Mike Tannenbaum

Executive Mike Tannenbaum Joins ESPN

It sounds like Mike Tannenbaum has officially left the Dolphins. The former executive is set to join ESPN as an analyst, as Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com relays. Besides appearing on NFL programming, Tannenbaum will also be participating in the network’s 2019 draft coverage on ESPN Radio.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity,” Tannenbaum told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I’ve always admired the people and professionals at ESPN, and I’m excited to be a part of the team.”

The Dolphins re-assigned the executive vice president of football operations back in January, and while he was still technically an employee for the past few months, he wasn’t expected to contribute to the team’s offseason plans. The move was considered to be “quiet sendoff” for the longtime front office executive, with Tannenbaum still receiving money for the final two years of his contract. General manager Chris Grier earned a promotion and will now oversee all football operations.

Tannenbaum spent more than a decade with the Jets organization, compiling a 57-55 regular season record and three playoff births during his seven years as general manager. Tannenbaum joined the Dolphins as a consultant in 2014, and he was soon hired in a front office role. Since he stepped into the football operations role in 2015, the Dolphins had a 29-35 record with only one playoff appearance.

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Latest On Dolphins, Mike Tannenbaum

The Dolphins re-assigned executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum earlier this week, and in turn promoted general manager Chris Grier to oversee the club’s personnel department. Tannenbaum won’t have any role in decision-making going forward, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, who adds Tannenbaum likely won’t be around when the draft occurs in April.

Although he’s still technically a member of the organization, Tannenbaum won’t be doing any more work for the Dolphins. Indeed, Salguero deems Tannenbaum’s re-assignment as a something of a “quiet sendoff” for the longtime front office executive. Grier will take over as Miami’s football czar, taking on authority he didn’t previously have as the club’s general manager. Tannenbaum, meanwhile, will continue to be paid for the remaining two years on his contract.

Grier, for his part, will not only oversee a roster in need of rebuilding, but is in the process of hiring a new head coach. Whomever the Dolphins select as their next head coach will report to Grier and not to owner Stephen Ross, reversing a setup Miami used when it employed Adam Gase. The Dolphins are interested in a number of candidates, including Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and — possibly — Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Dolphins Promote Chris Grier, Demote Mike Tannenbaum

Firing Adam Gase wasn’t the only major change the Dolphins made today. The team also announced they were promoting Chris Grier to oversee football operations while demoting Mike Tannebaum from that post, per Cameron Wolfe of ESPN (Twitter link).

Grier had been the GM but didn’t have decision making power and reported to Tannebaum, but those roles will now be reversed. Gase had contractual control over the 53-man roster during his tenure, but the new coach will have far less power. Whoever the new coach is will report to Grier and not to owner Stephen Ross like Gase did, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

While the Dolphins building was filled with internal drama and infighting, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets that Grier was the “one who remained above the fray, and could work with anyone”, which in part led to his promotion. Grier came up as a scout in the Patriots’ organization before he was hired by the Dolphins in 2000. He was promoted to the role of director of college scouting in 2007, and then to general manager in 2016.

It was reported last week that Tannebaum was on the way out, so his demotion isn’t a surprise. He’ll remain with the team for now in a lesser role, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he exited soon. With the team set to move on from Ryan Tannehill, Grier will have his hands full with finding a new head coach as well as a new franchise quarterback. It looks like a full-blown rebuild is in store for Miami.

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Latest On Adam Gase, Dolphins

We have heard some conflicting reports about Dolphins head coach Adam Gase‘s future with the club over the course of the last week or so. On December 26, we heard that Gase is expected to remain in Miami in 2019, but just yesterday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that owner Stephen Ross is definitely considering moving on from Gase.

Today, Rapoport reiterated that Gase could indeed be coaching his last game with the Dolphins this afternoon (video link). But Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that both Gase and GM Chris Grier are likely to be retained. And, while it has been expected that the club would at least move on from vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, JLC suggests that Tannenbaum could simply be given another role within the organization.

Grier has been with the Dolphins since 2000, and while he holds the GM title, he does not have final authority over football decisions. La Canfora indicates that Grier’s voice could be afforded greater weight in 2019, as owner Stephen Ross has long been fond of him, and if Tannenbaum is fired or moved, Grier may not have a personnel executive above him. After all, since Gase is the one who has final say over the 53-man roster, it seems unlikely that the Dolphins could keep Gase and attract a high-level executive from another club (like Vikings assistant GM George Paton), so Gase and Grier could be calling the shots next season. The two men reportedly work well together.

The lack of top-tier coaching talent in this year’s cycle is one reason why Gase could stay, along with the fact that Gase has done a reasonably good job considering what he’s had to work with. La Canfora writes that Ross remains high on University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh — despite Ross’ public remarks that he would not pursue Harbaugh — and while Harbaugh is expected to stay in Ann Arbor next year, sources close to him believe he will return to the NFL at some point. If that happens, Ross will be interested.

