MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins didn’t wait for the end of the season to begin their latest organizational shake-up.
The departure of general manager Dennis Hickey after two years in Miami was announced Saturday on the eve of the season finale against New England. The move is part of an anticipated restructuring that will include a coaching search.
The Dolphins went 8-8 last year and are 5-10 this season, in part because of unproductive draft choices and other unsuccessful personnel moves during Hickey’s tenure.
In statements released by the team, Hickey and executive vice-president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum both said the decision for the GM to leave was mutual.
"Over the past week, I have had a number of conversations with the Dolphins organization about my role in the team," Hickey said. "Ultimately the Dolphins and I agreed that it would be best if we parted ways."
Said Tannenbaum: "We talked about a number of different possibilities, but at the end we reached this agreement."
The move wasn’t a surprise, and other changes are coming. Tannenbaum has been with Miami for only one year and will be retained, but the Dolphins are likely to hire their ninth head coach since 2004.
Interim coach Dan Campbell will be interviewed but isn’t expected to return in 2016.
Director of college scouting Chris Grier, who has been with the Dolphins for 16 seasons, is the leading candidate to succeed Hickey. Tannenbaum is likely to take on a more active role in personnel decisions.
Hickey’s role diminished when Tannenbaum was hired a year ago. Hickey’s draft choices in 2014 included tackle Ja’Wuan James and receiver Jarvis Landry, both starters, but none of the 2015 picks made major impacts as rookies.
There have also been a slew of unproductive free agent signings the past two years, and Tannenbaum took the lead in signing free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a $114 million deal.
The Dolphins thought they were poised to contend for the playoffs this year, but they started poorly, and the firing of coach Joe Philbin after four games failed to spark a turnaround.
Miami hasn’t had a winning season since 2008 and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000.