Ed Dodds

Latest On Raiders’ HC, GM Searches

The Raiders’ general manager search has expanded to include eight names. While the team’s pursuit of its next full-time head coach has not gotten as far off the ground, a few external candidates have emerged.

One possible solution — a Josh McDanielsDave Ziegler partnership — has surfaced on the radar, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). Ziegler, who moved up in the Patriots’ front office hierarchy following Nick Caserio‘s 2021 New England exit, interviewed for the Las Vegas GM job Friday and has been connected to bringing the Pats’ longtime OC with him.

McDaniels has not taken a formal interview with any team during this year’s hiring cycle, though the veteran OC was calling around to coaches around the league for staff-assembly purposes recently, Tafur adds. Patriots West might not be where this Raiders process ends up, however.

Momentum has cooled on a McDaniels-Ziegler pairing this week, per Tafur, who adds Colts VP of player personnel Ed Dodds — a former Al Davis staffer — is still in the mix. Dodds’ GM interview is set for Wednesday. Dodds previously withdrew his name from consideration for the Bears’ GM post. Dodds being with the Colts when McDaniels backtracked on a 2018 Indianapolis agreement would all but squash any chance of those two pairing up.

The Raiders have interviewed only Rich Bisaccia and Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo for their HC position. The team remains interested in speaking with 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans and has a meeting with Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles set for Friday. While Jim Harbaugh looms, not much has emerged connecting the Michigan coach to the Silver and Black in several days. Harbaugh was on the Raiders’ staff as QBs coach for part of Dodds’ Oakland tenure, but this was nearly 20 years ago.

Las Vegas’ GM search is now at eight names, with a request to interview Bucs exec John Spytek and interviews with Falcons staffer Ruston Webster and Steelers exec Brandon Hunt representing the latest news coming out of the search to fill Mike Mayock’s job.

2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

Along with the head coaches being fired, a few NFL teams are looking for new general managers. Listed below are the GM candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status.

If and when other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-27-22 (11:00pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Ed Dodds Withdraws From Bears GM Search

Thanks, but no thanks. After some consideration, Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds has withdrawn his name from the Bears’ GM search (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero).

It’s not yet clear if Dodds is staying put or if he’s choosing to focus on other opportunities. The Raiders also have Dodds on their GM search list, alongside Bengals scout Trey Brown, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, and Patriots director of personnel Dave Ziegler.

Dodds in the running for GM jobs with the Lions and Panthers in the past cycle, so he has enough cache to be selective. A Colts exec since 2017, Dodds also impressed in his previous front office role with the Seahawks.

On the plus side, the Bears have already cast a wide net with roughly 15 candidates in the mix. As you’d expect, most of the names in this group are out-of-house candidates, though Kelly, a former Ryan Pace lieutenant, had the chance to interview last week.

Raiders Request Interviews With Patriots’ Jerod Mayo, Dave Ziegler

At the moment, interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and general manager Mike Mayock are still on the Raiders payroll. However, that hasn’t stopped the organization from requesting interviews with potential replacements. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), Las Vegas requested permission to interview Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo for their HC job and Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler for their GM job. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Raiders are expected to put in a request for Colts executive Ed Dodds, as well.

We heard recently that Mayock’s job wasn’t necessarily safe, even following a tumultuous season where he was one of the organization’s calming presences en route to a playoff appearance. Mayock has spent three season’s as the Raiders GM, with the team improving their win total each season. Bisaccia, meanwhile, helped steadied the ship amid a rough season, but recent reports indicated that he was a long shot to keep his job, and that appears to be more apparent following the Raiders one-and-done postseason.

Mayo is now the team’s first definitive HC candidate. The linebacker previously had a standout career with the Patriots, with the former 10th-overall pick earning two Pro Bowl nods and a Super Bowl ring during his eight seasons in New England. Mayo rejoined the organization as their linebackers coach in 2019. While New England is currently operating without a true defensive coordinator, Mayo (along with Steve Belichick) are assumed to be atop the defensive coaching depth chart.

Ziegler has risen from the scouting level to director of pro personnel to his current post. While he has spent much of his career as a Pats exec, he began his NFL run with the Broncos. Last offseason, he was connected to gigs with the Broncos and Giants.

