The Miami Dolphins hired former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum to oversee the front office, the team announced Tuesday. His title will be vice president of football operations, and this is an interesting move for several reasons.
This move strengthens Miami's front office. Tannenbaum, whose Jets teams reached back-to-back AFC title games following the 2009 and 2010 seasons, has 16 years of front-office experience in the AFC East -- a division the Dolphins haven't won since 2008. Miami must close the gap with the New England Patriots, and Tannenbaum's knowledge certainly cannot hurt in that quest.
But this move makes you wonder: Did the Dolphins ever truly believe in first-year general manager Dennis Hickey?
Miami went through an extensive search last year, and Hickey was not its first choice. Multiple candidates turned down offers from the Dolphins or declined to be interviewed. Some candidates didn't like that they had to stick with head coach Joe Philbin, as opposed to bringing in their own coach. Others felt the organization setup wasn't right.
In the end, the Dolphins landed Hickey -- and essentially made him the boss for one year before hiring a new boss to watch over him. Hickey will report directly to Tannenbaum -- but not the coaching staff. Philbin, along with Tannenbaum, will report directly to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Hickey's first-year record (8-8) was not a bad one. He found productive rookies Ja'Wuan James and Jarvis Landry in the draft. He also signed left tackle Branden Albert and starting safety Louis Delmas in free agency. There were some misses, but no general manager in the NFL has a perfect record. According to Tannenbaum, Hickey will keep final say on draft picks and personnel, but it will be a "collaborative effort."
Hickey now has an added layer above him in the front office. The pressure is on the general manager -- and many within the Dolphins' organization -- to produce a playoff season in 2015.