Just when you thought the Dolphins’ search for a general manager was winding down, an intriguing new wrinkle emerged:
The team flew in a top scout from one of their fiercest rivals for a chat.
Nick Caserio, the Patriots’ director of player personnel, interviewed with the team first thing Friday morning. The surprise interview ran through the early afternoon.
If the talk went well, he will be included in the group of finalists, who will meet with owner Stephen Ross again this weekend.
Caserio has spent the past 14 seasons with the Patriots, including 11 in player personnel. He becomes the eighth candidate to agree to an interview, including finalists Brian Gaine and Lake Dawson.
Speaking of Gaine, he had his second interview with the team not long after Caserio had his first. The Dolphins’ assistant general manager is a holdover from the Jeff Ireland regime, but team management is judging him on his own merits in this search.
Dawson, the Titans’ vice president of player personnel, will return for a final interview. Depending on what the Dolphins hear from those still in contention, a hire could come soon thereafter — conceivably over the weekend.
If so, it will bring a close to one of the more intriguing — and public — front-office searches in some time.
At least five candidates have removed their names from consideration, including Ray Farmer, who as recently as Wednesday was seen as a likely finalist — if not the outright front-runner.
Many of those who said thanks but no thanks did so because of uncertainty of the power structure in Miami.
The Dolphins also had interest in bringing back Jason Licht for a final interview, but Licht took the GM job in Tampa Bay. Buccaneers director of player personnel Dennis Hickey is also a potential finalist.
Caserio is the top personnel assistant to Bill Belichick and has helped assemble a roster that has won the past five AFC East championships.
Born in 1975, Caserio grew up in suburban Ohio and played college ball at John Carroll.
He has worked in the Patriots’ personnel department for the vast majority of his time in New England. Caserio also served as the team’s wide receivers coach in 2007.