Dodds was a popular name in the GM circuit last offseason, when he was connected to gigs with the Lions and Panthers. Dodds has worked with the Colts since 2017, and he was promoted to his current position in 2018. Dodds previously spent time in the Seahawks front office, where he played a major role in constructing a Super Bowl-winning roster. He’s already been mentioned as a candidate for the Bears GM gig this offseason.

Bears Request To Interview Chargers’ Wooden

Do not be surprised if you start getting calls from Chicago because the Bears are searching far and wide to fill their vacant general manager position and they are interviewing EVERYBODY! The newest candidate to add to the list is Chargers’ director of player personnel, JoJo Wooden, according to a tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Wooden has been with the Chargers since 2013 overseeing the pro and college scouting department for the Chargers. He got his start with the Jets in 1997 and spent 10 seasons working his way up from pro personnel assistant to the assistant director, player personnel, a position he held for six more years.

What makes Wooden an interesting candidate for the Bears’ job is the connections he has to the search committee. Bears Senior Writer Larry Mayer reported a couple days ago that Bill Polian, who has spent time as a general manager for the Bills, Panthers, and, most notably, the Colts, will be a resource to the Bears as they go through the process of hiring a new head coach and general manager. Wooden is known as a key lieutenant for the Chargers’ current general manager Tom Telesco, and Telesco worked under Polian during Polian’s entire tenure in Indianapolis.

To date, the Bears have already interviewed the Browns’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Glenn Cook and their own assistant director of player personnel, Champ Kelly. They’ve also requested interviews with the Colts’ Morocco Brown and Ed Dodds, the 49ers’ Ran Carthon, the Saints’ Jeff Ireland, the Steelers’ Omar Khan, the Giants’ Joe Schoen, and the Patriots’ Eliot Wolf. Texans’ former general manager Rick Smith has also been identified as a candidate.

Vikings Begin GM Interview Requests

Likely set to hire an outside GM for the first time in over a decade, the Vikings have taken a bit more time to send out their interview requests. But they sent out their first summons Wednesday night.

Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook received a Vikes interview request, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets. Cook has landed on the radar of both the NFC North’s GM-seeking franchises, having interviewed for the Bears’ GM gig Wednesday.

In addition to Cook, the Vikings sent out requests to speak with Patriots senior consultant Eliot Wolf and fellow Browns staffer Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Those two are also on Chicago’s interview list.

Previously in the Packers organization, Cook joined the Browns in 2016. Cook started in the scouting department and rose to the level of assistant pro scouting director, before climbing to his current post in 2020. The Browns were not exactly a sought-after organization for executive talent when Cook arrived, but they have seen multiple execs receive interview requests during this cycle. Both Minnesota’s other two early interview hopefuls worked in Cleveland, where longtime Vikings assistant Kevin Stefanski landed.

Prior to stays in Cleveland and New England, Wolf enjoyed a lengthy Green Bay tenure. The son of Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf, Eliot has been in the GM mix for a few years now. Yet to rise to a GM role, Wolf interviewed for the Packer job that went to Brian Gutekunst. He also was in the mix for the Colts’ GM post in 2017. The Browns’ vice president of football operations, Adofo-Mensah spent time with the 49ers before joining the Browns in 2020. He interviewed for the Panthers’ GM position last year.

The Vikings are seeking to replace Rick Spielman, who had been with the organization since 2006. In addition to the three requests sent out, Colts VP of player personnel Ed Dodds and Chiefs director of football administration Brandt Tillis are potential candidates, ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin tweets.

Bears Request Four More GM Interviews

We can add three more names to the list of Bears GM candidates. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter), Chicago requested permission to interview Colts vice president of player personnel Ed Dodds. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the Bears also requested permission to interview Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland, while Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets that Chicago put in a request on 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon. Schefter also notes (on Twitter) that Chicago requested an interview with Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen.

[RELATED: Bears Request Interviews With Three Execs For GM Gig]

Dodds was a popular name in the GM circuit last offseason, when he was connected to gigs with the Lions and Panthers. Dodds has worked with the Colts since 2017, and he was promoted to his current position in 2018. Dodds previously spent time in the Seahawks front office, where he played a major role in constructing a Super Bowl-winning roster.

