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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.

Bengals’ Jessie Bates Hires New Agent

Bengals free safety Jessie Bates III has changed representation and hired David Mulugheta of Athletes First, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. Mulugheta counts Earl Thomas, Landon Collins, and other elite safeties among his clients. Bates, 23, could be in line for a big payday of his own someday. 

[RELATED: No. 1 Pick Joe Burrow Has Yet To Sign Bengals Deal]

The former second-round pick has two years left on his inexpensive rookie deal, but he’s already looking ahead to his next contract. Bates has started in every possible game over the past two seasons, racking up 211 tackles and six interceptions along the way. After celebrating his 23rd birthday in February, he could be poised for another major leap forward in 2020.

For now, Bates is set to earn $930 in base salary this year and slightly more in 2021 with cap hits of $1.3MM and $1.6MM, respectively. That’s an exceptional bargain for a high level free safety who is barely above the legal drinking age. The Bengals haven’t engaged in extension talks just yet, but it’ll be at the top of their agenda next spring.

In the interest of equal time: the advanced metrics weren’t all that high on Bates last year. But, as a rookie in 2018, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 ranked safety in the NFL.

In other Bengals news, the club is hoping to extend running back Joe Mixon. Mixon is coming off back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons and entering the final year of his rookie deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No. 1 Pick Joe Burrow Has Yet To Sign Bengals Deal

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has yet to put pen to paper on his rookie contract. In an interview on the Pardon My Take podcast, the No. 1 overall pick indicated that the deal might not be inked anytime soon.

[RELATED: Panthers Sign Derrick Brown]

We’re just waiting to see what happens over the next three months because we really don’t know,” Burrow said (via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby).

Most of this year’s 250+ rookies have yet to sign their deals, so Burrow’s situation is not unique. However, it could be indicative of a much larger issue. Some executives and agents have wondered whether it’ll take longer for top draft picks to sign this year, since teams are facing potentially enormous revenue losses.

Those league officials believe that the deals will be completed, eventually, but cash flow could be a concern for clubs. A season without fans would mean zero gate attendance revenue, a shortened season would mean significantly less dollars coming in, and a cancelled season would be disastrous, from a financial standpoint. With that in mind, teams may be looking to hold on to the allocated signing bonus money a little bit longer.

In the case of Burrow, the LSU product is due a ~$24MM bonus. After that, the bonus figures decrease pick-by-pick, in accordance with each player’s slot. New Redskins edge rusher Chase Young (No. 2 overall) is set to collect a $22.7MM bonus and Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (N0. 3) is in line for $21.9MM. The figure decreases the further you move down the board, though every player from Nos. 1-11 is ticketed for an eight-figure lump sum bonus.

Meanwhile, like all of us, Burrow is eager for football – and life in general – to resume normalcy:

Instead of talking, we can get back on the field. Hopefully soon.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Hope To Extend Joe Mixon

The 2017 draft class produced many of the league’s starting running backs, and beyond the recently extended Christian McCaffrey, some of the top names have begun discussing new deals. Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon comprise this contingent thus far.

Set to employ Joe Burrow on a rookie salary through at least 2022, the Bengals will have more financial flexibility in the next few years. And they want to extend Mixon. One season remains on the former second-rounder’s rookie contract.

He’s in a year that he can be extended, and he is a guy that we visited with,” Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said during an interview with 700 WLW’s Lance McAllister (via Pro Football Talk). “We’ll go through those discussions and see if there is a fit or a match for a long-term contract with him, obviously a guy we value quite a bit. The great thing about Joe is he goes about it the right way.

… He’s the type of guy you want to lock up to a long-term deal. We’ll see if we can find the commonality to get that done over time here.”

Mixon is coming off back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons, doing so without the aid of an upper-echelon offensive line in either season. The former Oklahoma back finished last season with 100-yard games in three of Cincinnati’s final four games. The Bengals are unlikely to venture into the salary range of McCaffrey’s running back-record $16MM-per-year deal, and the franchise will surely take into account the expensive contracts for backs that have not worked out — from Todd Gurley to David Johnson to Le’Veon Bell.

The Bengals and Mixon may have to work out a compromise that places him in the upper reaches of the running back market. Unless the Bengals plan to use their franchise tag on A.J. Green again next year, they would have that in play for Mixon. The Titans and Cardinals respectively tagged Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake, with Arizona deploying the transition tag, and the Bengals will have that as leverage in talks with their 23-year-old starter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Won’t Look To Sign Veteran QB

The Bengals aren’t looking to sign another veteran quarterback to play behind No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, head coach Zac Taylor says. “We’re set,” Taylor said. (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby). 

After the draft, the Bengals parted ways with longtime starter Andy Dalton after months of fruitless attempts to trade him. For months, Dalton said that he was focused on playing as a QB1 in 2020. He eased up on that stance this spring, but it’s not clear whether he was willing to take enough of a pay cut in Cincinnati to make that work, or whether the Bengals even made him a realistic offer. Ultimately, Dalton found a vibrant market for his services once he was let go – the Patriots, Jaguars, and Jets all considered the veteran before he joined up with the Cowboys (while he backstops Dak Prescott, Dalton says he’ll be aiming to start in 2021).

For now, the Bengals have Ryan Finley and 2019 UDFA Jacob Dolegala as the backups behind Burrow. Finley, a fourth-round pick last year, posted a dismal 47.1% completion rate with an average of 5.4 yards per attempt in three starts. After that, the Bengals turned things back over to Dalton, who at least got to leave Cincinnati as a first-stringer in his final game.

