FEBRUARY 26: The Wooden hire is now official, per a team announcement. The veteran executive will hold the title of senior director of player personnel, meaning he will be able to carry on in the same capacity as his time paired with Telesco with the Chargers.
FEBRUARY 8: Tom Telesco will bring one of his former lieutenants to the desert. The staffer who replaced Telesco as Chargers GM to close out the season, JoJo Wooden, is expected to join the Raiders.
Wooden, who worked alongside Telesco for 11 years in San Diego and Los Angeles, is set to become a key part of the next Raiders front office structure, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports. Prior to finishing out the season in the interim Bolts GM role, Wooden was in place as the team’s director of player personnel.
Although the Chargers interviewed Wooden for their GM job, no other teams brought him in for a meeting this offseason. The Raiders did not interview Wooden in 2022, though both the Bears and Steelers brought him in to discuss their GM jobs that year. Wooden, 54, has been a front office staffer in the NFL since 1997.
Telesco did not work with Wooden during his long-running Colts stay; the latter spent more than a decade with the Jets prior to trekking to San Diego in 2013. The former Syracuse defender started his personnel career during Bill Parcells‘ stay with the Jets in the late ’90s and stayed in New York through the 2012 season. Wooden rose to the role of assistant director of player personnel with the Jets, rising up the ranks on the scouting side.
Telesco hired Wooden as his player personnel director upon taking over as GM in 2013; the latter will bring extensive experience as a high-ranking FO staffer. The Raiders will rely on a Chargers blueprint they viewed in a positive light, despite their AFC West rivals’ frequent underachievement on the field.
With Jim Harbaugh reshaping the Chargers’ front office, hiring longtime Ravens execs Joe Hortiz and Chad Alexander to lead the way in L.A., Wooden did not appear to have a realistic chance of sticking around. The ex-Chargers bastions will go about competing with Harbaugh, along with Andy Reid and Sean Payton, in Las Vegas. While Harbaugh, Reid and Payton are the top figures with the other AFC West teams, the Raiders are the only one to have installed a GM atop their decision-making hierarchy. Telesco will control the Raiders’ roster.