MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins and general manager Jeff Ireland parted ways Tuesday afternoon, ending a six-year tenure with the team -- including the past four in which he had final say on all personnel decisions.
A club source said the team had planned to strip Ireland of much, if not all, his decision-making power on personnel. Owner Stephen Ross intended to bring in someone with personnel powers over Ireland. That was not acceptable to Ireland, who did not want to stay under those circumstances.
The Dolphins did not name a replacement. Assistant GM Brian Gaine and former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli are among possible candidates, though the team did not indicate who would be considered. The Dolphins want to keep Gaine but want to bring in someone who would be over him in the team hierarchy.
"I want to personally thank Jeff for his hard work and dedication in building the team over the past six years," Ross said in a statement. "After a series of discussions, we both felt that it was in our mutual best interest to part ways. Jeff was a loyal and dedicated member of the Dolphins and we wish him and his family nothing but the best."
Ireland, in a statement, said: "I've spent the last six years with the best organization in football. Steve and I came to an agreement that the best thing moving forward for all parties would be to part ways. I'd like to thank Steve for all his support and kindness. I've had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people during this time and I'd like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart."
Ross told Ireland several weeks ago that his job was safe, but Ross was unhappy about the team missing the playoffs and began re-thinking that decision.
There was also growing tension between Ireland and Joe Philbin, according to a source. The front office believed the coaching staff could have gotten more out of the players. The coaching staff believed there were deficiencies in the personnel provided by Ireland.
Ireland awarded more than $200 million in contracts during free agency last offseason, including hefty deals for receiver Mike Wallace and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. But the Dolphins missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
The Dolphins went 7-9, 6-10, 7-9 and 8-8 in the four seasons when Ireland had full control on personnel decisions.
Ross has decided to keep Philbin as coach, according to a source. The Dolphins fired offensive coordinator Mike Sherman on Monday.
(c)2014 The Miami Herald
Visit The Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services