Burrow – who completed 76.3% of his passes for an NCAA-record 60 touchdowns last year with only six interceptions – will be expected to carry the load in his first pro season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Griffen, Robinson, Bengals

Everson Griffen is one of the top two pass rushers still on the market, and we heard last month that he would probably not re-sign with the Vikings. However, Minnesota did not do much to add to its pass rushing corps in the draft, with South Carolina DE D.J. Wonnum representing the most notable addition. And while GM Rick Spielman acknowledged that his team’s cap space makes it difficult to bring Griffen back, he did not rule it out.

“It is hard to say right now where everything is at and where we are at, [but] until things become more normalized I will never say never on a player,” Spielman recently said on the #PFTPM podcast (via PFT’s Mike Florio). “[Y]our roster is never set.”

Griffen has expressed an interest in joining the Seahawks, but Seattle is still open to bringing back Jadeveon Clowney. If Clowney returns to the ‘Hawks, perhaps Griffen will settle for a one-year deal on a Minnesota defense that he will not have to learn on the fly.

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Of the three OTs the Vikings added in this year’s draft, only second-rounder Ezra Cleveland profiles as an immediate threat to incumbent LT Riley Reiff. The team could again entertain the notion of kicking Reiff inside to LG, but that’s only if Cleveland proves himself ready for starting left tackle duties, which would be a tall order given the COVID-19 restrictions. So as Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune suggests, Reiff will likely stay at LT for the time being, and 2019 fourth-rounder Dru Samia will compete with Pat Elflein for the starting LG slot. The team could also target a free agent for that role, including Josh Kline, whom the Vikings released in a cost-cutting move in March.
  • Bears WR Allen Robinson said towards the end of last season that he is interested in an extension with Chicago, but the two sides do not appear to be close to a new deal, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Robinson is ticketed for free agency after the 2020 campaign, and Biggs suggests that the franchise tag could be in play if there is no extension in place by the second month of the season.
  • Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic says both A.J. Green and the Bengals have interest in getting a long-term deal done, but it’s unclear exactly how much interest. He expects that nothing will come together prior to the July 15 deadline, which means Green will have to play out the 2020 season on his franchise tender. While there’s a better chance Cincinnati comes to terms with RB Joe Mixon on a new contract, that will not happen before a decision on Green is made. The Bengals are reportedly bracing themselves for a Mixon holdout.
  • In the same piece linked above, Dehner says the Bengals are unlikely to make any free agent additions to the O-line at this point. In a separate piece, he notes that Cincinnati made a free agent splash on cornerbacks in free agency because it did not like this year’s CB draft class. The team did not take a defensive back with any of its seven selections.

Bengals To Decline John Ross’ Fifth-Year Option

This won’t come as much of a surprise, but the Bengals have declined wide receiver John Ross‘ fifth-year option. Ross will therefore become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020 season.

As a 2017 draft choice, Ross’ fifth-year option would have been guaranteed for injury only, but given his injury history, that was not a gamble Cincinnati was willing to take. Plus, as a top-10 pick in the 2017 draft, Ross’ option would have been worth a whopping $15.68MM, which would not have made sense for the team even if Ross had managed to stay completely healthy throughout his first three years in the league.

The Washington product was brought in to serve as a speed merchant and to add some sizzle to a passing offense that had become a middling unit despite the presence of A.J. Green. That did not happen. Instead, he failed to impress head coach Marvin Lewis in training camp in 2017, and between injuries and generally uninspiring play in practice, Ross played in only three games as a rookie and did not record a catch.

Though he started 10 games in 2018, he managed only 21 catches for 210 yards — which was a disappointment in terms of both overall output and yards-per-catch average — and after a hot start to 2019, he missed another eight games due to injury. The Bengals selected promising Clemson product Tee Higgins with the first pick of the second round in this year’s draft, and they are clearly preparing for life without Ross (which will probably look strikingly similar to life with Ross).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On QB Andy Dalton, Bengals

Before he was released earlier this week, there was some optimism that Andy Dalton would land in Chicago. As Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic writes, the Bengals “were very close” to trading the veteran quarterback to the Bears back in March, and Dalton himself believed that’d be his ultimate landing spot.

Instead, Chicago shifted focus to Nick Foles, sending a fourth-rounder to the Jaguars for the former Super Bowl MVP. When the Bengals/Bears trade broke down, Cincy’s front office quickly discovered that they didn’t have any trade options for Dalton. As Dehner writes, two potential suitors, the Colts and Buccaneers, solved their quarterback issues via free agency, and rival front offices soon realized that the Bengals weren’t going to retain Dalton’s pricey cap hit.

Dalton believes the waiting game ended up hurting his chances of finding an ideal landing spot.

“There were several different factors,” Dalton told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “This year there were a good amount of quarterbacks that were available. I think it would have worked out differently if I had been a free agent when the new league year started. I was still under contact and that hurt me. I’m sure teams knew they were going to take a quarterback No. 1 and they would release me and there was no reason to rush into anything.”

With the Bengals zeroing in on LSU’s Joe Burrow with the first-overall pick, Dalton recently approached president Mike Brown, director of player personnel Duke Tobin, and head coach Zac Taylor for clarity. Ultimately, the organization decided to simply release the 32-year-old.

While Dalton opines that the waiting game impacted his ability to find a new team, it sounds like he may still have some options. We heard earlier this week that the Jaguars and Patriots could be among the teams interested in the veteran quarterback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.