MOBILE, Ala. -- The threesome that led the Miami Dolphins' turnaround this season gathered in Mobile seeking further upgrades.
Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells, general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano sat side by side in the bleachers Tuesday as many of the nation's best seniors practiced for the Senior Bowl. Last year, with the Dolphins' regime in transition, only Ireland made the trip to Mobile.
"We think a lot alike, and it's nice to sit up there next to them and say, 'Hey Bill, look, this is the guy I was telling you about; hey Tony, take a look at that guy,"' Ireland said. "So the more eyes on these guys that you have, it's better. We all like what we do.
"We all love the personnel side of this thing and it's a lot of fun to be there with these guys."
Under the Parcells regime, Miami improved from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-6 and a playoff berth in 2008.
Ireland studied every player at the Senior Bowl, saying the uncertainty of draft day and free agency make it important to assess players projected to go much higher than where the Dolphins will make their first selection.
"Anything's possible in the draft. You can move up or you can move back," Ireland said.
Some of the Dolphins' needs are directly tied to free agency. Middle linebacker Channing Crowder, right tackle Vernon Carey, cornerback Andre Goodman and safeties Yeremiah Bell and Renaldo Hill are unrestricted free agents.
"I think the players that we're negotiating with, they know where we stand on things," Ireland said. "I think the negotiations are going OK. They're not fast and furious right now, but again, they know where we stand and the agents know where we stand, so there's good communication."
He said Miami could keep all of its free agents but could also lose at least a couple.
One player acquired through free agency last year who did not pan out was receiver Ernest Wilford, who caught just three passes for 25 yards and was inactive for nine games. He received a $6 million signing bonus after being signed to a $13 million, four-year contract.
Ireland was evasive on Wilford's future with the team.
"We haven't sat down and really visited with Ernest yet, so we plan on doing that here before too long," he said. "We're not quite sure yet. Right now he's a player on our roster and we're expecting him back."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press