dolphins front office.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter provides a bit more context (on Twitter), noting that the firing of Brian Flores was what ultimately “diminished” the Dolphins’ chances of acquiring Watson. According to Schefter, Flores was one of Watson’s main proponents, while owner Stephen Ross was on Team Tua. However, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com pushes back at this notion, tweeting that he’s heard that Ross was “obsessed” with acquiring the Texans QB.

Tagovailoa dealt with injuries once again in 2021, but he still managed to start 12 of his 13 games. The Dolphins went 7-5 in those 12 starts, and the 23-year-old finished the season having completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 2,653 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Request To Interview Rams’ Thomas Brown

One of the more interesting names to surface in this year’s head coaching market, Rams’ running backs coach/assistant head coach Thomas Brown has been targeted as a candidate by the Miami Dolphins. Tom Pelissero, of NFL Network, broke the news in a tweet that compares him to a young Mike Tomlin. As far as I can tell, this is the first time Brown’s name has been brought up for a job this high in the coaching ranks.

Brown had a short career in the NFL after being taken in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. As a young running back, Brown saw his rookie season end before it could even get going when a horse collar tackle landed him on IR. He never ended up finding his way onto the field after that.

Not one to sit dormant, Brown went back to his alma mater and became a strength and conditioning coach for the Georgia Bulldogs. He decided to take a step into coaching accepting the running backs coaching position at UT Chattanooga. He began to progress through the college football ranks as he spent a season each at Marshall, Wisconsin, and Georgia as a running backs coach. He followed Mark Richt to Miami where he spent three seasons before taking one last college job at South Carolina. Brown even rose to the title of offensive coordinator at Miami, although play calling duties remained with Coach Richt. Along all these stops, Brown mentored future NFL players, coaching Melvin Gordon, Corey Clement, Dare Ogunbowale, and Derek Watt at Wisconsin, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb at Georgia, Gus Edwards, Travis Homer, and DeeJay Dallas at Miami, and Tavien Feaster at South Carolina. In his lone season with Gordon, Gordon finished 42 yards short of breaking Barry Sanders’ single-season rushing record.

After that last season in South Carolina, Brown accepted the running backs coaching position for the Rams, helping them to cope with the loss of Todd Gurley by utilizing the three-headed attack of Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and Malcolm Brown. This season, Brown was reunited with Michel and, despite the loss of Akers for the season, has led a fairly talented running backs group.

Brown is known for developing a trust with his players who would run through walls for him. He’s an advocate for his players and takes responsibility for their development outside the game as much as in it, as was displayed in a clip from HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” in which he spoke to his position group about the racial issues plaguing the nation.

I don’t expect this to be the last time time we see Brown’s name come up for a coaching job and I wouldn’t even be surprised to see him nab the Miami job. Get to know the name Thomas Brown. The 35-year old is only beginning to make his name in the coaching circuit.

Culley’s Departure Doesn’t Affect Watson

According to multiple sources, the departure of former Texans’ head coach David Culley has no effect on where the franchise stands with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Watson’s issue was never with the coaching staff and Culley, Watson’s issue was with the ownership. 

The Texans are hoping to trade the 3-time Pro Bowler before the new league year starts on March 16. Watson holds a bit of power in the decision-making for the trade, as he holds a no-trade clause in his contract. Watson, in theory, must approve of his trade location and waive his no-trade clause for the chosen team, as he did with the Dolphins.

The Dolphins’ deal, which valued Watson at multiple first-round picks plus some ancillary picks, ended up falling through as Miami erred on the side of caution when they weren’t able to secure conditions attached to the picks as a safeguard against Watson’s possible discipline. Watson’s deposition is set to take place on February 22, with Watson not due in court until May 2. This makes Texans’ general manager Nick Caserio‘s job a bit more challenging, as the case on Watson will still loom over any potential deals.

Regardless, any head coach or offensive coordinator interviewing for Houston’s open positions should be aware that Watson is not part of the deal. Any coaching candidates will have to do their homework on Davis Mills instead.