« GM finalist Ray Farmer may not interview ... or may | Main | Dolphins interviewing Nick Caserio today »

Humiliation: Browns say Farmer not interviewing second time

So let me get this straight ... The assistant general manager for the Cleveland Browns is informed he is a finalist for the general manager job with the Miami Dolphins and after getting through an initial interview that reportedly went well, he declines to take the second interview because he has doubts about the Dolphins' football structure?

Can this really be?

Is the Dolphins' reputation around the NFL so soiled that even people working for the Browns -- the Browns! -- don't want more money, more power, and a chance to run the Dolphins front office?

Somebody wake me, because this is a nightmare.

Let's retrace some footsteps because if this is, in fact, what's going on, we've already stepped in something foul.

Farmer interviewed for the Dolphins job January 11 and I reported the interview was very good. Obviously, it turns out, the interview did go well because a couple of days ago the Dolphins decided Farmer would be one of their finalists interviewing this weekend for a chance to become the successor to Jeff Ireland.

But a not-funny thing happened on the way to that prized finalist interview. Farmer began to have second thoughts. As I reported Thursday, Farmer started to waiver about whether or not he wanted to interview again with the Dolphins because he was feeling uncertain or uncomfortable with the Dolphins football structure.

Farmer talked to the Dolphins for at least five hours in that first interview. He came to that interview with the blessing of former boss Carl Peterson, who hired Farmer during his time with the Chiefs and is now the top advisor to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on this GM search. And after answering a bunch of questions and presumably asking some of his own, Farmer was still not sure he either understood or liked the Miami structure?

That's not all.

Was Farmer's concern so profound that even when the Fritz Pollard Alliance strongly recommended he take the follow-up interview so he could get his clarification, Farmer still declined?

Well, that's apparently exactly what happened as on Thursday afternoon, Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner told a group of huddled reporters that Farmer was staying with the Browns rather than interview again with the Dolphins, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Quentin Tarrantino at the height of a drug-induced inspiration could not make this stuff up.

So I have questions that frankly make me wonder about both Farmer and the Dolphins.

1. To Farmer, if you were still uncertain or uncomfortable with the Dolphins structure at the end of that initial interview, why didn't you say so then? Did this discomfort or uncertainty suddenly dawn on you or did you find out new things about the Dolphins in the days following the interview?

2. To Farmer, you worked under Peterson for years. Obviously Peterson thinks very highly you. So if you were uncertain or uncomfortable about the Dolphins structure, couldn't you just call Peterson and ask for clarity? Why the big public unveiling of this issue that makes neither the Dolphins nor you look good?

3. To the Dolphins, is the phrase, "Do you have any questions for us? Are you completely comfortable with where we are right now?" foreign? After all, that kind of covers everything. If Farmer felt any degree of discomfort near the end of his interview, that phrase would have definitely opened the door to the airing of that discomfort.

4. To the Dolphins, how could you not know Farmer had issues with your structure?

5. To the Dolphins, did you interview a candidate and then anoint him a finalist without any clue he doesn't think highly of what you are proposing as the job structure?

6. To the Dolphins, aren't you starting to get a clue that something is seriously wrong with, well, you? Look, when one candidate declines to interview, that's understandable. When two candidates decide your interview offer is not for them, that's kind of worrisome but not terribly. But four candidates declined to take even initial interviews with you and a fifth man, who was open minded enough to take the initial interview, decided that familiarity with you was a reason to stay away in the future.

It's not them, my dear Dolphins franchise, it's you!

It's not the media with an agenda. It's not tough luck. It's not the competition conspiring against you. It is you!

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, Dolphins sources insist it is not them. (On a couple of counts, such as the initial and incorrect Jason Licht story about him being offered the job and this evening's CYA suggestion by one national reporter that Lake Dawson didn't become a finalist until after Farmer had second thoughts, it is indeed the media).

The message I get from the Dolphins is that every candidate is made aware he will be reporting directly to owner Stephen Ross. Every candidate is aware he will not be under either coach Joe Philbin or executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte. Every candidate is aware he also will definitely not be over Philbin and probably not Aponte as well. Both Aponte and Philbin will answer to Ross.

