Eric DeCosta

Packers Notes: Wolf, DeCosta, Perry, McCray

Now that the Packers have officially promoted incumbent executive Brian Gutekunst to general manager, Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf is unlikely to ever become GM of the Packers, as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes (Twitter links). Wolf is expected to garner a GM job elsewhere before the Green Bay position ever opens again, as he’s drawn interested from other clubs in the recent past. However, the Packers will attempt to convince Wolf to remain with the team, per Silverstein. One additional note on the Packers’ general manager search: although Green Bay had interest in meeting with Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, the Baltimore executive turned down an interview request on Saturday night, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Packers:

  • Incumbent safeties coach Darren Perry interviewed for the Packers’ defensive coordinator job on Saturday and is viewed as the favorite to land the position, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). That news conflicts with a recent report from Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who indicated last week that Green Bay cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt was the frontrunner to be promoted to DC. Perry, 49, began his Packers coaching career in 2009 after spending time in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Oakland.
  • While Perry could be given a promotion in Green Bay, former offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett appears to be moving on, tweets Silverstein. Bennett, who did not call offensive plays for the Packers, was re-assigned last week, but he should be able to find another coaching position given the level of turnover throughout the NFL, per Silverstein. Colts offensive line coach Joe Philbin is expected to be hired for a second stint in Green Bay, and although he may not take Bennett’s old title as OC, he’s likely to handle many of Bennett’s prior duties.
  • The Packers should be expected to add competition for backup quarterback Brett Hundley, writes Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. While Green Bay had originally planned to deal Hundley (and nearly did so during the draft), the former fifth-round pick’s lackluster production while filling in for Aaron Rodgers is likely to hinder those intentions. Indeed, the Packers attempted to sign veteran signal-caller Brian Hoyer in November as the club was trying to keep its postseason hopes alive.
  • Green Bay recently worked out offensive lineman Jordan McCray, the brother of Packers guard Justin McCray, reports Demovsky. Both McCrays were undrafted free agents out of UCF in 2014, but Jordan has yet to appear in an NFL game.

Packers Want To Interview Ravens’ Eric DeCosta

The Packers are seeking to interview Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, according to Mike Florio of PFT. It’s not immediately clear whether a formal request has been submitted. If the Packers have in fact asked for a meeting, it’s not Ravens or DeCosta himself have consented. Joe Hortiz/Jon Harbaugh/Matt Elam/Ozzie Newsome/Eric DeCosta (Featured)

[RELATED: Packers Request Interview With George Paton, Vikings Say No]

In the past, DeCosta has turned down potential opportunities to become a GM elsewhere. He has been in the Ravens organization for more than 20 years and is widely viewed as the heir apparent to GM Ozzie Newsome.

For now, there are three known candidates for the Packers job, and they’re all in-house. Director of football operations Eliot Wolf interviewed on Thursday, Director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst has his interview today (per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, on Twitter), and VP of football administration Russ Ball should follow shortly thereafter. The Packers asked to interview Vikings exec George Paton, but the request was denied by their NFC North rivals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Redskins, Jones

Now that the Giants front office and coaching staff is set to go through a number of changes after the firing of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo, there’s a ton of speculation of who could be the person put in charge to bring the franchise back to perennial success.

While many people think the hire will come outside the organization, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network thinks interim GM Kevin Abrams should not be overlooked as the Giants begin their search.

