Chris Polian

Washington Adds Chris Polian To Front Office

After not employing a general manager in 2020, Washington now has three ex-GMs in its front office. The team hired former Colts GM Chris Polian on Monday.

Joining Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney in Washington’s new-look front office, Polian will serve as the team’s director of pro personnel. The former Colts GM was out of the league last season but was with the Jaguars from 2013-19.

The son of Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, Chris served as Indianapolis’ GM from 2009-11 and has been an NFL staffer since 1994 — when the yet-to-debut Panthers, run by Bill Polian, hired him. Chris Polian has not worked with Mayhew or Hurney previously, despite Hurney’s 1998 Carolina arrival. The Polians were in Indianapolis by then. But the younger Polian was connected to the Lions’ GM search to replace Mayhew in 2015. He also was in the mix for the Titans’ GM job that went to Jon Robinson in 2016.

Chris Polian will succeed Eric Stokes as Washington’s pro personnel director, but Stokes is still with the team. The GM candidate is now serving as Washington’s senior director of player personnel. Ron Rivera and Kyle Smith served as Washington’s top personnel execs last year. Smith is now with the Falcons, while Rivera will remain a key presence on this front. In addition to Smith, Washington parted ways with assistant director of pro scouting Jeff Scott, per John Keim of Scott received a promotion just last summer.

Jaguars To Hire Trent Baalke

Trent Baalke will resurface in Jacksonville. More than three years after the 49ers fired him from the GM post he held for much of the 2010s, Baalke will join the Jaguars as their director of player personnel, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

The Jaguars are replacing Chris Polian with Baalke, per Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Polian had been with the Jags since Dave Caldwell came aboard as GM in 2013. This will be Baalke’s first role with a non-49ers team in 16 years.

Baalke, 55, worked his way up the ladder in San Francisco, going from regional scout to GM. His tenure produced notable clashes with Jim Harbaugh and ended with the 49ers becoming the first team to have back-to-back one-and-done HCs in nearly 40 years, but Baalke did team with Harbaugh to lift the 49ers to their most consistently strong stretch since the 1990s. The 49ers trekked to three straight NFC championship games from 2011-13 and came close to winning Super Bowl XLVII.

In 2017, Baalke joined the league office as a football operations consultant. This represents a key opportunity for the former 49ers, Jets and Redskins staffer. Baalke began his career with the Jets in the late 1990s before being a Redskins scout for four seasons in the early 2000s.

Polian was once linked to the 49ers’ GM job in 2017. That job went to John Lynch, who has played a key role in resurrecting a franchise that had endured a steep freefall in Baalke’s final years. Baalke hires Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly went a combined 7-25 between the 2015-16 seasons. A second-generation NFLer, Chris Polian had served under father Bill Polian in Indianapolis during the latter’s tenure there. Chris Polian re-emerged in Jacksonville and rose from pro personnel director to player personnel director during his lengthy tenure.

This hire comes shortly after Shad Khan surprised some by announcing Caldwell and Doug Marrone would return for another season, despite the Jags having fallen far since the 2017 AFC title game. Caldwell figures to enter the 2020 season on the hot set, but Baalke will attempt to help this regime right the ship.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Raiders, Reggie McKenzie

On Monday afternoon, the Raiders released a statement to confirm the firing of longtime GM Reggie McKenzie.

We are grateful for everything Reggie has done for this organization as a player, executive and member of the Raider family,” the statement read. “The Raiders will immediately begin a search for a new front office executive.”

Curiously, the statement indicates that the Raiders will look “for a new front office executive,” which may mean that the club will not give anyone the title of GM for 2019.

Here’s the latest out of Oakland:

  • Those in the building say that Gruden actually liked McKenzie, even as Gruden picked apart the roster that he built, Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. Things weren’t outwardly contentious between the two men, Breer hears, and he notes that McKenzie’s decision to set high asking prices for Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper actually paid off. Before each deal, there was speculation that McKenzie was looking to sandbag the efforts, but that does not appear to be the case in retrospect.
  • The Raiders may view executives such as Jimmy Raye III, Mark Dominik, and Chris Polian as candidates to become the new GM or chief of personnel, according to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). And, despite previous rumors linking Redskins exec Bruce Allen to the post, Pelissero hears that Allen is not “on the front burner” for the Raiders at this time.

