Five Dolphins general manager candidates

January, 8, 2014
Jan 8
8:00
AM ET
On Tuesday, we listed five potential Miami Dolphins candidates for offensive coordinators following the firing of Mike Sherman. One day later, Miami parted ways with general manager Jeff Ireland after six mostly unsuccessful seasons.

Based on what ESPN.com’s Dolphins page is hearing behind the scenes, here are five general manager candidates to keep an eye on with Miami:

1. Tom Gamble, Philadelphia Eagles Director of Pro Personnel

Analysis: Definitely keep an eye on Gamble, who has done a good job helping build playoff teams in San Francisco and Philadelphia. I’m hearing Gamble is a favorite of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, which will go a long way in this process. Gamble is the right-hand man to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and has strong ties to Philadelphia. It would take a lot to convince Gamble to leave. But an opportunity to run his own team in Miami as general manager for the first time in his career might do the trick.

2. Mike Tannenbaum

Analysis: Many Dolphins fans may scoff at the idea of a former New York Jets general manager running the Dolphins. But Ross, who lives in New York, has an unexplained affinity for “Gang Green.” Tannenbaum was the Jets’ GM from 2006-2012 and has plenty of experience. He’s only been out of the NFL for one year and knows the AFC East division well. Tannenbaum is not considered a hot name in league circles right now, which could work in Miami’s favor if interested.

3. Scott Pioli

Analysis: Pioli is a Bill Belichick disciple with a good track record of success with the New England Patriots. However, Pioli had mostly a bad stint as general manager with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was fired after four seasons. Similar to Tannenbaum, Pioli is not considered a hot name for general manager openings. That could work in Miami’s favor if the Dolphins want to make a run at Pioli.

4. Eric Mangini, San Francisco 49ers consultant

Analysis: I would be surprised if Mangini gets the GM gig, considering he’s never served in that role and most of his experience is in coaching. However, Mangini makes the list because his name continues to come up behind the scenes. I’m hearing Ross likes Mangini. He also has a strong rapport with Dawn Aponte, who is Miami’s lead contract negotiator and has a lot of power within the Dolphins’ organization. Anyone who has both Ross and Aponte on their side cannot be ignored in the Dolphins’ search. If not at GM, it’s possible that Mangini could get another role in the front office if both sides can find the right fit.

5. Brian Gaine, Dolphins assistant general manager

Analysis: Gaine is the only legitimate, in-house candidate for Miami. However, he’s strictly a fallback plan. The Dolphins like Gaine, who has done a decent job working behind Ireland. But I’m told the Dolphins are looking to make a splash from the outside. Promoting Gaine, Ireland’s pupil, will feel like Miami is spinning its wheels. It’s doubtful Gaine gets serious consideration unless a host of outside candidates turn down the job.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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