Garafolo notes that Abrams is a “cap guy by trade”, but has worked on his scouting ability in recent years and has “attended multiple NFL seminars” to prepare to lead a football operations department. A number of names are likely to be floated for the job given that the team will likely have a high pick and has a track record of winning, but Abrams seems like he might get a realistic shot at turning his interim tag into a full-time position.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Apart from Abrams, Mike Sando of ESPN.com speculated a few candidates from outside the organization who could be contenders for the Giants general manager and head coaching gigs. Sando names front office guys like Nick Caserio from the Patriots, former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman and former Colts President Bill Polian. He also highlights many well known up-and-comers such as Eric DeCosta (Ravens), George Paton (Vikings), Eliot Wolf (Packers) and Terry McDonough (Cardinals) among many others. Sando added that former GM’s Scott Pioli (Falcons) and John Dorsey (free agent) could be intriguing hires as well. In terms of potential head coaching candidates, Sando names guys who were on the teams original list back before they hired McAdoo prior the 2016-17 season. This would include current coordinators like Teryl Austin (Lions) and Mike Smith (Buccaneers). An under-the-radar name to watch is Texans defensive coordinator, Mike Vrabel, who is best known for his time leading the Patriots defense to Super Bowl titles.
  • While the Redskins are out of the NFC playoff race after losing to the Cowboys last Thursday, that doesn’t mean that team will start resting their players, states John Keim of ESPN.com. He passes along that Head coach Jay Gruden said that he wouldn’t rest some of their injured starters just because the games don’t have postseason implications for the team. “They’re all trying to get back in the lineup,” Gruden said. “They’re going to play hard because they want to win and want to do well. That’s the reason they’re all here. We try to target guys that love football, are passionate about the game and are going to play hard no matter what. For the most part, we’ve got that here. So whether you are on one year left or five years left, doesn’t really matter.” Starters like left tackle Trent Williams, right tackle Morgan Moses and tight end Jordan Reed have all dealt with nagging injuries this season, but it appears that the Redskins won’t just solely be resting key players hoping that could lead to a better draft pick.
  • Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones has not played in a game this season as he’s continued to rehab the achilles that he had torn back in March. However, the rookie has yet to participate in practice, reports Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Jones has been eligible to start practicing since the beginning of Week 7, but has just a 21 day time period to be activated to the roster once he does begin to take part in practice. It’s important to note that Berman explains in a follow-up tweet, Jones could just use the last three weeks of the regular season to get extra reps and get a head start on his offseason training. The Eagles currently have corners Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas patrolling the defensive backfield.

Colts’ GM Candidates List Includes Kirchner, Excludes DeCosta

The Colts have a list of six names they will interview for their vacant GM position. Jim Irsay confirmed Seahawks co-player personnel director Trent Kirchner as one of the six candidates, joining the remainder of a sextet that was each connected to the 49ers’ GM job.

The lone name connected to the Colts’ search the 49ers didn’t pursue, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, doesn’t appear among the candidates. So, it’s relatively safe to assume DeCosta’s trend of turning down interview requests continued despite his friendship with Chuck Pagano. DeCosta looks set to begin a 22nd season with the Ravens and a sixth as Ozzie Newsome‘s right-hand man. He’s viewed as a potential successor to Newsome when the Hall of Famer decides to step down.

Kirchner withdrew from the 49ers’ search last week but will see if the Colts’ job appeals to him. The seven-year Seahawks staffer will have some company, the remainder of whom we previously heard would interview for the latest NFL GM vacancy.

Kirchner’s co-player personnel director mate in Seattle, Scott Fitterer, will interview for the job. Vikings assistant GM George Paton, Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf, Chiefs player personnel director Chris Ballard and Colts interim GM/vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III comprise the rest of the list. Paton is the only name in this group who is a finalist for the 49ers’ job. He will meet with the 49ers for a second time on Saturday, joining Cardinals exec Terry McDonough in doing so.

Ballard is set to interview for the Colts’ job today, with Paton expected to follow suit either today or Thursday. Wolf’s interview will occur later this week as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Request GM Summit With Ravens’ Eric DeCosta

A seventh name surged into the mix for the Colts’ GM job. The team sent an interview request toward Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. DeCosta worked with Colts coach Chuck Pagano during Pagano’s stay in Baltimore.

DeCosta usually surfaces around this time of year, but the career Baltimore executive hasn’t followed through on leaving the organization yet. He was a candidate for the Seahawks’ GM post that John Schneider ended up filling in 2010, ultimately pulling out of the running. DeCosta declined Raiders interest years ago to fill their GM job and also chose not to interview with the Titans last year for the job Jon Robinson ended up taking. A Ravens staffer since the franchise’s metamorphosis in Maryland in 1996, DeCosta has served as Ozzie Newsome‘s right-hand man since 2012.

I get a chance to work with my friends. Every day, I come in and work with my friends. I think it’s a relationship business,” DeCosta said in 2015 on why he continues to work in this capacity with the Ravens. “In the end, personal ambitions aside, all you have is really your reputation and your friends and your enjoyment in life. And I love Baltimore, the community.”