Aponte, I am told, has no secret sinister plans to take over as undercover GM.

So where is the misunderstanding?

Are the Dolphins not relaying that message clearly? Is there a communication disconnect? Is the team, through sources, saying one thing to me and then another to candidates? I don't know for sure. I'm not in the interviews.

(Maybe the Dolphins should embed me this weekend for their own well being -- like the military embeds war correspondents. It protects them.). 

All I know is this is not the first humiliation the Dolphins suffer lately. It's starting to get really, really old when the Dave Wannstedt disaster is the good old days.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Dashi, problem is it took Ross 5 years to realize Ireland wasn't the answer...Might take him another 5 to realize the same thing about Dawn and Joe...Even if we have another losing season...

"Maybe the Dolphins should embed me this weekend for their own well being -- like the military embeds war correspondents. It protects them."

So you want the fins to use you like a mouthpiece and in return you will offer them your media protection. And only a person such as yourself will look at this like some type of war. You Cuban Nazi.


I think if our players play next year, like they did the last 2 games this year. No way Philbin is still here, Ross aint got time for that!

I think that everyuone needs to relax!! I'm a diehard Dolphan and I believe that whoever they choose will do a great job. Maybe I'm an optomist but that's what I believe. Everyone CALM DOWN!!PHINS UP

I think it's pretty evident, this is a glorified "talent scout" position, nothing more. And a Asst. GM (even of the worst franchise in the NFL) probably feels they have more power in their current position that what Miami is offering.

I say follow Mark's earlier advice, hire Gaine, nothing will change, all the losers will at least be on the same page of mediocrity, and when it fails next year Ross will HOPEFULLY see the error in his ways and start over from the beginning (not these 1/2 changes that obviously aren't working).

Or maybe Ireland's cooled off and Ross, Philbin and Aponte can crawl back, tail between their legs and plead for him to return to his old digs. That would be what I would expect from this sorry franchise.

My guess is Ross and Co. are telling candidates 'it's our way or the highway', as in this is our structure, you have to fit it, we are not going to be flexible and give you any latitude or leeway to do things your way.
No wonder candidates are turned off.

Four prospective candidates decline to even interview for the position. Two of the finalists decline a second interview opportunity. All them have questions about the team's structure.

The Dolphins are saying a lot of things in public to save face and, probably, to hide the fact that the DawnJoe show is the problem in terms of hiring a respectable GM.

Of course the candidates asked about the structure in multiple hour interviews. These are confident professionals who are currently employed in a good job. One has to conclude that the Dolphins were unclear or deceptive in their responses.

With Dawn controlling the cap, then free agency is totally dependent on her approval. Since she is aligned with Philbin, then if Philbin does not want a particular player (an outspoken one, perhaps), then Dawn can effectively block the signing of that player.

The same situation could apply to any potential trades for veteran players. DawnJoe has effective veto power.

The draft? Philbin can simply bury any (and every) rookie on the depth chart.

All of this makes the new GM a perfect scapegoat.

In the event that Philbin is fired, then will the GM lose power to a new coach or will he be the odd man out as Aponte forms a DawnNewCoach duo?

Your definatley an optimist Travelight. That's ok though. Easier to take than a pessimist. Things are looking shaky at this point though.

I also wonder if candidates are asking Ross, that if after a year on the job, if they go to Ross and ask that Philbin (or Aponte) be replaced, if he is going to honor that request.
I think Ross is telling them they are stuck with Philbin (and Aponte) and only Ross determines if either goes.

It's just sad how this franchise has fallen apart due to excuse making and poor leadership. With that being said, not hiring Farmer is the best thing I've heard in weeks. Why would we be so enamored with a guy Carl Petersen recommends from the Cleveland Browns? Petersen + Browns = No second interview.

Not much i can add to this, the results speak loudly.

No one wants to be the GM of the Miami Dolphins.

What's next? Maybe Gaine comes to his senses as well?

It is true that there are only 32 GM positions in the NFL. It' a wonderful job to have. Most of the professionals who want such a job want to succeed at it and keep it for more than one year. They also want to try to build a team their way.

They do NOT want to be in a near powerless position with regard to draft picks being buried on the depth chart by an incompetent coaching staff.

