Brad Holmes

Lions GM Discusses QB Position, Draft

Following the Jared Goff/Matthew Stafford trade, the Lions quarterback depth chart is already going to look a whole lot different in 2021. Based on some recent comments from general manager Brad Holmes, it might not just be the top of the depth chart that’ll see changes. During an appearance on the Huddle and Flow podcast, the executive noted that the team will definitely consider drafting a quarterback, even with the seventh-overall pick.

“I don’t think when you’re picking this high that you can be ‘out’ on any position,” Holmes said. “But obviously, quarterback is such an important position and I just think it’s good drafting business, always, to be very, very thorough on that quarterback class – regardless of what your situation is. When I was with the Rams, I always said, regardless of what you have at quarterback [you have to be thorough], and especially now, it’s the same approach. It is a good crop coming out this year, but it’s definitely not a position that will be ignored by us by any means.”

This isn’t a massive surprise. After all, Goff has underwhelmed over the past two seasons, and the quarterback obviously wasn’t the main asset acquired in the Stafford deal (that honor belongs to the pair of future first-rounders). However, the team still has at least two (pricey) years of Goff, so they can take a patient approach at the position knowing Goff will probably be under center for at least 2021.

We leaned earlier this week that even the Lions’ backup quarterbacks aren’t safe. The front office has reportedly had trade discussions with teams about backup Chase Daniel.

Lions To Add John Dorsey To Front Office

The Lions have a brand new power structure, having recently hired Brad Holmes as general manager and Dan Campbell as head coach. Now, Detroit is adding a more experienced voice to the mix, with Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reporting that the team is expected to hire John Dorsey as a senior personnel executive (Twitter link). Dorsey, 60, had been working as a consultant for the Eagles.

Dorsey, who drew interest from the Texans for their GM post before Houston elected to hire Nick Caserio, has served as general manager for both the Chiefs and Browns. Neither of those tenures ended on a particularly positive note, but that wasn’t due to Dorsey’s abilities as a talent evaluator. His reputation in that area is sterling, and he is largely responsible for the construction of the current iteration of the Browns — who nearly advanced to the AFC Championship Game this year — and for Kansas City’s starry corps of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce.

In addition to his drafting of Mahomes and Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield while serving as a general manager, Dorsey was the Packers’ director of college scouting when Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005. And as a young scout in 1994, he recommended that the Packers sign Kurt Warner as a UDFA.

His eye for quarterback talent is especially important this year, as the Lions are preparing to trade Matthew Stafford and may well turn to the draft for his replacement. Plus, Dorsey’s experience should be an asset to Holmes, who is getting his first shot as a GM after working as the Rams’ director of college scouting for the past eight seasons.

Campbell will also have a major role in personnel decisions, as Justin Rogers of the Detroit News writes. Rather than a traditional HC-GM-owner structure, Holmes, Campbell, and vice president of football operations Mike Disner will report directly to president Rod Wood and owner Sheila Ford Hamp.

Lions To Hire Brad Holmes As GM

The Lions have agreed to hire Rams’ director of college scouting Brad Holmes as their new GM, (Twitter link via’s Adam Schefter). Holmes will receive a five-year deal, tying him to the club through the 2025 season.

Holmes worked his way up as talent evaluator in the Rams organization, the only franchise he’s ever known as an exec. He began as a public relations intern in St. Louis. Today, he’s the leader of the Lions’ front office.

Holmes, 41, pushed the Rams to select Aaron Donald No. 13 overall in 2014. The Lions had their chance to get the most dominant defensive lineman since Ndamukong Suh — they chose tight end Eric Ebron instead. Holmes is also credited with choosing Jared Goff over Carson Wentz in 2016.

I think he would do an excellent job (as GM),” said Holmes’ former North Carolina A&T coach Bill Hayes (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “I know he’s going to put in the work. That’s the first thing about it, he’s going to put in the work, he’s going to make the effort and he’s a team guy all the way. He’s not one of those egotistical maniacs. He’s going to be a team guy. He can be trusted. He’s extremely trustworthy, so I feel strongly that he would do a super job.”

Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot was also a leading candidate for the job, but he appears to be on the cusp of landing with the Falcons. With Holmes in place, the Lions will zero in on their head coaching search.

2021 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

This year’s NFL GM carousel figures to be more active than usual. The Falcons, Lions, Panthers, Texans, and Jaguars are all on the hunt for a new front office leader. And that’s only the official list. The real tally shows six clubs looking for a GM, since the Washington Football Team is expected to install a GM to work alongside head coach Ron Rivera. By mid-January, we could easily see a couple more jobs opening up — that’d put ~25% of the NFL on the market.

