SBD/January 10, 2014/Franchises

Stephen Ross Ends Speculation, Promises New Dolphins GM To Have Roster Control

Ross said that he will lead the interviews for the Dolphins' next GM
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross on Thursday pledged to give the team's next GM "autonomous control over the roster and the draft," according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. The pledge followed "a week of speculation that Ross might strip his next GM of power." The new GM "will report directly to Ross," rather than Exec VP/Football Administration Dawn Aponte or coach Joe Philbin, "as some around the league feared." However, it "does not appear" that the next GM "will have power to fire either Aponte or Philbin." Ross "will lead the interviews" for the next GM. Former Chiefs President & GM Carl Peterson has "agreed to serve as an adviser during the process." However, Peterson "will not have a role with the organization once the next general manager is picked" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/10). In West Palm Beach, Andrew Abramson notes Aponte until recently was a "mostly anonymous figure in charge of the team's salary cap," but has long been "highly respected around the league." Now she is "expected to have a key role" with Ross in hiring a new GM and "could wind up directly supervising that person." Aponte "could stay in her current role or could become a 'football czar,' the position held by Bill Parcells when he joined the team" in '07 (PALM BEACH POST, 1/10). Also in West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes the next Dolphins GM "will have to walk a tightrope." The Dolphins "are at risk of further dysfunction while newcomers try to blend into a business in disarray." The five years in succession "without playoff participation or even a winning record have turned Miami into an NFL inconsequentiality." The turmoil from the bullying situation "turned the Dolphins into a laughingstock." The team's brand "is tarnished" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/10).

GET TO KNOW ME: In Miami, Armando Salguero writes if the new Dolphins GM "must mesh with" Aponte and Philbin, then they "should meet during the process so that both sides can vet, inspect, screen, assess, scrutinize, and evaluate the other." For Ross, who "reads everything about his Dolphins and is aware of the well chronicled mess, finding someone who can mesh" with Aponte and Philbin is "very important." The Dolphins have "fostered a circumstance whereby the past GM had clashes with two consecutive coaches." The team "cannot get it wrong on this issue again," so "everyone involved should get to know each other before they get to work with each other." Ross "wants people working together and [singing] kumbaya in harmony." But two of those people are "being pulled in from disparate searches by different parties" with Ross and Peterson searching for the GM and Aponte and Philbin searching for the offensive coordinator (MIAMIHERALD.com, 1/10).

FRANCHISE FLAWED? In Ft. Lauderdale, Omar Kelly writes observers have been "waiting five years for Ross' business savvy, the real estate expertise that made him a billionaire four times over, to pay off for the Dolphins, a franchise lacking a solid foundation." The "problem is our wait might be in vain because the last GM Ross committed himself to wasted time and money." Ross' GM search begins "with a laundry list of qualified candidates, but none of them will have the juice they need to make franchise altering decisions." What the Dolphins franchise "doesn't need is another failed regime, another era of finger pointing, more rounds of mismatched pieces that don't fit the puzzle the head coach is putting together." What the team needs is "synergy, and Ross better find it" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/10).
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