They do NOT want to be powerless when DawnJoe does not want to sign a free agent and offers an insulting contract so the free agent goes elsewhere.

They do NOT want to be stuck with a QB they may not believe in.

In short, they do NOT want a GM position where the structure and individuals are not conductive to success for everyone involved.

It's real simple. They are interviewing candidates for a GM position, when it is actually a Director of Player Personnel position - BIG DIFFERENCE!

Rdubs, I hope you're right...But when it comes to Ross' judgement, I become skeptical...Especially after the Harbaugh fiasco, flying across the country to try and hire him while still having a coach in place...And then after he says no you turn around and give your current coach a raise and a new contract...I mean, like I said many times, what a strange way to do business...This guy is something else...


Exactly. Good point.

What the team says in public and what it is offering in reality are two very different things.

Mark Dominik would probably take the job. Just Sayin.

Armando must be smiling. He stirred the pot and the shyt keeps smelling. That's what he wants to do. That's what the Herald allows him to do. That's what he will continue to do. Guys, what we are all watching is this public fight between The Herald (if they continue to allow Armando do this) and the Dolphins. Right in front of our own eyes.

Dear Stephen Ross,


Perhaps it's time Ross just gets out of the way on the football side. Be more hidden. Put someone like Carl Peterson in charge of football operations and present your ideas tthough him. Let him hire a player evaluation guy and a coach.

On Farmer - he acted like a first class jerk in this case. There is a right and wrong way to do this. There are instances you still go to an interview even if you don;t want the job or have another oyu want more. You don't humiliate people and you look after the people who put you in that position that you are interviewed. If this is an indication of his character, I'm glad he won't be GM. This is not the way a grown man and a professional does things. Look at Peyton Manning and Jeff Fisher. neither of them wanted to come here but they still did the right things - didn't humiliate the franchise, owner, players, or the fans. Bush league man, bush league.

he also made a damaging blow to the Rooney rule and the Fritz Pollard group. he should recognize that he is representing more than himself here.

First class botch job by everyone all around.

I don't get the anti-Philbin/Aponte sentiment expressed with regard to any GM candidate in this blog. Both Joe Philbin and Dawn Aponte are held in high regard in NFL circles. Most candidates for the Dolphins GM position would know Philbin and Aponte only by reputation and that has to be presumed as positive.

While Philbin was already admired by Ross, Philbin is given credit for steering the Dolphins through the Incognito-Martin crisis. Is it any wonder Steve Ross appreciates him? One has to only think Tony Sparano or Ireland addressing the media during that debacle to understand why Ross would want to keep Philbin around.

After free agency last year, Dawn Aponte was dancing to the accolades from Dolphin fans over the way that she had managed the cap. Surely her abilities and competency in financial matters were not overlooked by Ross. Why would he then want a former NFL player with possibly no financial experience, possibly no degree or management experience to replace one of the sharpest knives in the drawer? That would make absolutely no sense.

In short, the Dolphins need a GM that can deliver talent that fit schemes the coaches are running. His job needn't be more than that. That's what Steve Ross knows.

I also will not dismiss the fact that Philbin is a negative in this case. Ireland drafted him good players last year. he did NOTHING to bring them along. In fact he started sub par players ahead of them at times.


You are so right. Like I said in my earlier post. Farmer is a coward and would have been eaten alive by other GM's. We might have dodged a bullet here.

Sometimes misfortunes lead opportunities

We can pizz and moan or we can support whoever our next GM is. I choose the latter, which side will others choose?

ETF, the GM Ireland was never fired.

Dawn needs a session at hogtied d*t com ASAP

I will post it again and again: IT'S NOT MISCOMMUNICATION, IT'S MISTRUST! Farmer hears just fine. He has comprehension skills. Just like the others who have interviewed and withdrawn and declined any and every round of interview. I will repeat again: THE NFL IS A TIGHT GROUP. A PHONE CALL OR TWO AND ONE CAN GET ALL THE GOUGE THEY NEED. All these candidates know that Aponte/Philbin engineered and sealed Ireland's fate. It doesnt matter if Ireland was a good, bad, lazy, or stupid as a GM. In the eyes of his peers and other front office types, what they see is not that he was dismissed, but how that dissmal came about. At this point in time it doesn even matter if the Aponte/Philbin duo of incompetence conspiracy is true or not. It is now out there and there is no putting the cat back bag.

