The Miami Dolphins entered the 2013 season with a lot to prove, and no one seemed to have more at stake than general manager Jeff Ireland. But while Ireland's job security seemed in question before the Dolphins reeled off three straight wins (their best start since the 2002 season), in reality Ireland was safe.
The Miami Herald reported Monday morning that the Dolphins quietly extended Ireland's contract during the offseason. Ireland's contract was previously set to expire after the 2013 season, now it runs through at least the 2014 season.
Ireland has been the Dolphins' general manager since the 2008 season, and he became the chief decision-maker on all personnel matters after former president of football operations Bill Parcells left the team in 2010. The Dolphins won the AFC East in Ireland's first season, but went 7-9, 7-9, 6-10, and 7-9 in the four subsequent seasons.
The current version of the Dolphins is almost entirely built by Ireland. He selected QB Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, spent more than $100 million in new contracts before the 2013 season, and signed All-Pro DE Cameron Wake to a lucrative contract extension last year, having previously signed him out of the Canadian league.
The team has not made any announcement regarding Ireland's contract as of Monday afternoon.
Just because Ireland signed an extension does not mean his job status is bulletproof. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross gave then-coach Tony Sparano a two-year contract extension in January 2011, following the team's failed bid to convince Jim Harbaugh to leave his post as coach at Stanford University and coach the Dolphins.
When the Dolphins struggled the next season, Ross did not hesitate to fire Sparano after Week 14. Though the Dolphins are sitting pretty at 3-0, if they hit a major bump in the road it is not inconceivable that Ireland could still get the boot.