Best known for his time as Dolphins GM (2008-13), Ireland resurfaced with the Saints and helped the Mickey LoomisSean Payton regime reposition the team as the NFC South’s best after some mid-2010s defensive struggles. During Ireland’s stay, the Saints have draft perennial Pro Bowlers Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore and several other impact starters. He was also connected to the Lions and Panthers gigs last offseason.

Carthon is already set to interview for the open Giants GM job. The former Florida Gators fullback has spent a decade as a pro personnel director, doing so with the Rams from 2012-16 and in his five years with the 49ers. Carthon was promoted to his current role during this past offseason.

Schoen has been with the Bills organization since 2017, and he’s played a major role in the organization’s recent rise in the AFC. Prior to his stint in Buffalo, Schoen spent almost a decade in Miami (when he was endorsed by Bill Parcells), evolving from a national scout into director of player personnel. The executive also had a stint with the Panthers, working his way up from an intern in the ticket office.

We learned of the first three potential names to replace Ryan Pace in Chicago, with Browns VP of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Browns VP of player personnel Glenn Cook, and Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown connected to the job.

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 SI.com (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.

GM Notes: Colbert, Patriots, Panthers, Rhule, Bears, Pace

We brought you a new batch of coaching notes earlier, and now we’ve got a new collection of front office bullets to pass along as the Browns and Steelers wrap up wild card weekend:

  • Let’s start with the Steelers, who could be in danger of losing their GM this offseason. We heard last week that the Lions were going to pursue Kevin Colbert, and Jason La Canfora tweets their interest in making that happen is still “very real.” While La Canfora’s sources don’t think Colbert would actually make the jump, he says the Lions “continue to gather info and strategize on how to possibly lure him.” Colbert, in the midst of his 21st season in Pittsburgh, has also flirted with retirement recently. Perhaps a first-round exit at the hands of the Browns could convince him to jump ship?
  • The Patriots just lost one key exec when Nick Caserio got hired by the Texans, and fortunately for them it doesn’t look like they’ll lose another. Dave Ziegler has pulled himself out of contention for the Broncos’ GM job, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Rapsheet writes that the “organization has committed to Ziegler’s future, and Ziegler has committed to” New England, so it sounds like the Pats gave him an extension and/or raise to stay.
  • There was another big withdrawal on Sunday, as Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds removed himself from the Panthers’ search, Stephen Holder of The Athletic tweets. He had interviewed for the job last week. Dodds declined an interview request from the Browns back in January, so he appears to be waiting for the right opportunity to leave Indy.
  • Meanwhile as the Panthers’ search chugs along, they’ll take a look at a couple of internal candidates. Carolina will interview Director of Player Negotiations & Salary Cap Manager Samir Suleiman and Director of Player Personnel Pat Stewart for their GM vacancy (Twitter link via Joe Person of The Athletic). The Panthers are conducting an exhaustive search, so it’s possible these are just courtesy interviews.
  • One last note on the Panthers for now. No matter who they hire, it looks like it may be Matt Rhule who’s in charge at the end of the day. “Rhule will essentially be running the show in Carolina,” after they replace the fired Marty Hurney, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. That’s not all that surprising after owner David Tepper paid him a fortune to lure him from Baylor and Rhule earned strong marks for his first season with the Panthers, getting a bare-bones roster to fight hard and play a bunch of close games against good teams. Florio writes that whoever gets the gig “surely won’t get the job without Rhule’s agreement.” Rhule seems like a strong coach, but obviously these kind of arrangements can get dangerous, as we’ve seen with the Texans and Bill O’Brien.
  • Matt Nagy is going to be back with the Bears in 2021, but GM Ryan Pace’s future apparently isn’t entirely secure. Chicago could target Chiefs exec Mike Borgonzi this offseason, multiple sources told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. As Biggs points out, it would make sense for them to bring in someone familiar with Nagy if they’re going to change GMs but not coaches. Nagy, of course, coached in Kansas City under Andy Reid for a while. The Bears’ blowout loss to the Saints today certainly isn’t working in Pace’s favor, and the drafting of Mitchell Trubisky second overall never worked out. This will be an interesting situation to monitor this week.