The Dolphins search for a general manager is not over in that interviews for new candidates are coming, according to a high ranking team source. After all of the interviews are complete -- there have been seven so far -- then the club will narrow down to finalists and pick the new GM.
And this: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been present "and engaged" in every interview so far. And he will be physically present for every future interview, and every part of the process that entails, the source said.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity. The source declined to confirm or deny a CBS Sports report that Ross is in the United Kingdom and will be traveling to China thereafter is accurate. (I am now assuming the report is accurate).
However, that changes no part of this process, as far as the Dolphins are concerned.
The team is currently doing a "deeper dive" and "work behind the scenes" to vet candidates already interviewed and those yet to be interviewed.
During the interviews already completed -- with Lake Dawson, Omar Khan, Ray Farmer, Dennis Hickey, Brian Xanders, Jason Licht, and in-house candidate Brian Gaine -- Ross has been part of the full group of people talking with the candidates.
"He is not on his phone or doesn't step out to take breaks," said the team source who is intimately familiar with the interviews.
The Dolphins are talking to candidates as a group led by Ross, advisor Carl Peterson, Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel, RSE Ventures CEO Matt Higgins and Dolphins executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte.
Candidates are also meeting with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin separately, the source said.
(The team needs the new GM and Philbin to forge a strong bond because last year Philbin and former GM Jeff Ireland were not always on the same page).
The Dolphins, I'm told, are acutely aware of the criticism of their GM hiring process. Senior Bowl practices start this week in Mobile and it is clear a GM will not be named before those end. So there's criticism the process is taking too long.
The team's answer?
The goal is to hire the right man, rather than a right now man.
(I would say I agree with this. Obviously, there are deadlines that have to be met. The Dolphins need to hire a GM in time for the Feb. 18-25 NFL Combine as well as May draft. And the team will obviously have a GM in place before then. But him not being on board this week is not going to affect draft preparations. Most, if not all the candidates the Dolphins are considering will indeed be at the Senior Bowl working for their current teams, anyway. So that institutional knowledge will travel to Miami once the hire is made.)
There is also criticism of Ross being out of the country at times during this process.
It doesn't look good on the surface because it suggests the owner has left the process or become bored by it or has decided he has better things to do. This is a perception the club knows exists. And the pushback on that is that there is no part of the process Ross hasn't been a part of or will be a part of in the future -- in person.
Including, and most notably, making the final decision.