Bill Belichick

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bill Belichick On Not Adding QB In Draft

We heard last month that Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft, is in the driver’s seat to open the 2020 season as the Patriots’ starting QB. But we also heard that New England was all but certain to select a rookie passer in this year’s draft in either the first round or with a mid-round choice, and that did not happen.

The Pats had the opportunity to select Utah State QB Jordan Love with the No. 23 overall pick, but they shipped that selection to the Chargers. They also had multiple chances to select passers like Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm, but they instead chose to address their defense and their thin TE depth chart.

So one of the big winners on draft night was Stidham, whom many believe is better than Love and the other QBs in this year’s class outside of the consensus top-three. Still, the fact that New England completely avoided the quarterback position until it agreed to sign UDFA J’Mar Smith came as a surprise to many, and head coach Bill Belichick was asked about the team’s approach in that regard.

“If we feel like we find the right situation, we’ll certainly draft [quarterbacks],” Belichick said (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com). “We’ve drafted them in multiple years, multiple points in the draft. Didn’t work out the last three days. That wasn’t by design. We just tried to do the best we could with what we had this weekend.”

Belichick stopped short of anointing Stidham the starter, however. “Jarrett had a good year last year,” the legendary HC said. “He improved a lot. We’ll see where that takes him.”

Per Reiss, Belichick also expressed confidence in veteran Brian Hoyer, who may be more suited to start at least the early stages of the 2020 season if Stidham is unable to get the necessary training camp reps due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club could theoretically pursue a player like Cam Newton or Andy Dalton, but rumors connecting those two to Foxborough have generally been shot down.

Another speculative fit, Jameis Winston, came off the board earlier today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brady Fallout: Bucs, Belichick, Colts, Hoyer

The Buccaneers‘ signing of the most accomplished free agent in NFL history triggered a ripple effect in several cities. That started in Charlotte. Although neither Bruce Arians nor Jason Licht spoke to Tom Brady until Wednesday of last week, the Bucs believed they had a “shell of a deal” with Brady by Tuesday, Peter King of NBC Sports reports. This was hours before the future Hall of Fame quarterback announced he would no longer return to the Patriots. The Bucs’ discussions with Brady’s agent, Don Yee, Tuesday prompted them to bow out of the Teddy Bridgewater pursuit, King adds. Bridgewater’s Panthers offer prompted the Bucs to give him an answer, and they chose to stay in the Brady pursuit without a full commitment. The Bucs had been linked to Bridgewater for weeks.

At February’s end, the Bucs’ quarterback hierarchy went Brady-Bridgewater-Jameis Winston, King notes. Tampa Bay had also been linked to Philip Rivers in February, but it became clear the Colts were his top option.

Here is the latest fallout from the Bucs’ Brady signing:

  • Brady’s camp expressed interest in the Colts, but King notes the interest was not mutual. The prospect of a Rivers-Colts partnership surfaced shortly after the Chargers revealed they would not re-sign him, and while the notion of Rivers-over-Brady sounds interesting based on the veterans’ accolades, Stephen Holder of The Athletic tweets the Colts’ preference of going with a one-year quarterback arrangement probably did not align with Brady’s hopes of a multiyear commitment. Rivers signed a one-year, $25MM deal; Brady became a Buccaneer for two years and $50MM fully guaranteed. Brady also expressed interest in the 49ers, and the Titans were a long-rumored suitor. These franchises joined the Colts and Raiders in leaving the Brady race early.
  • Early this offseason, Brady’s camp put out feelers to other teams, and ESPN.com’s Seth Wickersham notes many executives around the league viewed the quarterback as being driven by ill will toward Bill Belichick that they could not tell if he wanted out of New England or merely wanted Robert Kraft to step in and broker a new Pats deal. Belichick refused to give Brady the extension he sought last summer, and Wickersham adds that a Brady-Belichick conversation in late 2017 about the quarterback’s future with the Patriots ended with a “blowup.” This meeting appears to have happened just before Wickersham’s “tension in New England”-centered report that indicated Kraft’s intervention helped drive the Jimmy Garoppolo-to-San Francisco deal. The Patriots gave Brady an incentive package in 2018, leading to his extension-in-name-only 2019 contract.
  • As for the Patriots‘ plans, they may actually be planning a Brian HoyerJarrett Stidham quarterback battle. Hoyer could have earned more money elsewhere but wanted to return to New England because he was told he will have a chance to vie for the starting job, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (video link). The Patriots, as of now, do not have Andy Dalton on their radar and are viewed as being high on Stidham, who has attempted four NFL passes.

