Wednesday was get-away day at the Senior Bowl. NFL bigwigs returned home after three days of scouting and socializing.
Some, however, will be back in a plane soon for South Florida — if they’re not there already.
The Dolphins have narrowed their search to a handful of finalists for their vacant general manager job, and could have a person picked by Monday.
Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer remains the front-runner.
And at least one of the candidates who sat for an interview believes that Farmer will get the job, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
The reason: Farmer’s ties to Carl Peterson are strong, and Peterson is running the search. The two worked together in Kansas City, and Peterson is said to be very fond of his former protegé.
Meanwhile, league insiders believe that assistant general manager Brian Gaine will also get a second interview.
Gaine led the team’s operation at the Senior Bowl, acting as a sort of interim GM as the Dolphins’ highest-ranking official here. League sources believe that’s a sign that the Dolphins, at the very least, view him as one of their top two or three candidates.
The Dolphins interviewed seven candidates in all, but one — Jason Licht — came off the list Tuesday when the Buccaneers hired him as their general manager.
The Dolphins had planned to make Licht a finalist, and when they got word that Tampa Bay was closing in on a hire, told him as much.
They wanted to give him the option of interviewing again with the Dolphins before accepting the job. Licht ultimately took the sure thing.
However, the Dolphins never offered him the job, which was reported by NFL Media.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will be part of the final round of interviews. Although Peterson identified many of these candidates, Ross will be the one making the hire. Contrary to what has previously reported, Ross did not leave the country this week.
If Farmer and Gaine are the only two finalists, they would share a common background. They are not only the same age, but they grew up 20 miles apart from each other in suburban New York.
Farmer played linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1996 to ’98 before getting into the personnel end of the business. He was a Falcons scout for four years before joining the Chiefs’ front office.
As for Gaine, his inclusion in this process surprised some, considering he worked under Jeff Ireland the past six seasons.
However, Gaine is more of a Bill Parcells guy than an Ireland guy. He worked under Parcells with both the Jets and Cowboys before following him to Miami.
Gaine, 40, attended the University of Maine, and spent time on the Jets’ and Giants’ practice squads in the late 1990s. After his playing career ended, Gaine started at the bottom of the Jets’ front office and has since worked his way up the scouting hierarchy.
In addition to working on pro and college scouting with the Dolphins, Gaine has “an active role” in the organization with coach Joe Philbin and his staff, according to his official bio.
That’s important, as Ross wants a GM who can peacefully and productively coexist with Philbin.
One possible outcome, according to a league source: the Dolphins hire Farmer as GM and give Gaine a promotion and a raise. They like both.
Miami Herald sportswriter Armando Salguero contributed to this report.