Tannenbaum’s expected departure could spark overhaul of Miami front office

Getty Images

The weekend report that Dolphins V.P. of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is all but certain to be fired is if anything becoming more certain as Week 17 approaches. So if/when Tannenbaum goes, what happens next?

At this point, no one knows. Chris Grier serves as the G.M., but he doesn’t have true G.M. powers. As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald explained it over the weekend, coach Adam Gase holds the contractual final say over the team.

Salguero also suggested that the Dolphins should offer Gase an extension and a raise, along with a reeling in of his authority. And that may become a necessity, given what the Dolphins could be planning for the future.

Per a league source, Vikings assistant G.M. George Paton and Bills assistant G.M. Joe Schoen are among those who could be interviewed for a position in Miami, possibly for the same title Tannenbaum holds. But if Miami isn’t able to offer a new employee control over the football operation, the Vikings and Bills (and any other team with a current front-office employee under contract) would be able to block the process.

That’s why the Dolphins need to wrest power from Gase, either voluntarily or involuntarily, if the goal is to hire a high-level executive from another NFL franchise. And that gives Gase plenty of leverage over the team, since Gase sacrificing his say becomes the key both to keeping him and to adding a high-end candidate, regardless of whether the title is G.M. or V.P. of football operations.

The wild-card in all of this becomes Grier. After the retirement of Ozzie Newsome, Grier will become the only minority G.M. left in the NFL, and there soon will be plenty of external pressure placed on the league both to rectify the situation and to not exacerbate it. The league could then turn that pressure toward the Dolphins, and the Dolphins may feel compelled to find a way to keep Grier, even if the new head of football operations (whatever the title) wants to hire his own staff.

Looming over everything is the lingering belief that owner Stephen Ross would be interested in hiring Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Before hiring Harbaugh, however, Ross would have to: (1) fire Gase; (2) conduct an inclusive coaching search that satisfies the Rooney Rule; (3) work out compensation with the Ravens in the event Harbaugh is hired; and (4) negotiate a contract with Harbaugh. Absent deft and discreet back-channeling, Ross may have to pull the plug on a coach he’d otherwise prefer to keep and then hope that Harbaugh can eventually be landed.

However it plays out, the expected termination of Tannenbaum will become the first in what ultimately could become a messy pile of dominoes that will land Lord knows where. Which basically summarizes the state of the Dolphins over most of the past decade.

18 responses to “Tannenbaum’s expected departure could spark overhaul of Miami front office

  1. So, another situation where the GM job is offered but the candidate is forced to keep the incumbent HC? Those forced marriages rarely if ever work out.

  2. what?
    Grier currently is in charge of acquiring players, as he runs the draft and scouting department. However, Gase has final say over who makes the 53-man active roster and has to report only to Ross.

  3. What’s the hold up in dumping Tannenbaum? This is the part of Ross I don’t care for. As for a GM go get your guy and offer full control. Once you have that you offer Gase the choice to stay under those terms or go.. his choice. With a .500 W/L record after 3 years he should be glad he got that. Get it done and get to work rebuilding.

  4. Ross has proven to be an incompetent owner. The past ten years proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    No reason to believe that will change…..

  5. Given Ross’ football decision making history, he’ll screw this up. It’s painful being a Dolphins fan under his ownership.

    Alonzo Highsmith is the direction Ross should go.

  6. Funny how the world works…Ross is a billionaire and understands real-estate but can’t make simple football decisions. Tannebaum getting a GM job was nepotism at its finest. Chris Grier is noticeably better than Tannebaum and thats why the Rooney rule matters.

  7. I like Chris Grier and Coach Gase and glad to keep both. The key is building an offensive line that is young and can stay healthy. Run the ball! Get first downs and play complementary football. One of the fastest ways to improve the defense!

  8. bassplucker says:
    December 28, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    So, another situation where the GM job is offered but the candidate is forced to keep the incumbent HC? Those forced marriages rarely if ever work out.

    Welcome to the football world of Stephen Ross where backwards is the norm!

  9. Gase has to go…he has done nothing and does not deserve the control he has. John Harbaugh would be a great hire. He may turn down Baltimore’s extension offer.

  10. If Ross is smart? ( maybe a stretch!) – He boots Tannenbaum & Burke, let’s Gase finish his contract & keeps Rizzi and the GM Grier.
    He forces Gase to hire back Bowles @ DC & pick up a competent OC to call plays.
    He gives Gase that final year to showcase his potential for other teams knowing there will
    be no contract extension pending.
    Cut Tannehill & gut the roster – let the new OC build a better than average OL around Tunsil.
    The Defense will take more than 1 season to address – so Bowles will have his work cut out for him BUT if anyone can improve a 30th ranked Defense in less than a season it’s HIM!

  11. The problem with the Dolphins under Ross year after year after year is putting band-aids on broken legs believing they are close to being a contender, they are not even close!

    1. First, hire a football head of operations (GM) (someone with experience)
    2. Let the new GM hire the head coach
    3. Let the new head coach pick his assistant
    4. Let the new GM make the personal decisions

    No more forced marriages between proven failures, Ross has never learned going back to Ireland, Sparano & Dawn Aponte.

    Personally i wish he would just sell the team, he is completely lost as an NFL owner, its well proven at this point!

  12. beachsidejames says:
    December 28, 2018 at 2:05
    . As for a GM go get your guy and offer full control. Once you have that you offer Gase the choice to stay under those terms or go.. his choice.

    And no one else could be HC besides Gase??
    Offer Gase the chance to stay?
    Your comments as usual make no sense whatsoever.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.