First-year general manager Dennis Hickey inherited quite a situation with the Miami Dolphins. This is a team coming off a high-profile bullying scandal and multiple firings after a late-season collapse, and it will have a head coach on the hot seat in 2014.
But Hickey had nothing to do with any of these scenarios. He was hired to replace former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland in January and Hickey made his first big decision a great one, re-signing Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes to a four-year extension on Monday to help solidify the secondary.
Hickey will have plenty of decisions to make in the coming weeks, especially with more than $30 million remaining to spend in free agency. The Dolphins also hold the No. 19 overall pick in May's NFL draft. But locking up Grimes for the foreseeable future on the same day as the franchise tag deadline was a wise move by Hickey. The Dolphins took care of arguably their most consistent player from last season. Now Grimes is a happy camper and a building block who is in line for another productive season.
The key to being a good GM is to garner significantly more hits than strikeouts. No talent evaluator will bat 1.000. But if your singles, doubles and triples outnumber your whiffs, you can build a contender in the NFL. Consider re-signing Grimes, Miami's best in-house free agent, an early home run. Hickey may round the bases and take a bow. He won the day.
There is still plenty of work to be done in the secondary. Will Miami re-sign Chris Clemons to start at safety or look outside at a free agent like Louis Delmas? Who starts at cornerback opposite Grimes? Nolan Carroll is an unrestricted free agent and veteran Dimitri Patterson could be released, which will save Miami about $5 million. Are 2013 draft picks Jamar Taylor and/or Will Davis ready to assume major roles next season?
All of these questions will be answered at a later date. But Hickey and the Dolphins deserve kudos Monday for taking care of the biggest piece of their secondary. Grimes is a Pro Bowl talent capable of shutting off half the field on a given week. That's a major luxury to have.