We’ll keep track of the GM candidates for each club here, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make general manager changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here’s the current breakdown:

Updated 1-19-21 (7:02pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers 

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Football Team

Latest On Lions GM Search

Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes is in Detroit for a second interview, which will occur Tuesday. He is the first such GM candidate to meet with the Lions a second time during this cycle. He may not be the only exec the Lions meet with twice.

The Lions want to bring Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Saints execs Jeff Ireland and Terry Fontenot back for second meetings, according to Albert Breer of (on Twitter). Detroit also added Indianapolis assistant GM Ed Dodds to its interview list, meeting with him Tuesday. The Lions were evidently impressed, with Breer noting they would like to speak with Dodds again.

Dodds recently bowed out of the wide-ranging Panthers GM search, leaving only the Lions pursuing him. The former Seahawks exec may be connected to another ex-Seattle staffer. The Lions have been connected to 49ers DC Robert Saleh about their HC vacancy for weeks, and the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers notes some believe Dodds would want to bring Saleh with him to Detroit (Twitter link). Saleh and Dodds were both with the Seahawks from 2011-13, though Saleh was only a defensive quality control coach at that point.

A Michigan native, Saleh interviewed for the Lions job last week but remains in the mix for other gigs — a list that now includes Philadelphia. Saleh has also been connected to an Adam Peters HC-GM pairing, but Peters is not a Lions GM candidate.

Paton and Fontenot remain in the mix for the Broncos GM post, having booked second interviews with Denver. While the longtime Vikings exec has been quite particular in past GM searches, he has remained a sought-after candidate. Fontenot, who interviewed for the Jets’ GM job in 2019, and Ireland — the former Dolphins GM — each went through virtual interviews for the Detroit job last week. Holmes is a Falcons finalist as well.

Brad Holmes Interviewing With Lions And Falcons A Second Time

Rams exec Brad Holmes appears to be picking up steam as general manager searches continue across the league. Holmes is flying to Detroit for a second interview with the Lions tonight, Adam Schefter of tweets.

Los Angeles’ director of college scouting also had a second interview with the Falcons over the weekend, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. Schefter writes that Holmes is now “tracking to land a GM job.” Given the success the Rams have had in the Sean McVay era, it’s not too surprising he’s turning into a hot name. Pelissero writes that Holmes is one of the finalists for Atlanta’s job, along with Saints exec Terry Fontenot, and that former Texans GM Rick Smith is still in the mix there as well.

Holmes has had a remarkable journey, staring with the Rams as a PR intern all the way back in 2003 and rising up the ranks of the organization ever since. He became the director of college scouting in 2013. The Lions had been interested in luring John Schneider away from Seattle, but with Schneider getting an extension through 2027 earlier today, that obviously isn’t happening.

GM Interviews: Lions, Falcons, Panthers

It’s been a very busy Monday after Week 17 so far, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. There are a number of GM openings around the league, and interview requests for execs are flying in. Let’s get you caught up on all the latest:

  • Saints VP/assistant GM for pro personnel Terry Fontenot is scheduled to interview for the Lions GM job on Tuesday and the Falcons GM job on Wednesday, Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. The Falcons have also requested a GM interview with Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). Along with Rick Smith, these were the top names expected to be in the mix in Atlanta. Fontenot isn’t the only Saints exec in the mix, as New Orleans assistant GM Jeff Ireland has been requested by the Panthers and Lions, Pelissero tweets.
  • Finally (for now), the Lions are also going to interview Vikings assistant GM George Paton, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Rapsheet says both Paton and Fontenot are “very strong candidates” for the Detroit job. Paton has drawn interest before, and has been in Minnesota’s front office since the 2007 season.
  • The Panthers are casting a wide net, and they’re also requesting to interview Chiefs assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles for the vacancy created by Marty Hurney’s firing, Rapoport tweets. One more, as Carolina has officially requested to interview 49ers VP of Player Personnel Adam Peters, Rapoport tweets. We had heard they might have some interest in Peters, and Rapoport notes that he spent time with head coach Matt Rhule at UCLA and is “one to watch” here.
  • The Falcons have requested Colts college scouting director Morocco Brown, Pelissero tweets. Indy’s GM Chris Ballard is very highly regarded, so it’s not surprising that teams are digging into some of his deputies. Brown previously had personnel roles with Cleveland (2014-15) and Washington (2008-13).

Lions Notes: GM/HC Search, Stafford, Wood

Lions president Rod Wood confirmed recently hired exec Chris Spielman is involved in the team’s coaching search, and Wood — a self-proclaimed non-football guy — has helped make some football decisions during the team’s time in between GMs, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Wood did, however, describe his role as more of a suggestion box or sounding board to the team’s current front office. As far as the Lions’ HC and GM searches, the team’s president offered a vague description of how this search is unfolding differently.

