Jerry Reese

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

Panthers To Meet With Ex-Giants GM Jerry Reese

The Panthers are interviewing former Giants GM Jerry Reese for their vacancy, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, they’ve also requested an interview with Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter) hears.

Reese was fired by the Giants towards the end of the 2017 season, leaving the Meadowlands with a pair of Super Bowl rings. On the flipside, the Giants went just 91-85 in Reese’s decade-long tenure as GM.

His recent meeting with the Jaguars marked his first interview since then, but he’s been on the GM radar over the last few years. Reese declined to interview for the Raiders’ GM job in 2018, and last year there was “heavy support” for him to return to the NFL. The Lions may also give him consideration in their current search.

Reese and Dodds join a growing list of GM candidates in Carolina. The Panthers are also seeking interviews with Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio (if they can keep him away from the Texans), Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland, 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters, Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen, and Browns VP of football ops Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Interview Jerry Reese For GM Job

The Jaguars have interviewed former Giants general manager Jerry Reese for their vacant GM post, as Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com report. Reese’s meeting with Jacksonville marks the first time he has sat for an interview since he was fired by Big Blue in 2017.

There has, however, been plenty of interest in his services. Reese turned down an interview for the Raiders’ GM job in 2018, and we heard last year that there was “heavy support” for him to return to the league. Earlier this month, a report indicated that he could be in the running for the Lions’ GM position.

Unlike other execs looking to get back in the NFL, Reese has not hired an agent and refuses to make an appearance as an analyst or commentator. Sources tell Garafolo and Rapoport that Reese may already be in a front office if he was a bit more of a self-promoter, but that simply isn’t his style.

His patience, however, might ultimately pay off. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com hears that the Jags’ GM gig — as well as their HC post, assuming they move on from Doug Marrone — is considered at least as attractive as any other opening in the league thanks to the club’s ~$100MM of cap space, 11 draft picks in 2021, and potential opportunity to draft Clemson star QB Trevor Lawrence.

Though the Giants went just 91-85 in Reese’s tenure as GM, the club did win two Lombardi Trophies during that time, and his abilities as an exec are widely-respected around the league. If he and the Jags come to terms, it would be considered a win for Jacksonville.

In addition to Reese, the Jags are also considering Louis Riddick and Rick Smith, as PFR’s tracker shows.

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HC/GM Rumors: Lynn, Harbaugh, Bears

Three head coaches and two GMs have already been fired this season, and there will be more dismissals to come. We learned this morning that Eagles HC Doug Pederson is on the hot seat, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Chargers HC Anthony Lynn is in danger of losing his job as well.

The Bolts gave Lynn a modest vote of confidence this offseason by handing him a one-year extension through 2021, but despite the emergence of rookie signal-caller Justin Herbert, Lynn’s squad has limped to a 3-8 record. Several of those losses have been of the heartbreaking variety that Chargers fans have become accustomed to, and Lynn’s in-game decisions have been called into question.

The 51-year-old is highly-regarded in the Chargers’ building, and he did lead his club to a 12-4 record two seasons ago. If he does get fired, he probably won’t have a difficult time finding another HC gig.

Now for more from the HC/GM rumor mill:

  • Jim Harbaugh‘s days with the University of Michigan appear to be numbered, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says the former 49ers HC is eyeing an NFL return. Florio adds that a number of clubs are already “doing their homework” on Harbaugh, who could be one of a number of prominent college coaches looking to make a leap to the pros.
  • A few weeks ago, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said the Bears “could” move on from HC Matt Nagy at season’s end. Now, La Canfora says it’s more likely than not that Nagy will be ousted and that Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald will be Chicago’s top choice for Nagy’s replacement.
  • Although Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has drawn plenty of interest and is expected to get his first HC job this offseason, Kansas City quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Mike Kafka is also a name to watch, per La Canfora. We knew that the Eagles were interested in Kafka as an OC last offseason, and JLC says the 33-year-old former QB also had the opportunity to take a head coaching interview. Kafka declined, as he wanted to continue to learn under Andy Reid, but he will be a top target for HC and OC openings in 2021.
  • As far as GM jobs go, former Giants general manager Jerry Reese is expected to draw interest for the Lions‘ GM opening, as La Canfora writes. Reese, who was fired by Big Blue in 2017, wants to return to an NFL front office and has the support from advisors to the Ford family (including Ernie Accorsi, whom Reese succeeded as Giants GM in 2007).
  • The Texans are expected to interview former Chiefs and Browns GM John Dorsey, according to La Canfora. Dorsey was fired by Cleveland at the end of last season, but it would be fair to blame more of the Browns’ disappointing 2019 campaign on former head coach Freddie Kitchens than on Dorsey. After all, Cleveland is now poised for a playoff berth with a roster that Dorsey largely constructed, and Dorsey also has ties to Bieniemy, who has been heavily connected to Houston’s HC job.
  • An unfortunate neck injury may have brought an end to A.Q. Shipley‘s playing career, but he will get the chance to join the Buccaneers‘ coaching staff, as Carmen Vitali of the team’s official website writes. Shipley has long been a favorite of Tampa HC Bruce Arians, who believes the veteran center has all the makings of an excellent coach.

Extra Points: Coaches, Bears, Bell, Tomlin

About halfway through the 2019 NFL season, one head coach has already been fired (Jay Gruden), and several more are on the hot seat. With that in mind people’s attentions are starting to turn to the next crop of head coaches, and it should be a pretty busy carousel this offseason. The league has begun their annual process of internally identifying top head coach and general manager candidates, and a committee will meet again in Week 11 to come up with a list, sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Canfora notes that Stanford coach David Shaw has been “receiving ringing endorsements and has very strong support within the league,” although he has rebuffed NFL advances in the past.

La Canfora also highlights several current NFL assistant coaches who have already talked about heavily. Interestingly, he identifies some potential new general manager candidates who we haven’t heard as much about. La Canfora writes that there is “heavy support” for fired Giants GM Jerry Reese to receive another job. “Former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and former Lions GM Martin Mayhew are also generating support from the committee,” La Canfora writes. He also throws out ESPN analyst Louis Riddick as someone who is highly regarded, and we’ve heard those same rumblings before.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Miles Sanders has played a big role for the Eagles this season, and he racked up 73 yards in their win over the Bears on Sunday. Apparently, as the rookie revealed to the media earlier this week, he almost ended up in Chicago. “I thought I was going to end up there,” Sanders said of the Bears, who didn’t have a pick in April’s draft until the third round, via Zach Berman of The Athletic. “They knew I was probably going to be gone before the third round, but they were also talking about trading up to get me,” he said. The Penn State product was the second running back taken in the draft, and the Bears ended up nabbing David Montgomery in the third round. Sanders has been a part of a timeshare backfield with Jordan Howard so far.
  • Jets running back Le’Veon Bell surprised everybody by saying the Steelers called about trading for him at the deadline, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed they did. Not so fast says Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, who replied “not to my knowledge, no,” when asked if the Steelers tried to acquire Bell, per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s possible the truth lies somewhere in between, and the most likely scenario is that the Steelers made an exploratory phone call but never got at all serious about it. Bell coming back to the city he started his career in would’ve at least made a dull trade deadline a lot more interesting.
  • In case you missed it, the Seahawks apparently thought about adding Antonio Brown before claiming Josh Gordon off waivers.

Jerry Reese Turns Down Interview With Raiders

Longtime Giants general manager Jerry Reese has turned down the opportunity to interview for the Raiders’ GM position, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Reese served as Big Blue’s GM from 2007-17, and he had been with the organization since 1994. He became one of the most respected executives in the league during that time, and he constructed two Super Bowl champions, but the latter part of his tenure was marred by a series of missteps that ultimately led to his ouster.

Nonetheless, it makes sense that he would be a top target for teams seeking a new GM. Likewise, it makes sense that someone of Reese’s caliber would turn down overtures from the Raiders, as it currently seems that whoever serves as the Oakland GM right now would be little more than a figurehead and a yes man for head coach Jon Gruden. Gruden’s second stint with the Raiders has already been sullied by frequent reports of internal discord, and it is likely that the club will have difficulty attracting an established GM candidate.