So, Jim Irsay‘s latest push might not be enough to sway him. Breer notes he and Pagano are close, so that could be a key element in this process. Regardless of whether the 45-year-old DeCosta takes the interview or not, he’s the seventh candidate to receive a request this week. And DeCosta is the first that did not come up during the 49ers’ search. The Colts have now requested three more interviews on Tuesday, with those for Eliot Wolf and Chris Ballard preceding DeCosta’s.

 

Breer On GM Search, Harbaugh, Draft

When it comes to being a GM, is it more about who you know than what you know? In his latest column, Albert Breer of The MMQB spoke with one league official who suggested that the NFL’s career development advisory panel has something of a fraternity-vibe.

It’s all full of nepotism. It’s a joke. And it starts with Charley Casserly,” the personnel man said.

Casserly rejected the idea that he, Ron Wolf, Bill Polian, Ernie Accorsi, John Madden, Tony Dungy and Carl Peterson are aiming to line up their friends with jobs, but he did acknowledge that connections help.

It’s so different than it is with coaches,” Casserly said. “Coaches are so clearly defined. You know who calls the plays, you see them on TV, coordinators have press conferences. It’s just not like that in scouting. Are they pro? College? None of them are making big decisions. What you need is networking. It’s not politicking.”

Casserly was directly involved with the Jets’ coach and GM search process in 2015. Gang Green wound up hiring Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan – two former co-workers of Casserly’s.

Here’s more from Breer:

  • Breer identified the following executives as people who could immediately jump into a GM job somewhere: Chiefs VP of player personnel Chris BallardPatriots VP of player personnel Nick Caserio, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCostaSeahawks co-director of player personnel Scott FittererTexans director of player personnel Brian GainePackers director of player personnel Brian GutekunstSeahawks co-director of player personnel Trent KirchnerCowboys assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, Cardinals VP of player personnel Terry McDonoughVikings assistant GM George PatonFalcons assistant GM Scott PioliBengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin, Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf.
  • The widespread feeling in NFL circles is that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will be back in pro football eventually, even if it’s not happening right now. For his part, Harbaugh says that he is incredibly happy as the Wolverines’ coach.
  • Is Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen the next under-the-radar quarterback prospect a la Carson Wentz? It was Craig Bohl who recruited Carson Wentz to North Dakota State and he is now Allen’s coach at Wyoming. It’s hard to say whether the 6’5″, 222-pound signal caller has the same kind of talent, but his stock is rising. “He’s a big ol’ kid with a big arm, and he’s pretty athletic too,” said one AFC exec. “We gotta learn more about him, but the tools are there.” Allen, a redshirt sophomore, has plenty of time to develop.
  • Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck recently predicted that Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush will be an “incredibly high draft pick” this year. Apparently, talent evaluators do not agree. “He may get drafted late because of the [lack of] quality at the position,” said one area scout assigned to CMU. “He’s an accurate thrower with deceptive athletic ability to extend plays with his feet. Not a dynamic or explosive athlete, but good enough to avoid the rush and create at times. Average arm at best, but he’s got solid touch on intermediate and deep balls. He just lacks elite velocity.”

Ravens Notes: Pitta, DeCosta, Mallett

Tight end Dennis Pitta missed the entire 2015 season as he recovered from a fractured and dislocated hip. While the 30-year-old had previously hinted at retirement, it appears that the veteran is still interested in returning next season.

“I certainly have a desire to play and want to play and want to be a part of this team moving forward. But we’ll see how it plays out,” Pitta told Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. “Like we talked about, it’s not entirely my decision. Certainly, I have a lot of weight in what my future holds, but it’s not totally in my hands. We’ll see. There’s no timeline as far as when a decision is going to be made. We’ll give it some time this offseason, and I’ll certainly do some thinking and testing my body and hip.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of Baltimore…

  • Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta is once again in demand. Zrebiec writes that the 44-year-old was a top target for the Titans general manager job, although the long-time executive has continually declined interviews.
  • Quarterback Ryan Mallett was content with his performance down the stretch this season, but he understands he’ll be back on the bench with the return of Joe Flacco. “I don’t know what the future holds,” Mallett told Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun. “What I’m going to do is take this offseason to get into the best shape that I can, and become a better player any way I can.”
  • ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley doesn’t envision the Browns cutting bait with embattled wideout Josh Gordon. However, if the talented receiver were to be released, the writer is convinced that the Ravens would have interest.

