After Monti Ossenfort landed the Cardinals’ general manager gig, the other top Jon Robinson lieutenant remains in the race for the Titans’ top front office post. Ryan Cowden is one of three confirmed finalists for the job.
Tennessee is planning second interviews with Cowden, 49ers exec Ran Carthon and Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Titans have gone through six GM interviews thus far. Cutting the field in half could well mean this is the finalist contingent to succeed Robinson. Cunningham has already gone through his second interview, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, who notes the meeting occurred Monday (Twitter link).
His ties to Robinson notwithstanding, Cowden’s inclusion as a finalist is unsurprising. The Titans named Cowden as interim GM upon firing Robinson, and he shared personnel responsibilities with Mike Vrabel to close out the season. Cowden has been with the Titans since 2016, coming over from the Panthers shortly after the team hired Robinson, and has received two title bumps during his time with the team.
Cunningham advanced to the finals of the Cardinals’ GM search as well. The Bears exec is believed to have finished second for that position, according to veteran NFL reporter Mike Jurecki (on Twitter). Even that illustrates the progress Cunningham has made over the past year. He was one of four Eagles execs who rose to assistant GM positions in 2022, being the first to see one of those promotions. The Bears hired Cunningham to work as Ryan Poles‘ top lieutenant, and he is currently playing a lead role in the team’s rebuild.
The Titans requested GM interviews with both Carthon and fellow 49ers exec Adam Peters, but the latter declined a meeting. With Peters being viewed as the likelier John Lynch successor among the two, Carthon’s best path toward a GM job likely will be with another organization. Carthon, 41, has been the 49ers’ pro personnel director since Lynch’s 2017 arrival but has held high-ranking roles with two teams. Prior to coming to San Francisco, Carthon served as Rams director of player personnel under Les Snead from 2012-16. The son of former Giants fullback Maurice Carthon, Ran has been an NFL staffer since 2008.