Brian Gutekunst Withdraws From 49ers’ GM Search

Another Packers executive won’t be finishing out the GM interview process with the 49ers. The Packers will retain player personnel director Brian Gutekunst after he withdrew his name from the San Francisco GM search, Adam Schefter of tweets.

One of the finalists for the NFL’s lone vacant GM job, Gutekunst instead signed a new deal to stay in Green Bay, Ian Rapoport of reports (on Twitter).

The Packers reached an agreement earlier this week to retain director of football operations Eliot Wolf, so the 49ers’ effort to pry one of Ted Thompson‘s top staffers won’t come to fruition. The Packers execs’ decisions to stay in Green Bay come after Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner announced he was withdrawing from the pursuit.

This could leave Vikings assistant GM George Paton in the driver’s seat for the job as the one known finalist still in the running. He’s set to meet with the 49ers next week. Although the team is keeping an eye on Cardinals’ vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, Matt Maiocco of reports, Paton is expected to meet with 49ers brass — and possibly leading HC candidate Kyle Shanahan — on Tuesday. Michael Silver of also tabs Paton (Twitter link) as the favorite to become the 49ers’ next GM and win what’s become a complex race not unlike what’s transpired in the derby to become their next coach.

Another name to monitor, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, is Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian. The son of Hall of Famer Bill Polian did not meet with with the 49ers this month as the organization conducted a thorough search featuring nine interviews.

Titans Leaning Toward Mike Mularkey?

Despite going 2-7 in his most recent head-coaching audition, Mike Mularkey appears to be the clear favorite to become the Titans’ next full-time head coach, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

The PFT reporter hears it would be a “massive upset” if the Titans don’t retain Mularkey, who replaced Ken Whisenhunt after seven games last season. This goes along with’s Ian Rapoport reporting earlier today the Tennessee job is Mularkey’s “to lose.”

Owner Amy Adams Strunk developed a strong relationship with Mularkey, per Florio, last season and prefers the 54-year-old coach keep the job. Recent GM candidates Chris Ballard and Chris Polian did not share Strunk’s views on Mularkey’s potential, so they were not hired, Florio reports.

New GM Jon Robinson reportedly did agree to consider keeping Mularkey, who Florio notes will be offered a short-term deal with a salary on the low end of the head-coaching earnings scale.

Rapoport points out the Titans could make this official today. The team’s also interviewed Doug Marrone and
Teryl Austin
and is set to meet with Titans DC Ray Horton today.

Mularkey carries an 18-39 coaching record and would be a rare third-try head coach without a playoff berth on his resume. His best season came with the Bills, when they went 9-7 in 2004. Mularkey’s Buffalo tenure lasted just two years, and his Jaguars stint, in 2012, produced a 2-14 mark.

Mularkey joined the Titans as their tight ends coach in 2014 before being elevated to assistant head coach prior to the 2015 season’s outset.

The Titans have gone 5-27 the past two seasons.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

Titans To Interview Chris Ballard For GM

The Titans are scheduled to interview Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard for their general manager vacancy on Monday, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). We learned yesterday that Tennessee had requested and received permission to interview Ballard.

[RELATED: Patriots OC Josh McDaniels interested in Titans’ head coaching job]

Ballard, who just completed his third season with Kansas City, has been an NFL personnel man for 15 years, and was considered a strong candidate for the Bears GM job at this time last year. He’s one of several candidates for the Titans position, joining former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist, Giants exec Marc Ross, and former Lions GM Martin Mayhew. The club also confirmed today that it had interviewed Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian and Buccaneers director of player personnel Jon Robinson.

As the Titans seek to replace Ruston Webster, there’s a question as to how their GM search will affect their hunt for new head coach. As Alex Marvez of FOX Sports notes (via Twitter), it’s a little surprising that Tennessee got such a late start; while the Dolphins, for example, have already completed seven head coaching interviews, the Titans have completed zero, as our head coaching search tracker shows.

Latest On Titans’ General Manager Search

7:47pm: The Titans announced that they interviewed Martin Mayhew for their GM position today, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

Jaguars director of pro scouting Chris Polian will interview with the Titans on Friday for their open GM job, as Paul Kuharsky of writes. Meanwhile, Buccaneers Director Player Personnel Jon Robinson has been given the OK to interview for the Titans’ GM job, Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune tweets. Robinson, a Tennessee native, was mentioned as a potential candidate for the job shortly after Ruston Webster was let go.