Then of course Peterson is thrown into the mix and low and behold, folks who were previously hired or worked under Peterson float to the top.

I don't care how many times the reporting relationships under Ross have been defined. On its face value it is easy enough to understand. In the real world that is the NFL, there has been and will continue a way of doing business and that includes a hierarchal structure with a clear chain of command. Those below in the structure feed data to the boss who in turn makes decisions to better the team and provide coaches with players that fit within their system. It is up to the coaching staff to then make it work.

That was not going to happen in Miami irrespective of what Ross said. The current track record displayed over the past month or so is proof.

Both Joe Philbin and Dawn Aponte are held in high regards in NFL circles...billcale, says who??????

I say give the job to Gaine. At the end of the year, see what became of his draft picks. Also, we will know at that point if Philbin is getting his contract renewed. If Gaine has a good year with the drafg and free agents, he stays. If Philbin gets us to the playoffs, he stays. If they both fail, sh.tcan both of them. Then tell Aponte not to let the door hit her on the way out, because if next year is another failure, blow it up.

Dawn and Joe are NOT held in high regard in the NFL.

That's why no respectable GM candidate will interview or re-interview with the Dolphins.

Farmer did not want to deal with the DawnJoe circus and so he backed out. He probably wanted clarification of the structure in the organization. Perhaps he wanted changes in the structure. He then declined, as is his right. The Dolphins are the problem. NOT Farmer.

Jpao and Austin hit the nail sqarleey on the head...

Why would any GM come here with no power to fire the HC and the Salary Cap Person?? Mark, Farmer actyally took it easy in the dolphins by saying he didnt understand the power strcuture. He understood..

HC and Cap Person reports to Ross
Farmer reports to Ross

Famer has no authority to fire either one

Aponte sides with Philbin and backstabs Ireland

Again why would any respectable talent evaulator will come here?? This is all on Ross!

love all the observations that 99% of you guys don't have a clue. Sometimes comfortable no-risk situations are better than a promotion for high risk. Again, I'm not blinded by Ross's inept ability at football business, but I ask, how many clueless Billionaires have you heard of? If all you guys were so smart you wouldn't be taking time on a blog from an entertainment based "sportswriter". I think Lazur was a GREAT hire and I expect for now you will see Gaine step in as I'm sure he was supressed by Ireland who had quite an ego. If Phins don't get into playoffs next year, it's clean house from Ross and maybe sell the team.

Farmer no coward! Hes not dumb enough to take a GM job with no authority over the HC and Cap Woman!

Big mistake. Sometimes people are afraid of failing. They hold themselves back. Anyone with a smart sense knows it's a mistake in Farmer's part. Oh well... Next!

Im with Dashi and Mark just give Gaines the dang job if the Fins are worse next season fire all of them. HC, Cap Lady, Gaines, everyone who came in contact with Parcells

Philbin is respected for forcing out a starting CB and two starting LBs and an alpha WR.

He is respected for needing note cards to give a postgame speech.

He is respected for having a sub-500 record.

He is respected for not developing a single rookie from the 2013 draft.

He is respected for hiring 9 assistants with NO NFL experience.

He is respected for NEVER making an effective in-game adjustment.

He is respected for losing to the Bills and Jets with the playoffs on the line.

He is respected for being half of DawnJoe.

Good day all...Time to go to work...

All you non informed ppl saying this is no big deal youre wrong! This is just another blk eye on this proud franchise. Reputations matter in a small circle like the NFL.

Ross needs to clean house and start over with a more traditional GM/coach structure that will attract better quality GM candidates.

If Philbin doesn't want to report to a GM, that's fine. Out he goes. Find a new coach as he hasn't really been that impressive so far.

And Ross should really try to help Aponte land that job in the NFL main office. Give her a good recommendation and get rid of her too. It looks like she's been a divisive force in the organization.

Aponte is respected for paying off the victim that Cogs assaulted at a Dolphin golfing event.