Latest On Tom Brady, Patriots

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady finally spoke about the future Hall of Fame quarterback’s contract. While the precise tone of these talks is in dispute, the sides do not appear close to a resolution that will keep the greatest player in Patriots history in New England.

While Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports the Belichick-Brady conversation was “business as usual” (Twitter link), NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran and the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian report the discussion did not go particularly well.

Brady’s contract expires March 18, and while it should not be ruled out the 42-year-old passer will return for a 21st Patriots season, the latest developments point to a better-than-expected chance he will depart. And the market for the all-time great may now include a fourth of the league.

As many as eight teams are “monitoring Brady’s free agency,” per ESPN.com’s Jeff Darlington, who adds that octet has varying degrees of interest in the Patriots quarterback. Among those, Darlington (via NBC Sports Boston) believes four would sign Brady “right now.” Identifying multiple teams who would do this is not especially difficult. Getting to four is tougher but doable.

Brady has been connected to the Chargers, Raiders, Titans, Colts, Giants, Dolphins, Buccaneers and now 49ers. Three of those teams — the Colts, Dolphins and Giants — are not expected to be real contenders. But the Titans, Bucs and the California teams have not been ruled out.

The Raiders have been not-so-secretly sought a Derek Carr upgrade since Jon Gruden‘s return, and the Chargers’ pursuit of one of the NFL’s most popular players makes sense from that particular organization’s perspective. Bruce Arians said he would consider signing Brady, while the Titans are run by an ex-Patriots exec (Jon Robinson) and ex-Brady teammate (Mike Vrabel). While a 49ers fit would be perhaps the strangest, given their employment of longtime Brady backup Jimmy Garoppolo, Brady is a northern California native.

With free agency still 13 days away, the Brady rumors — and talks of potential replacements for the Patriots — figure to heat up in that span.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Winters, Brown

Tom Brady‘s impending unrestricted free agency will be the largest story of the offseason. It remains unclear whether he will be returning to the Patriots or looking for a new home outside of New England. One important element of negotiations revolves around Brady’s relationship with owner Robert Kraft.

A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that he “wonders” if Kraft will instruct head coach and president Bill Belichick to do whatever is necessary to keep Brady in a Pats uniform. While little is known about Brady’s own preferences, the power dynamics within the organization itself could very well play a role as well.

  • Many expect Jets guard Brian Winters to be released to make $7MM in salary cap space, but Rich Cimini of ESPN notes that the organization might want to find a way to retain the guard at a reduced salary through a restructure. Winters, a seven-year veteran, has spent his entire career with the Jets and started 9 games for the team last season.
  • Former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown appears to be taking a larger role on the team’s coaching staff, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. Reiss noted that Brown, who has been on the Pats coaching staff in a limited capacity, was involved in meetings with prospects at the scouting combine.

Latest On Tom Brady, Patriots

Tom Brady‘s free agency decision is set to overshadow the rest of this year’s market. And with the Chargers and Raiders already linked to pursuing the future Hall of Fame passer, the Patriots’ offseason will be quite complicated.