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East Notes: Eagles, Sproles, Dolphins, Redskins

The Eagles will have plenty of roster decisions to make heading into the 2019 season. Two of the names at the top of the list include veteran running Darren Sproles and oft-injured linebacker Jordan Hicks, Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com writes.

After originally declaring this as his final season, Sproles has looked like a vintage version of himself, leading many to wonder if he would come back for his 15th NFL season. One person who would love to have the pass-catching back return is Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition” for 2019, Pederson said. “He’s a great leader. he works hard, he’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”

He didn’t offer the same ringing endorsement for Hicks. Despite being a noted playmaker who ranks third on the team in tackles in 2018, the Texas Longhorns product has missed 21 games in his first four seasons, including four this season.

“I’ll worry about the roster in the spring when I get to the spring,” Pederson said. “Jordan’s been a big part of our success here and he helped us win the game last week and he’ll help us win another on Sunday.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Sticking with the Eagles, thanks once again to Nick Foles, the team is currently in the fight for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Should they make it, there will undoubtedly be a contingent of fans hoping Philly will bring back the veteran in 2019. However, that is unlikely to happen, writes Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Brandt. With Foles on the books for $20MM next year, it is much more likely the Eagles do not exercise his option and make him a free agent. If he goes on another magical run in January, however, every option has to be on the table.
  • Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is not expected back with the team in 2019, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. The move would end his four-year run with the team. Head coach Adam Gase is expected to be retained. Salguero also has heard a few of the names as possible replacements include Dan Marino and Dawn Aponte.
  • Following the release of D.J. Swearinger, one of the Redskins’ top needs this season has quickly become safety, Ben Standig of NBC Sports writes. Coupled with the potential departure of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Redskins would be down both of their safeties heading into 2019. Should they address the issue in the draft, the team could target Alabama’s Deionte Thompson or Virginia’s Juan Thornhill, two of the top-ranked prospects at free and strong safety, respectively.

Dolphins Will Not Pursue Jim Harbaugh

A report linking another AFC East team to a Jim Harbaugh pursuit emerged, and a second NFL owner is denying that is the case.

Like Jets chairman Christopher Johnson, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross publicly shot down Harbaugh rumors. Ross told the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson he will not make a push for Harbaugh to replace Adam Gase, who is not a certainty to be fired after this season. Ross is a Michigan alum and would prefer Harbaugh stay in Ann Arbor, per Jackson (Twitter link).

This does not, however, mean Gase is safe. The Dolphins are exploring big-picture changes, with those in power attempting to solidify their positions in the event Ross restructures the franchise’s decision-making hierarchy. Another season featuring Gase and executive VP Mike Tannenbaum working together would surprise SI.com’s Albert Breer, who adds Miami is likely to make a change “at some level.”

While it’s not certain which way Ross is leaning here, Breer adds that GM Chris Grier would have a better chance of staying if Gase is retained. Grier has been with the Dolphins since 2000.

As for Gase, the third-year HC said he will not lobby to keep his job. Gase and Ross have not discussed his future, per Jackson. Las Vegas had the Dolphins pegged as a frontrunner for the 2019 No. 1 pick at this season’s outset, but Gase has the team at 7-8. He ended the Dolphins’ lengthy playoff drought in 2016 but has a sub-.500 record since, though many of those games did not feature Ryan Tannehill.

Dolphins Eyeing Major Changes?

While the Dolphins still have a chance at making the postseason, there are whispers that some major members of the organization could still lose their jobs. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes that coaches and front office staff are quietly trying to “solidify their power” in case owner Stephen Ross decides to make major changes this offseason. Sources tell Salguero that vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Adam Gase are among those on the hot seat.

Among Ross’s top trio of football executives, Salguero says Tannenbaum is the most likely to get fired. The 49-year-old joined the organization back in 2015, and he’s been a major “facilitator of what the Dolphins have decided their philosophy will be,” which includes fielding a competitive team while building for the future. General manager Chris Grier reports to Tannenbaum, and the executive “oversees and coordinates the effort of football operations and administration.”

Working against Tannenbaum has been the team’s middling record since he joined the organization; the team is 23-23 since he took on a major role, and the team’s future outlook isn’t all that encouraging. Working in his favor is his relationship with Dolphins vice chairman Matt Higgins, who has the ear of Ross. The two have a relationship dating back to their tenure with the Jets, and Higgins has been Tannenbaum’s “most powerful ally and advocate” in Miami.

Meanwhile, Gase has refused to publicly blame injuries or talent for the team’s 7-7 record. However, sources tell Salguero that the head coach is quietly attributing his team’s performance to injuries, and that has been one of Gase’s main reasons for why he should ultimately keep his job. Gase has the support of both Grier and team vice chairman, president and CEO Tom Garfinkel, and he also has a good relationship with Tannenbaum.