Aponte is respected for having Cogs do a public service video telling fans how to behave at home games.

Aponte is respected for being part of the awful crew that Parcells brought to Miami (includes Ireland and Sporano).

Aponte is respected for writing note cards for the Head Coach to read during a postgame speech.

Aponte is respected for prepping Philbin for every media interaction.

Aponte is respected for stabbing Ireland in the back.

MIT, going back to your comment about Ireland giving Philbin a good group of guys to work with but didn't.... obviously Philbin is a old school type of guy (wish he wasn't) where u basically have to earn your playtime vs. experimenting and trusting his players to perform. He needs to get out of that attitude and learn to adjust. As for farmer goes, i'm glad he didn't accept the 2nd interview as i have a gut feelin that he is NOT the right person to bring in.......

ALL of this negative GOSSIP/SLANDER is NONSENSE. Last year, most of the comments in this room anointed the Dolphins the next AFC East champs, ready to overtake and dethrone the Pats. Now, some of you are are invoking doomsday & 1-15!?!!??? REALLY People?? Leave Aponte,Philbin,and Ross alone. They're trying to do a job.And as much as I appreciate you Armando S.(I do,really), this constant ATTACK MODE is silly.I don't care if it sell papers, or in this case, gets us fired up to read & comment. Come on, MAN....JUST HAVE FAITH, will ya. Just think what it may have been like to be a Boston Red Sox fan just after the '86 Series vs the Mets, who won by the way, and the Bill Buckner incident/Bob Stanley meltdown in game 6. I was there (as a fan) and it sucked. I saw every miserable inning,and heard every miserable joke. Wow, look where th Sox are now.....who knew? This Fins bump is NOTHING compared to the Sox of '86....BELIEVE ME. Be thankful. The rise has just started. Be Patient. You'll be jumping up and down in no time. I'm 54. My Grandpop NEVER saw the SOX win in his lifetime...

I have loved the Fins since 1982….but Ross is single handedly doing what even Wannstadt couldnt do–destroy my love for the franchise…we are the laughingstock of the league..tx Ross

The Seahawks are the second youngest team in the league and they are in the Superbowl. They have, in effect, two top GMs plus a good coach.

The Dolphins lack almost everything except for the excellent punter, good DEs, and a solid TE. The center is solid if he avoids indictment.

Montreal, those who may know him best at this point -his former coaching associates and players in GB- have nothing but good to say about Philbin. I have never read anything bad about Philbin except in the Miami press. Here's a link with comments from GB about Philbin during Incognito-Martin:

Same with Aponte. I have never read anything bad- only positives- except in the Miami press. She is highly respected in NFL circles and was open for a recent position of VP at the NFL offices in NY.

Is is the sole responsibility of anyone interviewing for any position, especially an executive management position, to make sure they ask and get answers to any and all questions that are important to them. Farmer clearly was not the right man for the job. He either didn't press for the answers he needed, or just had doubts about his decision to interview in the first place. In either case, he demonstrated that he was not the man for the job. That said, the Dolphins "appear" to be bumbling another hiring process. Either the press has it all wrong, or Mr. Ross must have stumbled his way to absurd wealth. In either case, they suck at spin control.

Wouldn't it be funny if Gaines was offered the job and he turned it down!

Sigh, too funny!

FinFanNJ: I dont think folks are being critical of any billionaire within his/her field of expertise. Yes, their wealth and success make them smart and wise within their sphere of influence. If I was dealing in commericial real estate, I would seek out Ross. If it were telecommunications, then look to Dan Synder. That does not make them experts or even good as sport franchise owners.

Like I have posted before no one on this blog or any other has any idea what goes on behind closed doors in Davie. We speculate, infer, guess, and vent because well...its fun.

And Lazor may prove to be a great hire and a potential HC candidate in the future. I wish him all the success in the world. That said, I have to think, and yes...guess and infer, that he may be having some second thoughts. Again, just guessing, but given the turmoil that seems to be unfolding...GM fiasco, Philbin more than likely on a short leash, Aponte/Philbin conspiracy theories, Cog/Martin-gate, who knows what else.