A report surfaced recently indicating the Pats are prepared to give Brady a contract that pays him at least $30MM per season, which would put the 42-year-old quarterback near his top peers after several years of accepting team-friendly discounts. That report proved to be an annoyance to the Patriots, per NBC Sports Tom Curran, who adds the team has not delved into financial specifics just yet.

While it would still be somewhat surprising to see Brady part ways with Bill Belichick after the partnership produced six Super Bowl titles, some NFL insiders expect that to happen. Some around the league believe Brady departing is “all but a done deal,” Mike Jones of USA Today reports. Others within league circles expect the Pats to retain him, due to their lack of a successor in place and Robert Kraft‘s desire to see Brady stay.

Kraft has made his intentions clear; Belichick has not. The 21st-year Patriots coach, however, will not be forced to keep Brady, Curran adds. Although Kraft denied he pushed Belichick to trade Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017, a report indicated that happened. So the Kraft-Belichick dynamic will naturally be interesting as Brady prepares to be a first-time free agent.

Brady is expected to gauge the market, which will place the Pats in a bind. If they cannot extend Brady by March 17 — the final day of the 2019 league year — they will be tagged with $13.5MM in dead-money charges in 2020. If Brady re-signs, the Pats can spread that cap hit — created by the Patriots’ usage of void years to redo Brady’s deal last summer — across two seasons. Brady sought a multiyear commitment from the Patriots last year but did not receive it. The Patriots’ level of commitment may be more important to Brady than money, per Curran.

The Pats going into free agency with that dead-money hit and without an answer from Brady, however, will make improving their team more difficult. In an offseason that could feature more quarterback movement than usual, the Patriots would surely be in the market for a veteran passer to replace Brady. But not knowing if they’ll need to do so would tie the Pats’ hands.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Request Permission To Interview Dolphins DC

New Giants head coach Joe Judge continues working to fill out his staff. New York has requested permission to interview Dolphins defensive coordinator Patrick Graham for the same position, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. Garafolo adds that the request is expected to be granted.

Generally, teams are hesitant to allow their coaches to interview with other teams unless it is for a clear promotion. However, Judge worked with Graham and current Dolphins head coach Brian Flores with the Patriots, which may make Miami more willing to make an exception. Graham not only shares a history with Judge, but also worked with the Giants from 2016-17, serving as the team’s defensive line coach from 2016-17.

On the surface, it would seem like a surprise for a coach on a 5-11 team to be receiving outside interest, but entering the season many wondered if the Dolphins would manage to win any games. Miami clearly entered the season with a tank in mind, making minimal free agent additions last offseason and trading the team’s best offensive lineman (Laremy Tunsil), defensive back (Minkah Fitzpatrick), and wide receiver (Kenny Stills) early in the season. While the Dolphins are by no means a legitimate contender, they finished the season winning three of their final five games, including wins against the Eagles and Patriots.

Since Judge was relatively unknown before the Giants announced his hiring this week, little is known about the people he might target to fill out his staff. At least to start, it appears he will continue to look to the Bill Belichick coaching tree.

Coaching Notes: Rhule, Giants, Cowboys

Even after Joe Judge‘s standout interview Monday led to him becoming the Giants‘ head coach, the franchise still had Matt Rhule as their preferred candidate. The Panthers‘ seven-year, $62MM offer to the Baylor head coach essentially prompted the Giants to fold their hand on this front, with Ralph Vacchiano of SNY noting Big Blue balked at the contract length and salary. Rhule’s $8.9MM salary makes him the sixth-highest-paid coach in the league — behind Bill Belichick ($12MM per year), Pete Carroll ($11MM AAV), Jon Gruden ($10MM), Sean Payton ($9.8MM) and John Harbaugh ($9MM). The Panthers also paid Baylor a $6MM buyout, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Just months ago, Rhule agreed to an extension with the Big 12 program.

