Eric DeCosta

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.

AFC Notes: Ravens, Patriots, Rivers

After the Ravens added Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Mark Ingram believes his team officially has the best running game in the league.

“I like his mindset, I like his attitude, I like the way he run the ball. Just bring him and his talents to our room that’s already special; our backfield is gonna be the best in the league for sure,” Ingram told NFL Network’s Colleen Wolfe (via NFL.com’s Grant Gordon). “We’re all looking forward to it, being playmakers for the team and help us win the championship.”

Last season, Ingram and quarterback Lamar Jackson became just the second RB-QB duo to top 1,000 rushing yards in the same season (Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick did it with the Falcons in 2006). Gus Edwards also had a productive season in Baltimore, running for 711 yards and two scores. Even Justice Hill found the end zone twice as a rookie.

While the backfield may be a bit crowded, it doesn’t sound like Ingram is too concerned about carries. Rather, the veteran is focused on winning a championship, and he passed that mindset on to his rookie teammate.

“He reached out to me,” Ingram said. “Right after he got drafted, just shot me his number, said he was looking forward to getting to work. I told him let’s go get a ring.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Sticking with Baltimore, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta told season ticket holders that the team doesn’t have a whole lot of salary cap flexibility (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec on Twitter). DeCosta noted that if the front office did open up space, they’d likely pursue a pass rusher/linebacker or a veteran offensive lineman.
  • Reports yesterday indicated that Tom Brady‘s “deteriorating relationship” with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a big reason why the quarterback left New England. However, Brady vehemently denied those rumors via Instagram, asking reporters to “[p]lease be more responsible with reporting” (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). McDaniels and Brady had been paired together for more than a decade, winning six Super Bowls along the way.
  • In 2019, Philip Rivers was playing behind a Chargers offensive line that ranked 29th in effectiveness, per Pro Football Focus. In Indy, he’ll be playing behind an offensive line that was ranked third by the same metric, and that’s a big reason why the veteran decided to join the Colts. “The big part of Philip being here is Anthony CastonzoQuenton Nelson,” said offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni (via NFL.com’s Nick Shook). Ryan KellyBraden SmithMark Glowinski. Those guys are studs…That’s something that he just kept mentioning after we signed him of how valuable those guys were to him.”

AFC North Notes: Jackson, JuJu, Browns, Tate

The second of the Ravens‘ two 2018 first-round picks has changed the course of their franchise, with Lamar Jackson becoming an MVP candidate barely a year after he made his first NFL start. Ravens brass took extensive measures to keep their Jackson interest secret. While John Harbaugh has said he discussed Jackson at length with his staff and scouts leading up to the 2018 draft, Eric DeCosta said he and previous Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome did not mention their interest in Jackson to the team’s scouts or coaching staff, according to Peter King of NBC Sports. Nor did the Ravens interview Jackson at the Combine, with Newsome and DeCosta wanting to keep what turned out to be an important secret. The Ravens, however, took a risk on losing Jackson by trading back twice in Round 1. Baltimore selected Hayden Hurst at No. 25 before trading back into the first round, via Philadelphia, for No. 32.

We felt like there was a pretty good chance that Lamar might be there later in the first round, early part of the second round,” DeCosta said, via King. “We were willing, if we could, to trade back, trade back, accumulate capital and then possibly either try to trade back again or in a second round, make a play and get Lamar at that point. But, you know, it was a risk.”

“We were (nervous about losing Jackson). We were. But I think you’ve got to stay as clinical in the moment as you can, and really just go with all your best information and the plan.”

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Although Myles Garrett‘s appeal will take place Wednesday, the odds the Browns defensive end plays again this season appear slim. “He will not play the rest of the season,” Roger Goodell told OTG’s Gary Myers (via Pro Football Talk). “He will probably meet with us some time in the offseason. We’ll make a judgement. … Does he have remorse? Does he understand why it’s not acceptable? Do we understand what he’s going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?” Garrett is suspended indefinitely for striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet.
  • Prior to the AFC North rivals’ game-ending fight, the Steelers saw wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson suffer concussions. In addition to the head injury Smith-Schuster sustained, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) the third-year receiver also sustained a knee injury on the play that ended his night. Smith-Schuster has not missed a game this season but he’s uncertain for Pittsburgh’s Week 12 tilt against Cincinnati.
  • The Bengals observed one of their emerging wideouts stretchered off the field Sunday. Auden Tate is in concussion protocol and suffered a cervical strain, Zac Taylor said (via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby, on Twitter). Tate flew back to Cincinnati with his teammates and has appeared to escape a serious injury.

