It's official - Jeff Ireland has been hired to be the new General Manager of the Miami Dolphins.
Here is an excerpt from the team-released statement regarding Ireland:
"The Miami Dolphins today named Jeff Ireland as their new general manager, effective immediately. Ireland joins the Dolphins after a seven-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys, including the past three as the team’s Vice President of College and Pro Scouting. In fact, of the 53 players on the current Cowboys team, which went 13-3 and won the NFC East in 2007, 38 were acquired over the last three years, including 12 of the club’s 22 starters.It's clear from his track record that Ireland is a top-tier personnel and talent evaluator. It is being reported that Ireland will begin his job immediately and not wait until after the draft. Rotoworld has also said that Miami may be required to send a late-round draft pick to Dallas in order for Ireland to work before the draft, since he is still under contract with the Cowboys. I'm not aware of the specifics of that arrangement, but it would be a blow to lose yet another draft pick in 2008. Miami is already without its fifth-round pick as a result of the Trent Green trade.
Prior to being elevated to his most recent role with the Cowboys in 2005, Ireland had served as national scout with Dallas since 2001, during which time he evaluated the top collegiate talent in the country. In his four years in that post, the Cowboys drafted four Pro Bowl performers in safety Roy Williams (D1, 2002), center Andre Gurode (D2a, 2002), cornerback Terence Newman (D1, 2003) and tight end Jason Witten (D3, 2003)."
With the new GM squarely in place, the decision regarding the head coach can now begin in earnest. I have a feeling that Ireland and Parcells covet Cowboys offensive line coach Tony Sparano, but they will have to move quickly to get him. The Falcons plan to interview him for their vacant head coaching position, and teams can only interview assistants of other teams that are in the playoffs during their bye week or after their season has ended. Other candidates include Maurice Carthon and Todd Haley of the Cardinals and Romeo Crennel of the Browns. I've heard that Crennel actually tops Parcell's list of possible candidates, but Miami would likely have to give up draft picks to get him. In my opinion, that is simply out of the question - he's not worth that kind of investment.
Another option, of course, would be to keep Cam Cameron. I'm not totally set against that idea, and it's definitely a better option than bringing in someone else only for the sake of change. However, Profootballtalk is reporting whispers that Cameron has already been fired. If that's true, then hopefully an interview is arranged with Sparano, pronto.