Joe Schoen

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

GM/Staff Notes: Staley, Schoen, Jets, Eagles

The Falcons have secured an interview with Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (on Twitter). This will be Schoen’s second GM interview this offseason. He met with the Panthers earlier this week. Schoen has been on the rise for a bit now, moving from Dolphins player personnel director (2014-17) to the assistant GM of a Bills franchise that has raised its profile considerably during his tenure under Brandon Beane. Under Beane, Schoen and Sean McDermott, the Bills have made three playoff berths in four years. They were 0-for-17 in the 21st century previously.

Here is the latest from the GM and coaching carousels:

  • Brandon Staley‘s Rams defense ranked first in scoring defense this season, and that could allow him to continue a meteoric NFL rise. In addition to the Jets requesting an interview with Staley, the Chargers are interested in speaking with the first-year coordinator, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. Staley spent the 2018 season as the Bears’ outside linebackers coach before following Vic Fangio to Denver and working in the same capacity there. But he has become a hot coaching commodity who could end up in a leading role soon.
  • The assistant leading the charge against Staley’s defense Saturday may be competing with him for the Jets‘ top coaching job. Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer is expected to be on the Jets’ radar to replace Adam Gase, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Schottenheimer has been Seattle’s OC for three seasons but served in that role in New York longer, working as offensive coordinator under Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan from 2006-11.
  • While the Eagles are retaining Doug Pederson, they will lose DC Jim Schwartz and part ways with two offensive assistants. Marty Mornhinweg and Rich Scangarello will not be back in Philly next season, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets. Despite both joining the Eagles last season, each was on an expiring contract. This marks another offseason of shakeups to Pederson’s offensive staff. Both Frank Reich and John DeFilippo departed in 2018, while the Eagles fired OC Mike Groh last year. Both Mornhinweg and Scangarello held non-position-coaching titles; the former worked as a senior consultant and the latter functioned as a senior assistant. Mornhinweg is a veteran NFL OC who served as Lions HC from 2001-02, while Scangarello was the Broncos’ OC last season.
  • The Washington GM search is beginning to take shape. In addition to ex-GMs Marty Hurney, Martin Mayhew and Rick Smith, Washington is expected to show interest in ex-Panthers exec Ryan Cowden, per La Canfora. While Cowden worked with Ron Rivera in Carolina, he has been with the Titans since 2016. He currently works as their VP of player personnel.

Panthers Interview Jeff Ireland, Joe Schoen, Monti Ossenfort

The Panthers have been busy with GM interviews Tuesday. Their meeting with Patriots player personnel director Nick Caserio occurred today, but the franchise also met with three other candidates.

Carolina interviewed Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland, Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen and Titans player personnel director Monti Ossenfort, the team announced. These meetings followed Monday interviews with ex-Giants GM Jerry Reese and Browns exec Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The Panthers requested an interview with Colts exec Ed Dodds and are also interested in 49ers staffer Adam Peters.

While Ireland is best known for his GM run with the Dolphins (2008-13), he has been with the Saints since 2015. Also serving as New Orleans’ college scouting director, he has teamed with Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis to help restore the Saints to a perennial playoff entrant with successful drafts in the late 2010s. The Panthers are the only team to interview Ireland in this year’s extensive GM hiring period.

Ossenfort moved from New England to Nashville this year, leaving his longtime Patriots post for a central role with the Titans. He interviewed for the Browns GM opening earlier this year. Schoen has been a right-hand man for Brandon Beane and has played a key role in elevating the Bills from a team with a 17-year playoff drought to one that just secured the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

The Panthers are also interested in Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Chiefs director of player personnel Mike Borgonzi, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Paton has long been a target of GM-seeking teams. His most recent connection came when he backed out of the Browns’ 2020 GM search, one in which he was viewed as the favorite. The Chiefs have seen multiple Andy Reid-era staffers — Chris Ballard, Brett Veach — become GMs. Borgonzi predates Reid’s Kansas City arrival, having joined the Chiefs in 2009. He has risen from a scouting post to director of football operations over the past 10-plus years.

Browns Interested In GM Interview With Bills Joe Schoen

The Browns are the lone organization remaining without a head coach. After restructuring the front office, Cleveland is also searching for a new general manager. After years of internal turmoil, a primary aim of the search appears to be finding a general manager and head coach who have experience working together to keep the organization on the same page.

Earlier reports suggested Bills offensive coordinator Brian Dabol impressed the team in his interview for the head coaching job and now, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Browns have expressed interest in interviewing Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen for their general manager position.

Cleveland entered this season with some of the organization’s highest expectations in recent history. After finishing 2018 strong under interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, the organization doubled down on Kitchens, hiring him as the team’s head coach. Rather than taking the next step towards contention though, the team fell apart. Sophomore quarterback Baker Mayfield took a huge step back and the Browns proved to be one of the most undisciplined teams in football.

