Does Jeff Ireland Deserve the Miami Dolphins' Trust?

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIDecember 9, 2013

Aug 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland before a game against the New Orleans Saints at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

According to Armando Salguero of The Miami HeraldMiami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has assured general manager Jeff Ireland that his job is safe.

After a season in which the Dolphins became the most controversial team in the NFL due to the investigation involving offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, Ireland keeping his job appears more likely than it did a few weeks ago.

But why?

One could speculate that Ross' reported support of his GM is due to the fact that the Dolphins are now playoff contenders. Miami began the season with a 5-6 record, but they have now won their last two games, putting them in the race for the AFC's sixth seed.

But is an improvement of play over the last two games really a good enough reason to keep Ireland around?

After all, this is a general manager notorious for making some poor personnel decisions since beginning his tenure in Miami.

The latest Ireland acquisition that seems to have faltered is the lucrative five-year, $60 million signing of wide receiver Mike Wallace.

The huge commitment made by the Dolphins to Wallace has not really panned out, as the former Steeler wideout struggles at times to get on the same page with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  Wallace has put up 58 catches, 762 yards and three touchdowns over the course of a roller-coaster season.

However, it's not only Ireland's questionable personnel decisions that have haunted him in Miami.

Going back to the Martin investigation, Ireland could still find himself in some hot water—pending the findings.

Back in early November, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that Ireland suggested that Martin should "punch" Incognito in retaliation to the latter's bullying. If these allegations against Ireland are confirmed, the Dolphins could find themselves in a terrible situation going forward due to the fact that Ireland is still a part of the team.

How can Ross and the Dolphins' brass trust someone with that kind of baggage?

Yes, there is the argument that the once-broken locker room has begun to repair itself, and Miami's players have begun to create some chemistry. But is that really Ireland's doing? After all, head coach Joe Philbin, the coordinators and the remaining coaching staff are those figures constantly entrenched in the every-day actions of their players. Credit may be misplaced here.

Even though the offensive line has begun to jell over the past couple of weeks, the Dolphins' front office must realize that the team is still losing two key players due to the turmoil that has continued over the second half of the season.

Philbin had already been toying with the decision of releasing Incognito even before this unfortunate incident according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Martin will not return to Miami this season after being placed on the non-football illness list. One can speculate that he may not want to return to Miami at all.

That would be a travesty for the Dolphins. They would essentially be losing an early second-round pick should Martin depart.

After Ireland initiated many inconceivable personnel decisions and mishandled the Martin-Incognito situation, should the Dolphins really continue to trust their general manager?

It seems apparent that Ireland has only brought poor decision-making and scandal to this team. Assuring Ireland of his job after just two consecutive wins seems rather over the top on Ross' part.

One thing is for certain: This will not be the last time that Ireland finds his name in the media this season, and things may get worse for the Dolphins before they get any better.