In other Raiders news, the team has fired strength and conditioning coach Tom Shaw, according to Schefter. Gruden brought Shaw to Oakland shortly after he was hired earlier this year, but the marriage did not last long. Shaw, who previously worked on speed and conditioning with the Patriots and Saints, and who trained athletes at his facility at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, was recently told by one of Gruden’s administrators that his time with the Raiders was up.

Although Shaw’s dismissal is not a high-profile move, it only strengthens the narrative that there is far too much turmoil within the franchise, and Gruden is clearly at the epicenter of that turmoil. Shaw becomes the fifth strength coach that Gruden has fired during his time as an NFL head coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends GM Candidates

The Fritz Pollard Alliance has released its annual list of minority candidates for general manager vacancies. Much like the latest batch of recommended coaching hires, the suggested GM list is more than twice as long as last year’s. 

[RELATED: Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends Head Coaching Candidates]

Here’s the full rundown, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

  • Ray Agnew (Rams)
  • Joey Clinkscales (Raiders)
  • Quentin Harris (Cardinals)
  • Alonzo Highsmith (Browns)
  • Brad Holmes (Rams)
  • Champ Kelly (Bears)
  • Martin Mayhew (49ers, ex-Lions GM)
  • Will McClay (Cowboys)
  • Jimmy Raye III (Lions)
  • Jerry Reese (ex-Giants GM)
  • Doug Whaley (ex-Bills GM)
  • Doug Williams (Redskins)

 

Clinkscales, Highsmith, McClay, and Williams were all featured on last year’s list, but none of those executives landed GM jobs. The only executive from the last round of recommendations who did not carry over to this year was Ray Farmer, the former Browns GM who is currently serving as a senior consultant with the Rams.

Of the dozen suggested executives on this list, only three sat for GM interviews in the last cycle: Mayhew (Panthers), Raye (Texans), and Whaley (Packers). McClay was asked to interview for the Texans opening, but declined the opportunity and instead signed a two-year extension to stay with the Cowboys. McClay may garner consideration again this time around, but he might not be interested in leaving Dallas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Giants’ Pat Shurmur Hire

A difference between how Pat Shurmur approached his Giants interview helped land him the job. The former Vikings OC conducted his Giants meeting in a fashion that left no doubt the Giants were his first choice, which is something, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, team management couldn’t see in Josh McDaniels or Matt Patricia.

While Vacchiano reports some in the Giants’ organization preferred the two Patriots coordinators to Shurmur “until the very end,” he notes Shurmur left “by far” the strongest first impression on the Giants of the candidates summoned. One of the reasons management was sold on Shurmur was his desire to land the Giants’ job was far more evident than the other finalists’. Vacchiano writes McDaniels appeared to be more interested in the Colts’ job because of Andrew Luck‘s presence, and Patricia’s Lions connection turned out to be very real.

Multiple sources informed Vacchiano that Shurmur was at one point viewed as the favorite in Arizona and that his personality would work better there, but the former Browns coach, per the Giants, was intent on securing the New York job.

Shurmur’s interview, one John Mara ranked as arguably the best he’s seen, resulted in him edging the New England assistants after they’d been viewed as previous favorites. Shurmur also made the strongest connection with Dave Gettleman of the six candidates interviewed, which is interesting given Steve Wilks‘ history with the new Giants GM. Vacchiano notes Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin did not see eye to eye on key components of the team in their final years together, with a specific disagreement involving the team’s offensive line approach, and adds Mara appeared to indicate Reese and Ben McAdoo weren’t meshing as well as they’d hoped to.

Mara indicated a head coach/GM partnership was critical here, and Shurmur — who made a point of saying how much stock he places in repairing the Giants’ offensive front — appears to be in stride with Gettleman at this point.