From Sports Illustrated, in an article about the Senior Bowl:

"That stands in stark contrast to the Dolphins’ general manager search. Not even the candidates have a clear idea what the structure is going to be, especially what executive vice president Dawn Aponte’s role is and what the extent of her power will be. Until that happens, no one has any idea what kind of job that is."


Thanks for the compliment. :)

another dolphin debacle presented to you by your beloved owner Stephen Ross!
Its all his fault always has been!

Is it also possible candidates are so turned off by Ross they don't want to work for him?
I know one thing as I work in a team environment where we lean heavily on each other - if someome on the team went to another team member and repeated what another team member was comlaining about, the situation would quickly become untenable and turn into an environment of mistrust. Who would want to work in a place like that!

Ray, 2/3 of the NFL GMs do not have the authority to fire coaches. That's nothing unique here.

There is also no threat from Philbin or Aponte as so many think there is.

What is more likely is Ross just comes across poorly in these interviews. I have heard this way more often than whispers about Aponte or Philbin.

The best answer long term is if everyone falls on their face as expected, is for Ross to name one dude to report to him instead of three- and let that person have ultimate control over the coach, capologist, and GM.

at this point would it be so bad for Ross to jump on his jet and go have a serious talk with Bill Cowher?? make him an offer he couldn't refuse? I think he would be better than there 9th choice on the list! offer him full control as both GM and coach. I don't think many other teams in the league will be willing to do that any time soon. if he says yes, can Philbin. think about it.. what have we been hearing that they want form the next GM? a talent evaluator. and Aponte would be there as his right hand woman.. still doing contracts and cap work.

Correction: The Seahawks are the second youngest team ever reach the Superbowl. That does not mean they are the second youngest team in the NFL now. Surprisingly, he youngest team ever to make the Superbowl was the 1971 Dolphins.

Sigh, MassFin...good posts. A couple on respect and one on teamwork. They go hand and hand. Something that is noticably absent in Davie right now.

Another stupid article.
Attempting to make a big deal out of a candidate withdrawing from consideration.
Who cares? Move on, we don't need him or your dumb articles.

Wouldn't it be funny if Gaines was offered the job and he turned it down!

Posted by: MassDolphan | January 24, 2014 at 09:52 AM

LMFAO, dude i just spit coffee all over my monitor! LOLOLOL

Can we please quit it with the Tony Dungys, Bill Cowher, Jimmy Johnson. These old guys dont want to coach or have GM powers anymore. Even given all control theyll do a half a** job and when all else fail leave and take the money lile Parcells did.

I've been saying it for YEARS & most of you homers denied it to be true.

Ireland was a BIG, BIG problem. But, I have always followed that up with this: The biggest problem might be the owner.

Well well, lookie where this team is now. A complete, utter joke. All of you laughed & mocked when I told you that what he did to Sporano with Harbaugh would be remembered by NFL people.

Look at Philbin. Look at all these GM candidates. Everyone one of them is a 2nd rate option.

All to protect a capologist & a lousy 2nd rate, 2nd option HC.

People in the NFL know ross is a puts with ZERO football smarts. WHy o earth would anyone want to report to him? A GM worth ANYTHING will want control.

SO you have a football dumb owner with final say over the coach & the GM? WTF?

Until Ross leaves, this team will be CHOCK FULL on 2nd tier coaches & executives because that's all we can get because of this knuckle dusting owner.

I think that some are ignoring Philbin on this. Yes, Aponte aligned herself with Philbin, if for no other reason then self preservation (Ireland wanted her fired in 2011). And yes Philbin isn't much of a public speaker, to say the least, he does need help. But I am beginning to see a little light that says that Philbin is a very good infighter in a corporate sense! If I was in the mind of Aponte I'd either align myself with my perception of who will win or the stronger of the individuals. Her choice was Philbin and Ireland is gone. Good job!

Now we are going to see if Jordan, indeed, is qualified for more then 15 snaps a game. And plays up to some of our expectations. If Taylor and Davis emerge and earn playing time. Not looking for anything from Thomas or Gillislee but if Thomas were to show something? Then it's all on Philbin! He knew what he wanted to get rid of and succeeded. So, it's possible, that Philbin's talents lie not in coaching but in corporate infighting!

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 »

The comments to this entry are closed.