Lance Newmark

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 1-15-21 (4:59pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers 

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Football Team

Lions Interview 3 Internal GM Candidates

The Lions have begun interviewing candidates for their general manager post. Three current Lions front office staffers interviewed for the job, including two who have been with the team for more than 15 years.

Player personnel director Lance Newmark, player personnel VP Kyle O’Brien and pro scouting director Rob Lohman completed their interviews, the Lions announced Friday. A member of this trio moving up to Detroit’s top personnel job would qualify as less likely than a splashier outside hire, but two of these staffers joined the organization before since-fired GM Bob Quinn‘s tenure began.

Newmark has been with the Lions since they employed Barry Sanders; he is wrapping up his 23rd season with the organization. Quinn promoted Newmark to his current role in 2017. Lohman arrived during Matt Millen‘s GM tenure, coming to Detroit in 2007. Previously, he was with the Texans when they became an NFL franchise. Quinn hired O’Brien in 2017, but the veteran exec has been an NFL staffer since 2002. O’Brien has spent the bulk of his career as a Patriots scout.

The Lions are not using a search firm, but they have been connected to bigger names. Former Giants GM Jerry Reese is an expected candidate. The Lions are also now open to hiring Matt Patricia‘s successor first and letting him help select the team’s next GM.

Latest On Jets’ GM Search Process

The Jets’ search for a new general manager will likely ramp up after the upcoming holiday weekend, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports indicates in a series of tweets. As the process unfolds, key questions could involve the potential return of Jets owner Woody Johnson (currently serving as a U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom) and the willingness of head coach Adam Gase to surrender control of the 53-man roster, per Robinson.

Johnson’s brother Christopher is currently running the Jets and made the decision to fire ex-GM Mike Maccagnan and install Gase in an acting personnel capacity. But prospective GM candidates are, perhaps rightly, concerned at the prospect of Woody Johnson returning to helm the franchise in the near future.

Eagles executive Joe Douglas is still Gase’s top choice for general manager, according to Robinson, but he’d probably be the No. 1 option for any number of GM openings. Douglas is expected to be choosy when it comes to his next opportunity, and Robinson invokes Colts GM Chris Ballard — who was picky before ending up in Indianapolis — as a comparison.

There are reportedly a number of candidates whom Gase would accept as GM, per Robinson, including the 49ers’ Adam Peters, the Bears’ Champ Kelly, and the Lions’ Lance Newmark. Additionally, Jets ownership is believed to “think highly” of Vikings exec George Paton. None of those names have been officially linked to the New York job as of yet.

Latest On Jets’ GM Search

The Jets have their eyes on Eagles executive Joe Douglas for their GM vacancy, and head coach/interim GM Adam Gase is reportedly staring in his direction as well. But, the Jets will also consider other candidates, including Bears assistant director of personnel Champ Kelly and Lions director of player personnel Lance Newmark (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com).

Whoever the new GM is, he’ll report directly to owner/CEO Christopher Johnson. Meanwhile, Gase will maintain control over the 53-man roster, which could prove to be a sticking point for top candidates. The Jets are loaded with young talent thanks to multiple losing seasons, but any exec that takes the job will have to wrestle with Gase when it comes to player acquisitions. After Gase toppled Maccagnan and ran him out of New York, it’s hard to see an established front office man jumping at Gang Green’s vacancy.

Meanwhile, Gase wasted little time in starting his GM duties. On Wednesday night, he shipped linebacker Darron Lee – a former first-round pick – to the Chiefs for a sixth-round choice.

Extra Points: Beane, Lions, Eagles, Saints

As reports indicated earlier this week, new Bills GM Brandon Beane will indeed have control over the 53-man roster. Terry Pegula confirmed as much Friday. “Brandon’s gonna have the 53,” the owner said, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “Him and Sean (McDermott) will obviously collaborate on any decisions.” The 39-year-old first-time GM, though, plans to work extensively alongside McDermott, with whom he obviously functioned alongside with the Panthers.

It’s going to be similar to what Sean and I had in Carolina. There’s no czar here, every decision is going to be collaborative,” Beane said, via WGRZ.com. “The unique thing Sean and I had was a respect, I knew his roots and how he worked his way up.”

Beane and McDermott have worked together since 2011, save for a near-four-month period when McDermott took the Bills job and Beane stayed in Charlotte. The former Panthers assistant GM will still have the final say, even though the new Bills HC arrived in Buffalo first.

Here’s more from Buffalo and the latest from around the league.

  • A slew of Bills free agency moves shouldn’t be expected, Beane said today, per Joe Buscaglia of WKBW (on Twitter). In a statement not exactly contrary to most new GMs’ philosophies, Beane plans to build the Bills through the draft (Twitter link, via Buscaglia).
  • The Lions announced a handful of new titles in their front office following Brian Xanders‘ departure. Among them: Kyle O’Brien now has the title of Vice President of Player Personnel and Lance Newmark is now Director of Player Personnel (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com).
  • Doug Pederson isn’t worried about a potential holdout from Brandon Graham, the Eagles coach said today, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com (on Twitter). A report earlier this week linked the burgeoning-star edge defender to a holdout. Graham is signed to a four-year deal worth $26.5MM. He’s set to carry cap numbers of $7.5MM apiece in 2017 and ’18. The 29-year-old ranked as the No. 2 overall edge defender in the opinion of Pro Football Focus last season. Among 4-3 defensive ends, Graham’s deal places him just 16th in terms of average annual value. Less accomplished teammate Vinny Curry is making nearly $3MM per year more than Graham due to his 2016 extension.
  • The Saints invited some familiar names to their rookie minicamp/tryout venue today. Former Jets, Bills and Falcons passer Matt Simms received an invite, as did former Raiders and Buccaneers wideout Louis Murphy and veteran tight end Clay Harbor (all Twitter links via Nick Underhill of The Advocate). Murphy spent the past two seasons with the Bucs but saw injuries limit him to just six games.

Zach Links contributed to this report.