Here is the latest from the coaching front:

  • In addition to missing out on the Ron Rivera boat, the Giants wanted to speak with Mike McCarthy again, Vacchiano adds. The Cowboys swooping in prevented such an opportunity.
  • Big Blue received a ringing Judge endorsement from Belichick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The former Giants defensive coordinator and six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach called the Giants to sell them on Judge’s credentials, despite his non-traditional candidacy as a special teams coordinator.
  • Shifting to McCarthy’s Cowboys staff, the team is expected to hire Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel to the same position, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Fassel’s contract was up. The second-generation NFL coach will relocate to Dallas after spending eight seasons with the Rams. Fassel came over from the Raiders in 2012, when Jeff Fisher took over in St. Louis, and stayed on with Sean McVay‘s team for three seasons. Fassel served as Rams interim HC in 2016, after the franchise fired Fisher. The Rams are losing their DC and ST coordinators, with Wade Phillips also out of the picture.
  • Other candidates have surfaced to relocate to Texas. Cowboys assistants expect Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan to be named Dallas’ new defensive coordinator, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Nolan was the 49ers’ head coach in 2005, when McCarthy served as San Francisco’s OC. Additionally, Redskins defensive line coach Jim Tomsula is on McCarthy’s radar, per Pelissero (on Twitter). Tomsula was the 49ers’ HC in 2015 and has been the Redskins’ D-line coach since 2017.
  • The Bengals and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons have agreed to an extension, Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). A longtime Dolphins ST boss, Simmons interviewed for the Bengals’ HC job last year and joined Cincinnati’s staff as a key assistant after the top job went to Zac Taylor. Despite Cincinnati’s 2-14 record, the team ranked first in special teams DVOA under its first-year leader.

Patriots Likely To Face Discipline For Video Incident

DEC. 15: Jay Glazer of FOX Sports obtained the much-ballyhooed video, and as Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic tweets, it does indeed contain extended (read: not accidental) footage of the Bengals’ sideline. The video also includes interaction between the Bengals and Patriots staffs, and as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes, when the Bengals confronted the Patriots, the Patriots rep said, “I can delete this right here for you.” The Bengals rep then said, “the damage is done.” Florio believes that dialogue supports New England’s position that the taping of Cincinnati’s sidelines was inadvertent, while skeptics will argue that the Pats were caught red-handed and were just trying to save face.

DEC. 14: It seems like the Patriots aren’t going to be exonerated of wrongdoing by the league for the videotaping incident that dominated headlines this past week. For a full primer on the scandal, click here.

The NFL is “likely to penalize” New England, sources tell Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Maske writes that the league office is “contemplating disciplinary measures in line with those imposed on teams in recent seasons for infractions of game-day rules.” As for the type of punishment, he writes that it could “mean a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially the loss or reduction in value of a draft choice, typically a lower-level pick.” Likewise, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports hears that the team is facing “significant punishment,” which is likely to include the loss of at least one draft pick, heavy fines, and the possibility of a suspension for a member of upper management and/or ownership.

Maske highlights a number of incidents that sources indicated could serve as precedents. The Giants were fined $150K back in 2016 for using walkie-talkies on the sideline, and the Falcons were fined $350K for artificially adding crowd noise in 2015. One source told him that the NFL has been “consistent on game-day violations,” and that will likely continue here. Fortunately for the Pats, Maske writes that Bill Belichick and individual members of the organization aren’t being targeted for potential punishments.

While Roger Goodell had previously said that the Patriots’ history with illegal videotaping would be taken into account, Maske writes that neither Belichick nor anybody else are being “viewed as repeat offenders.” He adds that the penalties aren’t set in stone yet, and deliberations in the league office will resume on Sunday.

The league is apparently hoping for a resolution as soon as possible, so we should know more shortly. All things considered, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to be cracking down too hard or hitting the Patriots with anything too severe. The organization likely wouldn’t lose much sleep over a fine, although obviously a potential draft pick sanction would be much more significant. Notably, Atlanta was docked a fifth-round pick in 2016 for the incident that Maske says is being used as a comparison.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.