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Dolphins hire Hickey as new GM

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

It took a while, but the Dolphins finally found their man. The Dolphins announced that they've hired Buccaneers director of player personnel Dennis Hickey as their next general manager.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald first broke the news that Hickey's was tabbed as Jeff Ireland's replacement after an exhaustive search that featured numerous interviews, including, recently, Nick Caserio of the Patriots.

CBSSports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that Hickey was not a part of the GM search in Tampa, according to sources, and was very likely to be out there after the draft as he was not a part of the initial plans for reworking the front office under new GM Jason Licht, according to sources.

That's odd, to say the least.

The Buccaneers have made some bold moves in both free agency and the trade market with Hickey working there. Tampa traded for Darrelle Revis and signed wideout Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks two offseasons ago.

The Revis trade doesn't look bad; Revis has been good though his potential probably wasn't maximized under the last coaching staff. Jackson's been one of the best wideouts in the game since arriving in Tampa Bay but Nicks has been a pretty large bust and unable to stay healthy.

Hickey was a scout in Tampa Bay from 1998 to 2009 before assuming his previous role with the Bucs.

After Caserio became the latest candidate to turn down the Dolphins, sources told La Canfora they offered the job to Lake Dawson of the Titans.

He too spurned them and at that point they opted to offer it to Hickey of the Bucs -- a relatively late entry to the process -- rather than their own well-regarded assistant GM Brian Gaine.

Hickey, who was facing an uncertain future back in Tampa with a new GM in place there in Jason Licht, accepted the position.Many wonder if the Dolphins will have more changes in store in less than a year should the team falter again, with owner Stephen Ross -- who has created a dysfunctional culture there during his tenure -- perhaps trying to land a big-name coach again next year. If that were to take place, any coach of that caliber would end up running football ops and bringing in his own people -- which would likely spell the end of the new GM, as well as holdovers in the front office like powerful executive vice president Dawn Aponte, who was instrumental in this process.That was part of what led to so much trepidation about this job and why so many declined to even talk to the Dolphins, much less accept an offer to take the job.

Lake Dawson, and others, turned down the Dolphins job at least in part because the job, as offered to them, would have allowed coach Joe Philbin to control the 53-man roster in 2014, a huge issue for any incoming general manager.

Philbin is already very plugged in with Aponte -- with that relationship a concern of many GM candidates, who wondered if they would be able to fire Philbin in 2015, if need be, based on team performance. If anything, Philbin, at least in the short term, becomes even more empowered, while seemingly the entire organization remains under review for the 2014 season.

Aponte will also be in essence the highest ranking person connected to football operations on a daily basis, with Ross an absentee owner and Philbin, Hickey and Aponte all reporting directly to the owner.

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