Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys’ Jeff Ireland New Dolphins GM

The Dallas Cowboys have lost their chief scout to the Miami Dolphins, who have hired him to be their general manger.

Jeff Ireland is leaving for Miami to become the Dolphins’ new general manager. The move is effective immediately and the Dallas Cowboys will receive no compensation for Ireland’s departure.

Ireland, who held the vice president of college and pro scouting title, will be reunited with Bill Parcells, the former Cowboys coach, who is the Dolphins’ executive VP of football operations. Once Parcells took the Miami job, Ireland was immediately linked to South Florida. He met with Parcells and owner Wayne Huizenga over the last two days and accepted the position Wednesday.

“I am excited about joining the Dolphins as their general manager,” Ireland said in a release from Miami. “I know the great tradition of the team, and in my mind they are one of the flagship franchises in the NFL. They have a great owner in Wayne Huizenga, who I know is committed to making the Dolphins into winners once again. I am looking forward to working with him and everyone else in Miami to achieve that goal.

“I also want to thank Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys organization. I enjoyed my tenure with the team, and I would not be where I am today without the help of so many people there.”

Last week, Jones said he would have liked the benefit of having Ireland, who was in the final year of his deal, possibly stay through the draft. But because Ireland has “final say” authority, he was free to leave immediately.

Ireland’s departure could also impact the Cowboys’ coaching staff. Should he and Parcells decide to remove coach Cam Cameron, then Dallas assistant head coach Tony Sparano would be one of the top candidates in Miami. Sparano is scheduled to interview for Atlanta’s vacancy on Friday, as is offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

As for possible replacements for Ireland, Tom Ciskowski, the team’s assistant director of college scouting the last seven years, would be the top in-house candidate. Ciskowski has been with the Cowboys since 1992.

Ireland joined the Cowboys in 2001 as a national scout after spending four years in Kansas City as an area scout. When Larry Lacewell retired, Ireland took over the college and pro scouting departments.

Congrats to Ireland who deserves the promotion. While some Cowboys fans are whining about this and screaming that Jerry Jones should have given up the GM title to keep Ireland, the fact of the matter is that Jones runs the Cowboys and bought the team so that he could. Ireland simply wasn’t going to get “final say” authority in Dallas.

What I would like to see, though, is a league-wide rule banning contact with employees of other teams until after the Super Bowl. It’s a huge distraction for teams like the Cowboys to have to deal with while they’re in the midst of playoff preparations. It’s not right that mismanaged teams have the right to disrupt the work of successful teams just because they themselves were too inept to make the playoffs.

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