Dennis Hickey is the Miami Dolphins‘ new GM. Many people are upset about the hire, and these are mostly the same people that begged for the firing of former GM Jeff Ireland. With the hiring now done and over with (no re-do’s!) let’s take a look at the immediate challenges that Hickey will face as the Dolphins’ GM.
In the next few weeks, the Dolphins should finally be finding out the results of the Wells’ Report. Hickey and the Dolphins will need to decide what to do with the players involved, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, and possibly bring down discipline upon OL coach Jim Turner, depending on what information the report uncovers.
Incognito, who is a free agent this offseason, will likely only meet with Hickey once, and that is to tell him that he won’t be back with the team next season. Martin, on the other hand, is a bit harder to forecast.
The now third-year player is under contract for 2014, but it is unclear if he will be welcomed back to the team or even be able to play in the NFL again, as he has shown that he cannot handle the mental abuse that being in the NFL puts you through. Martin, a grown man, allowed himself to be “bullied” by another grown man. That is the exact opposite of how an NFL player should carry himself.
On top of that mess, Hickey will have to deal with 16 in-house pending free agents, including 10 starters. Of these free agents are men such as Paul Soliai, Randy Starks and Brent Grimes, all top players at their positions last year that the Dolphins would be wise to retain. Inking Grimes and Soliai and/or Starks may be the most important task of this offseason if Hickey wants his team to have a respectable defense.
After that, Hickey will have to lure good free agents to a Miami team that has been portrayed as dysfunctional. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lured free agents such as Vincent Jackson and Dashon Goldson during Hickey’s time there, so Hickey seems to be able to reel them in once hooked, something that Stephen Ross has shown in the past week that he has trouble doing. But will these free agents want to join a “dysfunctional” franchise? Two words, money talks. Ross has money.
Hickey will be tasked with rebuilding an offensive line that was rocked by the “bullying” scandal, has four starters that will be free agents, and gave up the most sacks in franchise history last year. He will be wise to acquire at least two new starters through free agency, then load up on talented o-lineman in the NFL Draft.
Ah the NFL Draft, another area where Hickey will soon have to prove his prowess. The Dolphins’ draft picks played less snaps in 2013 than any other draft class in the NFL. Whether it was the coaches or the GM responsible for this is unclear, but fans were not happy about the lack of snaps, especially from third overall pick Dion Jordan, and it is another reason why Ireland was pressured into leaving the team.
Ireland’s draft struggles are something that every Dolphins fan will highlight when criticizing him. If Hickey doesn’t want his career to run the same path as Ireland’s, he would do well to do his homework on the zone blocking scheme that Miami runs on offense and provide the right offensive lineman so the Dolphins can finally experience the success that they are so close to, yet so far from every year.