Ravens Rumors: Eagles, Harbaugh, Flacco

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh addressed reporters minutes ago in Baltimore. Here’s a look at the highlights:

  • The Eagles have not called the Ravens about Harbaugh, owner Steve Bisciotti said, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The Baltimore head coach was viewed as a long shot target for Philadelphia, but it appears the Eagles recognize Harbaugh isn’t leaving the Ravens.
  • Newsome is hopeful that team can reduce Joe Flacco‘s cap number in 2016 but he said the team has to have a plan of putting together a roster if Flacco’s cap number remains at $28.55MM, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes.
  • Linebacker Terrell Suggs is coming back in 2016, Newsome says (via Hensley). Suggs told him that he doesn’t want to leave game like he left Denver with Achilles injury. The former first-round pick has played his entire career in Baltimore, making six Pro Bowls and winning the defensive player of the year award. Prior to his 2015 injury, the 33-year-old missed only 11 games during his career, including eight in 2012 when he tore his right Achilles.
  • When discussing the cap situation further, Newsome explained that the team had dead money with Ray Rice last year and he indicated that tight end Dennis Pitta could call for more dead money in 2016, as Zrebiec tweets. Pitta is dead set on returning to the field next year, despite his constant hip problems. “I’m a football player and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” said Pitta back in November. “I have a sense of duty to my teammates, the team and to this organization. This organization has given me a lot over the last few years.” The tight end has played in only three games since receiving a five-year deal with $16MM guaranteed in February 2014. One has to wonder if he might be forced to retire at this point.
  • Newsome said trying to extend Justin Tucker is a priority and if it gets to the point where they have to, they will use franchise tag on him, Zrebiec tweets. Tucker, 26, has been a little shakier during the last two seasons than he was in his first two years, missing five field goal attempts in 2014 and seven in 2015. However, all but one of those misses came from 50+ yards, and he converted all 29 of his extra-point tries in 2015, so he’ll be in line for a nice raise from Baltimore.
  • Owner Steve Bisciotti said that team exec Eric DeCosta is still committed to the organization, Zrebiec tweets. “He’s got too much at stake here in his relationship with Ozzie [Newsome],” Bisciotti said. The owner added that DeCosta probably could have had 10 different GM jobs by now if he wanted them. Bisciotti said that he doesn’t see either exec going anywhere for “many years” (link).
  • Harbaugh said that the team is definitely looking to add a pass rusher, Zrebiec tweets.
  • When asked about his free agency approach, Newsome said, “I don’t think we’ll be as busy as some teams are in March. We never have” (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). Newsome said that the Ravens will have money available if a free agent they like is out there (link).
  • Newsome said that he feels the team needs to add one more, if not two more, wide receivers early on in the draft or in free agency (Twitter link via Zrebiec).

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 ESPN.com 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 NFL.com (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 ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Latest On Titans’ General Manager Search

The Titans don’t appear to have lined up any head coaching interviews yet, but the team has been active in pursuing possible candidates for its general manager opening. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross will interview for the Titans’ GM position.

[RELATED: Titans part ways with general manager Ruston Webster]

Ross, who is believed to be under consideration for other jobs, is in charge of the Giants’ draft, which has had its share of misses in recent years — particularly when Odell Beckham is removed from the equation. Still, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com writes that Ross is well regarded by the Fritz Pollard Alliance and by former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, who has consulted for multiple teams hiring GMs within the past few years.

In addition to Ross, Colts VP of football operations Jimmy Raye III is being targeted by the Titans, who hope to bring him in for an interview, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Tennessee is also aiming high by requesting to interview Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links). DeCosta has long been considered the potential GM of the future in Baltimore, and has repeatedly turned down opportunities to interview with other clubs, preferring to remain with the Ravens. We’ll see if he contemplates interviewing for the Titans’ job, which has its pros (Marcus Mariota, the No. 1 overall pick) and cons (an uncertain ownership situation).