Mara previously said he wanted a head coach with previous experience leading a team, and Vacchiano reports Shurmur was “much more willing” to accept his wrongdoings from his first job (with the 2011-12 Browns) than McDaniels (fired midway through his second Broncos season in 2010) was. Shurmur made clear he will hire an offensive coordinator, identifying that as a mistake from his first Cleveland campaign. The Giants ultimately ruled out Wilks because of his lack of experience.

Shurmur also spoke with Eli Manning on the phone on Wednesday from the Senior Bowl and then sat down with the franchise passer in the Giants’ cafeteria on Friday, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports. Considering Gettleman’s praise for Manning, and what Shurmur offered about the quarterback’s future at his press conference, it’s starting to look like a strong bet he will be back in New York for his age-37 season.

Schwartz writes Shurmur’s approach with Manning differs from Coughlin’s with Kerry Collins, whom the Giants replaced with Manning in 2004. Coughlin ignored Collins when they saw each other at the facility during the months his and Collins’ tenures overlapped in ’04, Schwartz recalls.

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Latest On Giants’ Coach, GM Search

Ben McAdoo‘s stint in New York was short and ended without a championship, but he did make history in his own way. McAdoo was at the helm for just 28 regular-season games, giving him the lowest total by a Giants head coach since 1930 (as noted by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, via Twitter). In that season, Benny Friedman spent two games as a co-player-coach.

Starting today, the Giants are officially looking to fill vacancies at head coach and GM. Here’s the latest out of New York/New Jersey:

  • Giants owner John Mara says his “very strong preference” is to have a separate head coach and GM. However, he does not rule out a dual role if the right candidate emerges (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).
  • Mara says that both interim hires (GM Kevin Abrams and head coach Steve Spagnuolo) will be interviewed for the full-time jobs (Twitter link via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com). Personally, I don’t think the odds are in Spagnuolo’s favor, even though he is well-regarded by the organization. After a disastrous 2017 season, it seems more likely that the Giants will opt for a reset when it comes to the next head coach.
  • Reese was not responsible for the firing of Tom Coughlin and subsequent hiring of McAdoo, Kinkhabwala tweets. When Coughlin was fired, Reese advocated for two candidates over McAdoo.
  • Former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi has agreed to serve as a consultant in the GM search, Mara announced (Twitter link via team). The owner added that it is possible that a GM hire will be made before the season is through, noting that the team already has some names in mind (Twitter link via Kinkhabwala).
  • Mara says that McAdoo is the one who initially came up with the plan to bench Eli Manning (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson).

Giants Fire GM Jerry Reese

The Giants are now in search of both a new head coach and a general manager. The Giants have fired GM Jerry Reese, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (on Twitter). Jerry Reese (vertical)

[RELATED: Giants Fire Ben McAdoo]

There is precedent for head coaches and GMs to be fired on the same day, but not necessarily during the season. In one fell swoop, the Giants have canned coach Ben McAdoo as well as the man who constructed his roster.

This season has been incredibly disappointing for the organization and our fans, and while it would be ideal to make these kinds of decisions at the conclusion of the season, we simply felt now is the time to prepare for a fresh start,” owner John Mara said in a statement released by the team. “I have great respect for both Jerry and Ben. Jerry has worked tirelessly for this franchise for 23 years. He has always communicated in a straight forward and honest manner.”

Although the Giants have enjoyed great success during Reese’s tenure – including two Super Bowl championships – he has made some perceived blunders in recent years. His timidity in moving up on draft day has left the Giants with some serious busts in the top rounds. This past offseason, he failed to strengthen the Giants’ offensive line even though it was one of the team’s most glaring needs.

Reese has been with the Giants organization since 1994, meaning that he’ll have to find a job elsewhere for the first time in 23 years. Ten years after coming on board as a scout, Reese became the team’s Director of Pro Personnel in 2004. Then, in 2007, he was promoted to GM.

Giants’ assistant general manager Kevin Abrams will take over as GM for the rest of the season, a person with knowledge of team’s moves tells Kinkhabwala (Twitter link). Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been appointed as the team’s new interim head coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.