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NFL GM roundup: Buccaneers, Dolphins hire new execs

Miami's hiring of Dennis Hickey on Sunday means all 32 NFL teams once again have general managers. We recap the hirings and firings of the last month.


NFL general managers fared much better this season than they did after the 2012 season. After five GMs were canned last December, just two were let go following the 2013 campaign: Mark Dominik of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jeff Ireland of the Miami Dolphins. Let's take a quick look at the firings and hirings of the two franchises.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Who's out: Mark Dominik

Dominik was canned alongside head coach Greg Schiano after a 4-12 season marred by off-field issues. The messy departure of franchise quarterback Josh Freeman, who was cut in early October came on the heels of a staph outbreak scandal that sidelined three players during the 2013 season. The Bucs went 25-39 over Dominik's five seasons and failed to make the playoffs once.

Who's in: Jason Licht

Licth spent 2013 as the vice president of player personnel for the Arizona Cardinals, a position he was promoted to after serving two years as the director of player personnel. He's worked in the league since 1995, and has been on the staff of four Super Bowl teams, including two title winners. He was a finalist for the Chicago Bears' GM position in 2012 but was eventually beat out by Phil Emery.

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Licht will not have final say over the roster, although he will have final say in the draft. He'll have to forge a good working relationship with Lovie Smith, who controls the 53-man roster. While the power relations are a little complicated, the success of this structure will boil down to the ability of Licht and Lovie Smith to work together.

Miami Dolphins

Who's out: Jeff Ireland

The Dolphins held onto head coach Joe Philbin, but didn't spare Ireland, who was fired after six seasons as Miami's GM. Ireland made a flurry of offseason moves heading into 2013 that failed to get Miami into the playoffs. He allowed offensive tackle Jake Long and running back Reggie Bush to walk in free agency and his first-round pick in the 2013 draft, Dion Jordan, had a disappointing rookie year. Wide receiver Mike Wallace failed to make an impact worthy of his $60 million contract he signed last March.

Who's in: Dennis Hickey

Hickey, who spent nearly two decades as an executive with the Buccaneers, wasn't a candidate for the GM spot in Tampa -- so it was a surprise when he was announced as Miami's GM. He reportedly wowed team owner Stephen Ross during the interview process and is now tasked with returning the Dolphins to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

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Hickey, 43, has spent 18 years with the Buccaneers, working up from scout to his current position, which he assumed in 2011. Tampa Bay credits Hickey with playing a major role in the acquisition of players like safety Dashon Goldson, cornerback Darrelle Revis, as well as developing the draft plan for the team leading to players like cornerback Johnthan Banks, running back Doug Martin, and defensive end Adrian Clayborn.