Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

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

Vikings To Hire Kwesi Adofo-Mensah As GM?

The Vikings have agreed to hire Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their next GM (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). The two sides were hard at work on the contract early this morning, as first reported by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, and they’ve now got everything in place. It’ll be a four-year deal for Adofo-Mensah worth $12MM, according to NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe (on Twitter).

Adofo-Mensah was one of two finalists in Minnesota, alongside Ryan Poles. But, after the Bears pounds on the former Chiefs’ executive director of player personnel, Adofo-Mensah was the last man standing.

Adofo-Mensah was also in the running for the Panthers job last year, but he didn’t make it to the finalist stage. Before joining Cleveland’s front office in 2020 under Andrew Berry, the Stanford grad spent seven years with the 49ers. The Bears also looked at him in this cycle before settling on Poles.

Now, he’ll take over for longtime GM Rick Spielman and lead the search for Mike Zimmer‘s replacement. The Vikings have already begun doing their homework on that front, chatting with eight candidates including ex-49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Adofo-Mensah overlapped with Ryans for three years, so it’s possible that he’ll have a leg up on the competition.

Outside of Adofo-Mensah and Poles, the Vikings also considered:

Bears Request Second GM Interview With Ryan Poles

Ryan Poles is getting a second interview in Chicago. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Chiefs’ executive director of player personnel has been asked to interview a second time for the Bears GM job.

Poles is already a finalist for the Vikings GM job. He will meet with the Bears on Tuesday and the Vikings on Wednesday, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The other finalist for the Minnesota job, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, will meet with the organization again on Tuesday (per Albert Breer on Twitter).

Poles has spent much of his career with the Chiefs, working his way up from director of college scouting to executive director of player personnel, where he works alongside GM Brett Veach and assistant GM Mike Borgonzi.

Last offseason, the Chiefs executive was considered for the Panthers GM job. Besides interest from the Vikings and Bears, Poles was also a finalist for the Giants GM gig (a job that ultimately went to Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen).

Vikings Request Second GM Interviews With Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Ryan Poles

The Vikings are moving toward a GM decision. They have identified Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles as finalists.

While another finalist may emerge, Minnesota has thus far only requested second interviews with these two candidates, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Adofo-Mensah is expected to interview Tuesday, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweeting Poles’ second Vikings meeting is likely to take place Wednesday.

Should Poles take the interview, it would be his second run as a GM finalist during this cycle. The Giants brought him in for a second interview, though Big Blue hired Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen earlier Friday. Just 36, Poles has interviewed with three of the four teams looking for a GM. The Bears also met with the rising exec.

Poles also took part in a second interview with the Panthers last year. On the cusp of a major rise, Poles would follow former Chiefs staffers Chris Ballard and Brett Veach were he to land a GM gig.

Adofo-Mensah joined Poles in interviewing with the Panthers last year, though he was not a finalist for that position. This marks the third-year Browns exec’s first time as a GM finalist. Before joining Cleveland’s front office in 2020 under Andrew Berry, Adofo-Mensah spent seven years with the 49ers. The Stanford grad worked in the business sector until 2013. Adofo-Mensah joined Poles in interviewing for the Bears’ GM gig as well. Chicago has not made its finalists known just yet, so Minnesota’s rival could have a say in this pursuit as well.

Here is how the Vikings’ GM search has shaped up thus far:

  • Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, vice president of football operations (Browns): Second interview requested
  • Brandon Brown, director of player personnel (Eagles): Interviewed 1/18
  • Glenn Cook, vice president of player personnel (Browns): Interviewed 1/20
  • Monti Ossenfort, director of player personnel (Titans): Interviewed 1/16
  • Ryan Poles, director of player personnel (Chiefs): Second interview requested
  • Catherine Raiche, vice president of football operations (Eagles): Interviewed 1/17
  • John Spytek, vice president of player personnel (Buccaneers): Interviewed 1/17
  • Eliot Wolf, senior consultant (Patriots): Interviewed 1/20

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.

Bears Interview Champ Kelly For GM Role; Team Interested In Rick Smith?

Comprised entirely of outside candidates previously, the Bears’ GM interview list now includes one of their own staffers. The Bears interviewed assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly for their GM job Thursday.

Brought in at the start of Ryan Pace‘s GM tenure, Kelly has been with the Bears since 2015. The veteran staffer began as the team’s pro scouting director and has served in his current role since 2017. The Bears promoting a Pace lieutenant would surprise, but Kelly has drawn extensive interest from outside the organization.

The Broncos and Panthers interviewed Kelly for their GM job last year, before respectively hiring George Paton and Scott Fitterer. In 2019, the Jets brought in Kelly for an interview ahead of their Joe Douglas hire. Kelly spent eight years in Denver prior to coming to Chicago. The Bears also completed their interview with Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on Thursday.

The Bears may also have a higher-profile candidate on the radar. Not yet on the team’s interview list, former Texans GM Rick Smith is expected to draw interest from the Bears, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. Smith has not held an NFL role since stepping away from his longtime post as Texans GM after the 2017 season.

Although Smith has not landed on any interview lists during this cycle, he was popular on the 2021 circuit. The Jaguars and Lions met with the 12-year Texans GM, and Washington’s 2020 interview with Smith nearly led to a hire. Smith was in place as GM for the first four playoff berths in Texans history, having drafted the likes of J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins. Smith’s final draft involved the team’s trade-up for Deshaun Watson.

Here is how the Bears’ GM field looks as of Thursday afternoon:

  • Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, vice president of football operations (Browns): Interviewed 1/13
  • Morocco Brown, director of college scouting (Colts): Interview requested
  • Ran Carthon, director of player personnel (49ers): Interview requested
  • Glenn Cook, vice president of player personnel (Browns): Interviewed 1/12
  • Ed Dodds, vice president of player personnel (Colts): Interview requested
  • Jeff Ireland, assistant general manager (Saints): Interview requested
  • Champ Kelly, assistant director of player personnel (Bears): Interviewed 1/13
  • Omar Khan, vice president of football and business administration: Interview requested
  • Joe Schoen, assistant general manager (Giants): Interview requested
  • Rick Smith, former general manager (Texans): Mentioned as candidate
  • Eliot Wolf, senior consultant (Patriots): Interview requested

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 Interviews With Three Execs For GM Gig

In addition to head coach Matt Nagy, the Bears also decided to fire GM Ryan Pace today, and the organization is initially eyeing three names to lead their front office. Per Albert Breer of TheMMQB (via Twitter), the Bears requested interviews with Browns VP of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and VP of player personnel Glenn Cook. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Bears also requested an interview with Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown.

[RELATED: Bears Fire HC Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace]

Adofo-Mensah started his NFL career as director of football research with the 49ers before getting hired into his current role in Cleveland. While the Stanford product hasn’t been in Cleveland all that long, he’s already turned into a popular GM candidate, with the executive getting an interview for the Panthers GM opening last offseason.

Cook was previously in the Packers organization before joining the Browns in 2016. After initially starting in the scouting department, Cook eventually got promoted to VP of player personnel.

Brown had a seven-year stint as the Bears assistant director of pro personnel, so he’s already got plenty of familiarity with ownership. He’s served as a top executive in Indy for the past five years, with Brown earning credit for his draft evaluation. He interviewed for the Falcons GM gig last offseason.

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 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.