Ravens Notes: Second Round, Brown, Burns

The Ravens will have a pair of third-rounders this evening, but the team currently doesn’t own a second-round pick. It sounds like it’s going to stay that way, as general manager Eric DeCosta said it’s unlikely the team moves up.

“We look at today as an awesome opportunity for this team to get better,” DeCosta said (via the team’s Twitter). “We’ve got two picks at this time, you never know if we’re going to have more than two picks. We’ve got a bunch of picks tomorrow afternoon.

“There’s a possibility that we can trade up into the second round. Probably unlikely that we would do that based on what we’d have to give up to do it.”

The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec tweets that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens end up making a trade to move up in the third round, where they’re currently armed with picks No. 85 and No. 102. The front office has already pulled off one deal during the draft, as the Ravens acquired No. 25, No. 127, and No. 197 from the Eagles in exchange for No. 22.

Let’s check out some more notes out of Baltimore…

  • Even though the team doesn’t have a second, that doesn’t seem to be concerning DeCosta. The general manager told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley that he’s excited about the depth in the third and fourth rounds (Twitter link). “I think this is a really, really good draft in the third and fourth round,” GM Eric DeCosta said. “We see great opportunity for us over the next couple of days.” Baltimore has three fourth-rounders at their disposal.
  • Zrebiec writes that the Ravens would have loved to add a pass rusher last night. However, once Brian Burns was taken by the Panthers at No. 16, the front office felt like none of the remaining outside linebackers had first-round grades. That led them to wideout Marquise Brown, although DeCosta took a risk of missing out on his target by moving down a few slots. “We were nervous to be honest. I was a little bit nervous that Philly might take (Brown), but it’s a calculated risk,” DeCosta said. “We had some other players that were there that we liked. You know we like to make trades. It made sense to gamble, to roll the dice a little bit, so we did.”
  • The Ravens final decision ultimately came down to Brown or Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor, according to Zrebiec. If the team had opted for the offensive lineman, they would have moved him to offensive guard. Taylor wasn’t taken during the first-round of the draft.
  • As Zrebiec writes, the Ravens front office doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to first-round receivers, as Travis Taylor (2000), Mark Clayton (2005) and Breshad Perriman (2015) all disappointed. Predictably, DeCosta said the team’s history didn’t deter him from selecting a wideout with his first draft pick as general manager. “In my mind, this is one of the more electric players in college football this year, so we spent a lot of time looking at him and watching him,” DeCosta said.

John Harbaugh’s Role Won’t Change With New GM

It was rumored that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh wanted to have final say on personnel decisions with the team moving from Ozzie Newsome to Eric DeCosta as general manager in 2019. The coach dispelled those rumors, however, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley tweets

“It works the same way, except now Eric is in the seat. Eric is the decision-maker, and he’ll be the guy making that final call, and he’ll also be the guy that will be building from the ground up.”

It took a few days to announce Harbaugh’s new contract, leading some to think the team’s longtime head coach was searching for more of a say in the team’s front office. However, he is not starting from scratch with DeCosta. The two have been in the organization since Harbaugh arrived, with DeCosta even beginning his tenure with the team in 1996. Though he won’t have “final say,” Harbaugh harped on the organization’s excellent communication.

“This is an organization that works together. We cross paths and we talk everything out – football, scouting, medical, weight strength and conditioning, everything you can think of. To me, it doesn’t matter who has what say over what. It’s never been about that here.”

Earlier in the week, Harbaugh signed a four-year extension that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2019 campaign. Before putting ink to paper, the longtime coach had one year remaining on his deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Pack, Ravens, Saints, Conley

