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    The Many Miami Dolphins Connections in ‘Hard Knocks: Offseason With the New York Giants’

    A decade ago, Dennis Hickey and Joe Schoen were running the Miami Dolphins. Now they're running the New York Giants and playing lead roles in "Hard Knocks."

    The NFL and NFL Films couldn’t in good conscience force the Miami Dolphins to suffer through back-to-back “Hard Knocks” seasons — no matter how entertaining the first run was.

    So they did the next best thing: They made the focus of their first-ever offseason “Hard Knocks” a front office with a heavy Dolphins influence.

    Ex-Miami Dolphins the Stars of Hard Knocks: Offseason With the New York Giants

    The long-running HBO reality TV show has a new twist in 2024. For the first time, the show is documenting a franchise’s offseason team-building process, and the NFL picked the New York Giants to be the test subject.

    The leading character? Giants general manager Joe Schoen, who spent nine seasons in the Dolphins personnel department early in his career.

    Schoen was a Dolphins area scout from 2008-2012, the team’s assistant director of college scouting in 2013, and then Miami’s director of player personnel for three years before reuniting with longtime friend Brandon Beane in Buffalo.

    Schoen served as Beane’s top lieutenant for five seasons before accepting the Giants’ GM job in 2022.

    During his time in Miami, he worked with Dennis Hickey (who was the Dolphins’ general manager from 2014 to 2015) and Chris Rossetti (a pro personnel scout who was with the franchise for seven years).

    New York Giants’ Aqua and Orange Personnel Department

    When Schoen got the Giants job, he asked Hickey and Rossetti to join him in Gotham. Hickey (who also worked with Schoen in Buffalo) is New York’s assistant director of player personnel.

    Rossetti serves as the Giants’ director of pro scouting. In his current role, he is responsible (per his Giants bio) for “overseeing the team’s pro scouting efforts, which include player evaluations, managing depth charts, organizing tryouts and monitoring transactions around the NFL as well as other professional leagues.”

    That is a hugely important role year-round, but particularly in the first three months of the year. The first “Hard Knocks” episode revealed that Rossetti ran the team’s pro scouting discussions ahead of the Giants’ 2024 free agency, leading a conversation in January that helped inform Schoen’s decisions in March.

    MORE: Dolphins Depth Chart Predictions: Where Things Stand Entering Camp

    The top storyline of Episode 1, which debuted last week, was how Schoen decided to allow running back Saquon Barkley to walk in free agency. But Dolphins fans likely found Rossetti’s scouting report of 2024 free agent Christian Wilkins as the most interesting part of the show.

    Back in January, New York discussed the possibility of pairing Wilkins with his former Clemson teammate, Dexter Lawrence II, to form the best defensive tackle tandem in football.

    The Giants ultimately decided to spend their money elsewhere, and Rossetti’s measured evaluation of Wilkins was probably a contributing factor.

    “I don’t think he’s a difference-making pass rusher on third down, which we need opposite Dex,” said Rossetti, who was in the Dolphins’ personnel department when Chris Grier took Wilkins in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

    “But a really good football player who will do well for himself.”

    Wilkins certainly did. In March, he signed a four-year, $110 million free agent contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

    Schoen, Hickey, and Rossetti hope their second go-round as a unit goes better than their first.

    In their two years working together in Miami, the Dolphins went 14-18, with Hickey losing a power struggle with Miami exec Mike Tannebaum pretty early in his doomed time as Dolphins general manager.

    The signature transaction of Hickey’s time as lead man in the front office? Signing Ndamukong Suh to a six-year, $114.4 million contract — at the time the richest ever awarded to a defensive player.

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    The contract hamstrung the Dolphins’ ability to build a complete team, and the decision foiled any chance Joe Philbin had to save his job. He was fired four games into the 2015 season, and Hickey was out a few months later.

    Now he’s back in the spotlight, this time in a supporting role. The five-part series continues this week. Episode 2 will debut on HBO Tuesday at 9 p.m.

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