Chris Grier is entering his 20th season with the Miami Dolphins and fourth as the club’s general manager.
Chris Grier enters his 20th season with the Miami Dolphins and fourth as the club’s general manager. Grier was appointed general manager on Jan. 4, 2016 after spending the previous nine years as the team’s director of college scouting. As of Dec. 31, 2018, he oversees all football operations in an effort to build a championship-caliber football team. Prior to that, Grier oversaw the draft, both college and pro personnel departments and all scouting efforts.
The 2018 draft saw Grier and his personnel department net several key contributors. Two of his draft picks – safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (first round) and linebacker Jerome Baker (third round) – were among the top 12 rookie tacklers in the league and became the first pair of rookie teammates to record pick-sixes in the same season since 2015 (Green Bay). Kicker Jason Sanders, who was drafted in the seventh round, converted 18-of-20 field goal attempts (90.0 pct.) for the fifth-best single-season field goal percentage in team history. Fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage rushed for 123 yards in a Week 15 contest at Minnesota, the most by a Dolphins rookie since 2005 (Ronnie Brown).
In 2017, the Dolphins finished the season with 10 rookies on the active roster and four more on injured reserve or non-football illness lists. Miami was one of just three teams to play eight rookies on defense and one of just six to have at least four rookies start games on defense. Six undrafted rookie free agents contributed to the team that season. Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux finished his rookie campaign fourth among all NFL defensive linemen with 40 tackles (26 solo), despite being a fifth-round pick. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan missed the entire season with an injury, but rebounded with 105 tackles (69 solo) in 2018, becoming the first Dolphins player since at least 2000 with 100-plus tackles in his first NFL season.
In his first draft as general manager in 2016, Grier selected cornerback Xavien Howard in the second round. Howard tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions in 2018, earning his first Pro Bowl selection and was named the Dan Marino Team MVP. Grier and his staff also selected offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, who started 14 games as a rookie and became the first offensive lineman in franchise history to start at least one game at both guard and tackle in his rookie year. According to STATS LLC, Tunsil was the only left tackle in the NFL to start at least 14 games and allow one or fewer sacks in 2018.
The team also drafted running back Kenyan Drake and wide receiver Jakeem Grant in 2016, who became just the second rookie duo in team history to combine for a kickoff return and punt return for a touchdown in the same season. In 2018, Drake tied a Dolphins running back record with five receiving touchdowns and Grant was one of just two NFL players to return to kicks (one punt and one kickoff) for touchdowns.
Grier helped turn more than half the roster over in 2016, as the team entered training camp with more than 45 new players acquired during the offseason. The results were a four-game improvement from the previous season, the fifth-best mark in the NFL. The Dolphins finished 10-6 with a playoff berth, the team’s best record and first playoff appearance since 2008.
As the team’s director of college scouting (2007-15), Grier was part of a front office that discovered numerous Pro Bowl players. During that time, the Dolphins drafted seven players that have combined for 14 Pro Bowl selections with the team. The list includes tackle Jake Long (2008-10), defensive tackle Paul Soliai (2011), punter Brandon Fields (2013), center Mike Pouncey (2013-15), safety Reshad Jones (2015; 2017), wide receiver Jarvis Landry (2015-17) and running back Jay Ajayi (2016).
Grier also did a good job of finding value late in drafts. Jones was a fifth-round pick in 2010 and was named the team’s co-MVP following the 2015 season after he became the first player in team history to record at least 100 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks in a season. Ajayi was also a fifth-round pick (2015) and became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 200 yards in three games during the same season. Ajayi’s 1,272 rushing yards in 2016 were third-most in Dolphins history.
Prior to being the team’s director of college scouting, Grier served as an area scout with the club from 2000-02, before being promoted to national scout/assistant director of college scouting in 2003. Miami won the AFC East during his first season with the team.
Grier started with the New England Patriots as an intern in 1994. He joined the club on a full-time basis the following year, and served as a regional scout until joining the Dolphins in 2000. In 1996, Grier was part of a New England staff that won the AFC Championship. He helped scout several players for a Patriots roster that went on to win Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX.
Grier has worked with several of football’s most successful coaches and executives throughout his career and that has helped shape his football philosophy. His father, Bobby Grier, is the former vice president of player personnel for the Patriots and recently retired as a senior personnel advisor with the Houston Texans. Chris has also worked with and learned under Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban.
Grier attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he majored in journalism and played football for two years before injuries ended his career. He spent his final two years there as an undergraduate assistant.
Chris’ brother, Michael, played for the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League. He is currently an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils.
A native of Holliston, Mass., Grier resides in Weston with his wife, Paige, and their two sons, Landon and Jackson.