2:40pm: When we last checked in on the Titans’ hunt for a new general manager, the team was in the process of scheduling an interview with Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross, and was aiming high by targeting Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, who typically turns down requests for interviews.

Unsurprisingly, DeCosta has indeed declined the opportunity to interview for the GM position in Tennessee, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, who tweets that the veteran Ravens executive will be staying put in Baltimore. Presumably, the Titans expected that outcome, but figured it didn’t hurt to ask.

Along those same lines, the Titans are one of two teams – along with the Lions – that hopes to interview Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, per Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). Paton is another executive who rarely explores the opportunity to leave his current organization, so it seems unlikely that he’ll pursue the Titans’ job, but it sounds like he hasn’t officially said no yet.

As for Ross, a candidate who definitely will be meeting with the Titans, his interview is scheduled for Thursday, according to Josina Anderson of (Twitter link).

Lions Rumors: GM Search, Polian, Megatron

The latest from Detroit:

  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press identifies Texans executive Brian Gaine and Jaguars exec Chris Polian as two names to watch for the Lions’ general manager job, along with interim GM Sheldon White. Gaine has been mentioned as a candidate for a promotion in Houston as well.
  • The Lions are scheduling a GM interview with Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, league sources tell Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Kirchner interviewed with the Jets last year.
  • Calvin Johnson faces some uncertainty this offseason with the Lions,’s Michael Rothstein writes. Johnson will have a $24MM cap hit with a $15.95MM cash value in 2016 and the team could save $11.1MM on the cap by letting him go.
  • The Lions have requested to interview Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Will McClay for their GM job, but he decided to stay put, a source told Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). McClay said he recently re-did his contract in Dallas and didn’t want to leave, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
  • Vikings exec George Paton will be declining GM interviews, as well, Birkett tweets. The Lions haven’t formally requested an interview, but he is well respected and seemed like a probable candidate for the job.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

La Canfora’s Latest: Dalton, Falcons, Manning

As the second slate of games near halftime, lets’s take a look at the latest from Jason La Canfora of…

  • Andy Dalton‘s recent thumb injury could end up costing the Bengals quarterback millions of dollars in escalators, according to La Canfora. Per clauses in Dalton’s six-year, $96MM extension, he can earn extra cash by playing in 80% of Cincinnati’s snaps during the regular season, while separate escalators are tied to his playing (and winning) in each successive round of the postseason. All told, writes La Canfora, Dalton could add $15MM to his current deal, but those plateaus are obviously at risk now.
  • Falcons ownership is growing frustrated with the club’s lack of success and is considering firing general manager Thomas Dimitroff, writes La Canfora, who adds that Seahawks director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner and Vikings assistant GM George Paton could each be strong candidates to fill the position (each has a professional history with Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn). It sounds like current AGM Scott Pioli (a Dimitroff friend) could also be on the chopping block.
  • Major changes could also be coming to the Titans staff, and rumors persist that Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning could land in Tennessee as something of a football czar, with former NFL exec Bill Polian (who drafted Manning) as team president. In such a scenario, Polian’s son Chris could act as general manager, while Jaguars assistant Doug Marrone or Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase would be candidates to serve as head coach.

Latest On Lions’ GM Search

The Lions announced on Thursday that they’ve established an advisory board to lead the search for a new general manager, while continuing to consult with the league’s career development advisory panel. That panel has met twice already and will meet twice more before the end of the season, but Tom Pelissero of USA Today has already learned the identities of five of the leading candidates.

According to Pelissero, some of the early frontrunners are Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, Vikings assistant GM George Paton, Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian, and Packers director of player personnel Eliot Wolf. All five executives have been linked to the job in one fashion or another, though many have speculated that the Lions will not be able to lure Wolf away from Green Bay, where he is thought to be the heir apparent to the GM job. Ballard and DeCosta, two highly-respected NFL execs, were on last year’s list cultivated by the panel. The Jets used the panel last year to make their hire of Mike Maccagnan, who was then the Texans’ director of college scouting.

On Thursday afternoon, the Lions hired Rod Wood as the team’s new president, taking over the position previously held by Tom Lewand. Wood, of course, will be an integral part of the team’s advisory board to find its next GM. That group also includes owner Martha Firestone Ford and the team’s board of directors and vice chairmen, all of whom are members of the Ford family.