Brian Gutekunst remains confident the Packers will sign Aaron Rodgers to an extension this offseason, telling Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk he expects an agreement “soon.” The first-year GM said both sides continue to work on a pact. Although, the negotiations likely just saw the price rise since Matt Ryan‘s five-year, $150MM extension raised the ceiling for quarterback contracts. However, Gutekunst told Florio before Ryan’s Falcons agreement was finalized that both the Packers and Rodgers may be waiting to see if any other quarterback deals are completed this offseason. With Kirk Cousins signed and Ryan now locked up through 2023, Rodgers’ deal is likely next on the QB docket. Although, it’s still possible the Patriots and Tom Brady revise the reigning MVP’s contract. With two years remaining on Rodgers’ deal, Florio estimates the final result will be a contract closer to Ryan’s through-2023 deal than Cousins’ three-year accord. He also expects Rodgers’ new deal to further raise the quarterback ceiling, one that’s climbed considerably since Derek Carr became the league’s first $25MM-AAV player less than a year ago.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Two rookies the Ravens may well have hoped to land went to AFC North rivals. Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun notes the Ravens were eyeing Miami running back Mark Walton with their fourth-round pick, but the Bengals ended up selecting him six spots before Baltimore’s next pick — one that went to Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett. The other player they may well have wanted ended up in Pittsburgh. Zreibec adds the Ravens most likely sought James Washington, who went to the Steelers late in the second round. Eric DeCosta said a few times during this draft he became “angrier than usual” because of a player going off the board just prior to a Ravens selection window, and Zreibec assumes the Oklahoma State wide receiver was the source of one of these agitation bouts.
  • Brandon Coleman‘s Saints contract is worth a maximum of $1MM, Larry Holder of NOLA.com reports. Coleman re-signed with New Orleans after not being tendered as a restricted free agent. Had the Saints applied the low-end tender to Coleman, he would have made $1.9MM this season. After the Saints selected Tre’Quan Smith in the third round, Coleman and return specialist Tommylee Lewis could be battling for a roster spot, Nick Underhill of The Advocate writes.
  • On the subject of Saints position battles, Underhill notes the Saints are high enough on Taysom Hill that they might be ready to cut Tom Savage and carry just two quarterbacks if Hill beats him out for the backup job. They also brought in J.T. Barrett this month. Hill served as the Saints’ third-string quarterback last season behind Drew Brees and Chase Daniel. It would cost the Saints just $100K if they released Savage.
  • Gareon Conley has yet to receive full clearance to return to Raiders workouts, but Jon Gruden said that appears imminent, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Conley underwent shin surgery last year after missing almost his entire rookie season. Gruden indicated the 2017 first-round pick is running with teammates and participating in walkthroughs but hasn’t been given a full green light yet.
  • Both of Eric Berry‘s twin younger brothers are with teams this weekend. One will have a chance to join the All-Pro safety with the Chiefs. Elliott Berry is in Kansas City working as a tryout player, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Meanwhile, Evan Berry signed with the Browns as a UDFA on Friday. Both of twins played at Tennessee, as Eric did.

Ravens Did Not Violate Rooney Rule

Last week, the Ravens announced that general manager Ozzie Newsome will step down in 2019, allowing longtime assistant GM Eric DeCosta to take over. Although the position has been filled without first interviewing a minority candidate, the Fritz Pollard Alliance has confirmed that the team is not in violation of the Rooney Rule. Eric DeCosta (vertical)

Under Rooney Rule protocol, when a club has established a firm succession plan that involves an internal coach or executive replacing a departing head coach or general manager, no external search is required,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance said in a statement (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). “Examples of such circumstances include Jim Caldwell‘s succession of Tony Dungy as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Jim Mora‘s succession of Mike Holmgren as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. DeCosta’s pending succession of Newsome does not violate the Rooney Rule. The FPA salutes Ozzie Newsome for his groundbreaking tenure with the Ravens and congratulates DeCosta on his pending promotion.”

The succession plan has been in the works “over the last five years,” according to Newsome. Michael David Smith of PFT first reported that the move was not in violation of the Rooney Rule.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens’ Ozzie Newsome To Step Down In 2019, Eric DeCosta To Take Over

The Ravens’ front office will have a new chief in 2019. Next year, longtime GM Ozzie Newsome will step down, allowing assistant GM Eric DeCosta to take over, owner Steve Bisciotti announced (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun on Twitter). Joe Hortiz/Jon Harbaugh/Matt Elam/Ozzie Newsome/Eric DeCosta (Featured)

DeCosta has been chased by rival teams for years now, but he has rebuffed many of those advances. Recently, DeCosta rejected an opportunity to interview for the Packers’ GM vacancy, yet another indication that a promotion was in his future. In building this succession plan, the Ravens have found a way to retain one of the league’s most sought-after executives while doing right by Newsome.

I get a chance to work with my friends,” DeCosta said in 2015 when asked why he has stayed with the Ravens despite overtures from other teams (via Zrebiec). “Every day, I come in and work with my friends. I think it’s a relationship business. 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…My wife is from Baltimore. I’ve been here 20 years, my kids go to school here. It’s great. I sit with these guys every day and give everybody a hard time, get a chance to play jokes on everybody every day, and it’s just fun. I enjoy work. I enjoy coming in here. We have a great owner, awesome stadium and best fan base in the country. So, what more do you want?

Finally, DeCosta will have the chance to run his own show. Meanwhile, Bisciotti says Newsome – who constructed two Super Bowl winning teams in Baltimore – will remain with the team as a consultant.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.