Unfortunately for Gase, he doesn’t have a similar relationship with Higgins, who some believe may be pushing for a replacement. Salguero also points out that Ross wouldn’t be afraid to replace the head coach, even though Gase is still owed millions of dollars.

The Dolphins, who currently sit as the AFC’s ninth seed, will face off against the Jaguars and Bills in their final two regular season contests.

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AFC Draft Rumors: Dolphins, Steelers, Ravens

After trading down a few weeks ago, could the Dolphins trade back up? Miami will consider moving up from No. 13 in order to grab either Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott or UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, multiple sources tell Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. Moving up from No. 13 to the top ten can be pricey, but top exec Mike Tannenbaum has said that he would be open to such a move for the right player.

Here’s are the latest NFL Draft rumors out of the AFC:

  • The Steelers, currently slated to pick 25th overall in this year’s draft, are unlikely to trade up, but moving down remains on the table, general manager Kevin Colbert said today (Twitter link via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
  • In the wake of the two major trades at the top of the draft, there’s a chance that Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil will still be on the board at No. 6 for the Ravens. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun explores that scenario, examining whether it would make sense for the club to pass up a top defensive prospect to fortify the left tackle spot.
  • The Chargers are expected to select a tight end at some point during this week’s draft — it’s just a matter of when. We heard last week that the team is considering Ohio State’s Nick Vannett, and Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune takes a closer look at the young tight end as a potential target for the Bolts.
  • Clemson linebacker B.J. Goodson met with 15 teams in total, via either a pre-draft visit or private workout, and the Texans were one of those teams, writes Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Dolphins and Jets are among the teams that have shown interest in University of Minnesota cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), who suggests that Boddy-Calhoun will likely either be a day three pick or an undrafted free agent.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC East Notes: Tannehill, Campbell, Whaley

With the Senior Bowl wrapped up and all four AFC East teams in offseason mode as Super Bowl 50 nears, let’s look at the latest news coming out of the division, starting with the Dolphins.

  • Ryan Tannehill‘s inconsistency notwithstanding, Mike Tannenbaum‘s seen enough from the fifth-year quarterback to avoid spending a draft pick or signing a free agent for legitimate competition, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. This isn’t too surprising. Miami gave Tannehill $77MM in new money last May to be their franchise quarterback, and ending a year that began with playoff expectations at 6-10, the team has other pressing needs.
  • The Dolphins have quite a few issues to sort out over the coming offseason, but chief among them will be overhauling their linebacking unit, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Kelvin Sheppard proved enough at middle linebacker, but per Salguero, the club is aware that it needs an upgrade at that spot. Further, Miami is likely to replace one of its two outside linebackers, with Koa Misi being the most obvious candidate to be cut given his 2016 cap charge of roughly $4.88MM (the Dolphins could save $4.3MM by making him a post-June 1 release). For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus graded Misi as the highest of Miami’s three ‘backers (No. 21), while Jelani Jenkins and Sheppard rated Nos. 38 and 84, respectively, among 97 qualifiers.
  • Although interim coach Dan Campbell reportedly did not take losing out to Adam Gase with the Dolphins well, the team’s interim coach last season still could have joined Gase’s staff but instead chose to join the Saints’ staff as assistant head coach/tight ends coach, Jackson writes. The Dolphins, however, prevented multiple teams from hiring special teams coach Darren Rizzi.
  • The Bears denied outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt to speak with Gase about becoming the Dolphins’ defensive line coach, Jackson reports, but Hurtt coming to Miami once his contract expires after this season could still be on the table. A former Miami Hurricanes assistant, Hurtt would be an attractive option, per Jackson, if the Fins’ front falters under Terrell Williams, who got the job after Chicago chose to block Hurtt’s path.
  • One GM told Lisa Wilson of the Buffalo News the Bills are trapped in “8-8 limbo” without certainty at quarterback and little money to spend this offseason. Another informed the reporter he applauded the team’s patience regarding Doug Whaley and resisting the urge to start over as many teams do in the Bills’ situation. Owners of the longest NFL playoff drought, the Bills are currently $3.4MM over the salary cap, per OverTheCap, but have strung together their most wins in a two-year span (17) since 1999-2000, the former season representing Buffalo’s last playoff advancement. Tyrod Taylor will also only count $3.13MM against the Bills’ cap next season.
  • Whaley also justified bringing in embattled veteran DC Rob Ryan as an assistant to help enhance Rex Ryan‘s productivity while helping unite the brothers against their critics. “If you look at it, Rob and Rex, they’ve had some troubles,” Whaley told media, including Wilson. “Their name is kind of like, ‘Hey, they’re the Ryans, what happened to their defense?’ So why not bring in your brother and try to reclaim that name? That’s the way I look at it. And who’s going to have your back more than your brother? I think it’s a positive. I know it’s a positive. Everybody in the building feels it’s a positive. It’s a positive for Rex, too. It can help him expand his horizons as the head coach and get into some other things.”

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report

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).

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