One of the things that I think we’re doing differently that didn’t occur, at least in the searches I was involved in with Bob (Quinn) and Matt (Patricia) is really identifying what we want for a Detroit Lion coach and general manager. Not what some other team may want, but what do the Detroit Lions want?” Wood said, via Birkett. “So we’ve been discussing and detailing a lot of very specific criteria that is unique to us.”

The Lions may well be seeking a scouting type for the GM role, and Albert Breer of adds Detroit’s next coach would not need to be an offensive genius to land the job. Michigan native Robert Saleh has surfaced as an early frontrunner. Here is the latest from Detroit:

  • The Lions have interviewed eight candidates thus far for their GM position. They are not expected to stop there. The organization expects to venture well beyond 10 interviewees for this role, Breer tweets. Thus far, the Lions have interviewed unattached and internal candidates, with Rick Smith, Scott Pioli and Louis Riddick being the biggest names involved thus far.
  • One of the lower-profile candidates, however, may have some momentum. Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes is expected to be interviewed, and Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets Holmes is viewed as a serious candidate to succeed Quinn. Holmes has been with the Rams for 18 years. The Lions will have competition, however. The Falcons are also expected to meet with Holmes.
  • Regarding head coach interviews, the Lions have waited. They are not opting to take advantage of a recent NFL rule change that allowed virtual interviews with candidates, Breer tweets. The franchise will then go through the usual search process, which can begin next week.
  • While Matthew Stafford has been the Lions’ QB1 since arriving in 2009, he has been mentioned in trade speculation for a bit now. The next coach hired will be Stafford’s fourth full-time HC, and the next GM will be the third of Stafford’s career. Some in the Lions organization are wondering if Stafford would be willing to be part of another rebuild, per Jeremy Fowler of Stafford was involved in trade rumors earlier this year, but Quinn shot down that possibility and kept the 32-year-old passer. With Stafford’s $27MM-per-year contract no longer close to the top of the QB market, teams will be interested in the cannon-armed passer — should the next Lions regime entertain offers. A few AFC teams — like the Broncos, Colts or Patriots — and the 49ers profile as teams that could be interested in the veteran.

Lions To Interview Rams’ Brad Holmes

The Lions will interview Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes for their GM job, as Lindsay Thiry of tweets. The Lions are at least the second team to show interest in Holmes as the Falcons are also planning to meet with him.

[RELATED: Falcons Show Interest In Holmes]

Holmes first joined the Rams 18 years ago and joined them for the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles. He’s been in his current role for the last eight years, forging an impressive career after his playing days at North Carolina A&T. Holmes — who has been stationed out of Atlanta to scout ACC and SEC talent — may have to do some winter clothes shopping if he relocates to Detroit.

Already, the Lions have interviewed ex-Texans GM Rick Smith, former Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, and ESPN analyst/longtime NFC East exec Louis Riddick. The next GM should have some say in the team’s head coaching vacancy, which currently belongs to interim HC Darrell Bevell (not to be confused with interim interim HC, Robert Prince).

Falcons To Interview Rick Smith, Terry Fontenot, Brad Holmes For GM Job

The Falcons’ reported interest in Rick Smith and Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot will lead to interviews, and more candidates are surfacing for the post. Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes will join the pair in interviewing for the Falcons’ GM position, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Smith landed an NFL GM gig before recently fired Falcons personnel boss Thomas Dimitroff, rising to that post in Houston in 2006. Smith stayed in that job for 12 years, stepping down after the 2017 season to care for his wife after a breast cancer diagnosis. Tiffany Smith died in January 2019. Rick Smith expressed interest in returning to an executive role late last year and was connected to the yet-to-be-filled Washington GM vacancy earlier this year. A clearer path may emerge in Atlanta.

Fontenot surfaced in the Jets’ GM search last year, interviewing for the job that went to Joe Douglas, and was connected to the Falcons recently. Promoted from Saints pro scouting director to assistant GM earlier this year, Fontenot has been with the Falcons’ top rival for 16 years.

Holmes has lived in Atlanta for several years, scouting ACC and SEC talent, and is serving under ex-Falcons exec Les Snead with the Rams. Snead rose to his current role after working under Falcons president Rich McKay from 2009-11. Holmes has been with the Rams throughout Snead’s eight-plus-year tenure.

Should the Falcons hire Fontenot or Holmes, it would lead to the NFL sending draft picks to another NFC team. The NFL passed a recent initiative aimed at increasing minority hires for GM posts. Both Fontenot and Holmes are Black, which would lead to either the Saints or Rams receiving two Round 3 picks if they were hired for the Falcons post. Smith is also Black but does not apply to this newly implemented rule, being an executive free agent.

It is unclear when these interviews will take place, but the Falcons can begin that process sooner than their coaching interview circuit. The Falcons fired Dimitroff and Dan Quinn in October after an 0-5 start.