Whenever an NFL team begins a coach or general manager search the term "leading candidate" invariably gets thrown around by insiders and the media. And often times the "leading candidate" doesn't land the job because the interview process can change the dynamics.
But sometimes the leading candidate is really the only candidate. Consider Miami's hiring of Jimmy Johnson and even Tony Sparano as coaches years ago. Consider Washington's hiring of Jay Gruden on Thursday.
Saying that, consider the name multiple sources are now telling The Herald is the Dolphins leading candidate to take the Dolphins GM job: Cleveland Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer.
Remember the name.
Farmer has emerged as the search began Friday for two reasons:
He truly is a strong candidate with a strong background. Secondly, former Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson has joined the Dolphins search and is Stephen Ross's chief advisor in the process. Peterson is a 30-year friend and confidant to Stephen Ross. And Peterson loves Farmer.
Morever, Peterson is supremely confident in his ability to identify and hire prospective NFL general managers.
Four current or former NFL team general managers built their resumes as members of the Chiefs' front office under Peterson: Atlanta's Tom Dimitroff, Tampa Bay's Mark Dominik, Miami's Jeff Ireland, and Seattle's John Schneider. They obviously did not all succeed but, as Bill Parcels said, talent evaluation is not an exact science. National Football Scouting President Jeff Foster also was a Chiefs scout under Peterson.
And Ray Farmer was hired by Peterson in Kansas City in 2006 and worked there until 2012 as the director of pro personnel. It is interesting (and impressive) that even though Farmer was a Peterson hire, he was retained by new general manager Scott Pioli when he took over in KC in 2008.
Browns CEO Joe Banner described Farmer as “one of the up-and-coming stars in the NFL,” last September.
Farmer, 39, has a sociology degree from Duke. He's a former fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles. His career as an NFL linebacker ended after three years when he suffered a knee injury.
Farmer served as an academic coordinator and recruiter at Duke from 1998-2001, then was hired as a scout by the Atlanta Falcons before joining Peterson and the Chiefs. He joined the Browns in 2013 under general manager Mike Lombardi.
"I’ll be surprised if Ray’s not a GM in the next few years, which will be good and bad news for us," Browns owner Jimmy Haslem said during the 2013 NFL owner's meetings, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.