While Cleveland shares a division with the Ravens, questions surrounding the future for the Bengals and Steelers leave the rest of the division wide open. The next regime’s early success will likely rest on Mayfield’s shoulders, but with talented players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett there’s reason to believe a new contender could be built soon.

Latest On Dolphins, Adam Gase

This time of year in the NFL season is when the coaching carousel really starts to heat up, and this cycle seems set to be especially busy. There will be a ton of head coaching jobs open, with two coaches already fired and a slew of others set to be canned once Week 17 is over. While people like Todd Bowles, Vance Joseph, Dirk Koetter, and Steve Wilks have been written off as goners, one name that hasn’t been talked about too much is Dolphins coach Adam Gase.

While he’s flown more under the radar, that doesn’t mean his job is safe. We’ve already heard that John Harbaugh isn’t a lock to be in Baltimore long term, and there’s a “lingering belief that owner Stephen Ross would be interested in hiring Ravens coach John Harbaugh”, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.While that still seems like a long shot, Florio also points out how Gase’s future is tied to what the Dolphins do with their front office.

Front office head Mike Tannenbaum is reportedly set to be let go at the end of the year, but it’s Gase who has contractual control and final say over the 53-man roster. A source told Florio that the Dolphins are interested in speaking to Vikings assistant G.M. George Paton and Bills assistant G.M. Joe Schoen, but Florio notes that “if Miami isn’t able to offer a new employee control over the football operation, the Vikings and Bills (and any other team with a current front-office employee under contract) would be able to block the process.”

As such, Florio writes that “the Dolphins need to wrest power from Gase, either voluntarily or involuntarily, if the goal is to hire a high-level executive from another NFL franchise.” It’s unclear if Gase would agree to such a reduction of his authority, or if he would then seek to leave the team.

Gase is a very highly regarded offensive mind, and would be in immediate demand as an offensive coordinator and possibly head coach if he’s available after this year. This is Gase’s third year coaching the Dolphins, and he’s dealt with major injuries in each of his three seasons as coach. His first year in Miami he made the playoffs with journeyman Matt Moore as his quarterback down the stretch, and was stuck with Jay Cutler as a last minute pickup last year after Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL. The Dolphins also appear set to move on from Tannehill, so no matter what happens with Gase it should be an offseason of major change in Miami.

Latest On Panthers’ GM Candidates

The Panthers shocked the NFL world earlier today by firing general manager Dave Gettleman, but they may have done so with candidates in mind. Carolina “loves” Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden, Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen, and Panthers director of college scouting Jeff Morrow, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.Panthers Helmet (Featured)

[RELATED: Potential Candidates For Panthers GM Job]

All three potential contenders for the Carolina position have ties to the Panthers organization. Cowden, who interviewed for the Chiefs’ vacancy last month, spent 16 years with the Panthers before taking a position with Tennessee last summer. Likewise, Schoen worked for Carolina from 2001-08, and is now under the employ of former Panthers executive Brandon Beane in Buffalo. Morrow, the only internal candidate named in Florio’s report, was promoted to director of college scouting as part of a Panthers’ personnel reshuffling in May.

As Florio notes in a separate piece, it seems unlikely the Panthers would move on from Gettleman at this time of year without having a general idea on replacements. However, given the timing of the move, an interim general manager could also make sense, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer wrote earlier today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Name Joe Schoen Assistant GM

Less than a week after the Bills tabbed Brandon Beane as their next GM, the club has made former Dolphins director of player personnel Joe Schoen its assistant GM, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Florio adds that Miami could have blocked the move, but Dolphins executive vice-president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum allowed Schoen to take a promotion with a division rival in order to foster an atmosphere of upward mobility in Miami.

Schoen has steadily worked his way through the front office ranks, having began his professional career as a scouting assistant with the Panthers in 2001. He spent seven years in Carolina before joining the Dolphins as a national scout in 2008, and Miami promoted him to assistant director of college scouting in 2013 before bumping him up to director of player personnel one year later. During his collegiate days, he enjoyed a standout career as a wide receiver at DePauw University (via a press release from the Dolphins announcing his 2014 promotion).

Schoen is now well-positioned to become a GM himself if he enjoys some success during his tenure with Buffalo. Of course, the Bills enter 2017 with a completely new crop of top decision-makers after hiring head coach Sean McDermott earlier this year and replacing departed GM Doug Whaley with Beane a few days ago. While there have been some conflicting reports as to whether McDermott or Beane will have control over the Bills’ 53-man roster — team owner Terry Pegula tried to set the record straight on Friday by announcing that Beane will have the final say — the longtime coworkers will certainly collaborate on roster construction. Schoen, another young front office talent, will now have the opportunity to join that collaboration.