Candidates still confused by Dolphins GM search

Two candidates for the Miami Dolphins general manager job said they remain confused about exactly how the power structure within the team will work after going through initial interviews. Despite a public statement from owner Stephen Ross that the new GM will report to him, the private view during interviews was not so clear, the candidates said.

That has led to uneasiness among those candidates, who say that other candidates they have talked to expressed the same feeling.

“Maybe they’re waiting for the second interview to lay it all out, but they were completely non-committal about how it was going to work,” one candidate said Monday. “I honestly don’t know if you answer to the owner or to (Vice President of Football Administration) Dawn Aponte. It’s all really unclear.”

The Dolphins have identified current assistant GM Brian Gaine, Ray Farmer, Lake Dawson, Omar Khan, Brian Xanders, Jason Licht and Dennis Hickey as candidates who have been interviewed for the job. The search is currently on hold because Ross is traveling to London and China on business.

At the root of the question over structure is that Aponte has control of contract negotiations and, ultimately, the salary cap. Even if Aponte is considered on equal ground with the incoming GM and returning coach Joe Philbin, there is a perception of future problems.

“If you have three people all at the same level, you’re going to have one taking sides and that’s going to create problems,” said a candidate, who also perceived that that Aponte and Philbin are politically aligned. That problem came to light after the Dolphins and former General Manager Jeff Ireland cut ties.

It has been reported that late in the season Aponte overhead Ireland complaining about the coaching staff and then relayed those quotes to Philbin.

The bottom line is that, as of right now, the situation seems problematic.

“You just don’t know what you’re walking into at this point. If you’re going to take that job, you’re going to want some protection because if they fire Philbin after next season, they could bring in some experienced head coach or a guy from college and they’re going to want a lot of control,” a candidate said.

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