Marty Hurney

Martin Mayhew To Be Washington’s GM

Jan. 22: Mayhew will indeed be the GM, and Hurney’s official title will be Executive Vice President of Football/Player Personnel, as Rapoport tweets. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network says that both men will report to head coach Ron Rivera, who is still heading football operations (Twitter link).

Jan. 21: Washington was connected to hires of both Marty Hurney and Martin Mayhew this week, with the former being expected to lead the team’s front office. This structure may not be Washington’s preferred hierarchy, however.

It could be Mayhew in line to become Washington’s GM. The former Lions GM is the candidate Washington will go with as general manager, according to ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). Mayhew, who was with the 49ers for four years, will receive a second chance in a GM post.

Washington will still hire Mayhew and Hurney, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, but the latter will be part of a Mayhew-led front office (Twitter link). The ex-Panthers GM will serve as a high-ranking Washington staffer. The Panthers fired Hurney in December, ending his second stint as their front office boss.

The Lions fired Mayhew in 2015, doing so despite the former Washington Super Bowl-winning cornerback helping Detroit to two playoff berths after the franchise sunk to the NFL’s basement during the 2000s. Mayhew spent a year with the Giants before joining John Lynch‘s 49ers staff. The 49ers promoted Mayhew to VP of player personnel in 2019 and stand to benefit from Mayhew’s Washington hire.

The NFL’s Rooney Rule changes last year will mean the team that loses a head coach or executive is entitled to third-round draft compensation. Because the Jets hired Robert Saleh, the 49ers’ third-round pick for Mayhew will come in 2023, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (subscription required). The Saleh move will provide San Francisco with third-rounders this year and next. Overall, the haul stands to be three total Round 3 picks for the 49ers, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News tweets. These selections will come at the end of the round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Washington Likely To Hire Marty Hurney As GM?

It looks like Washington may be zeroing in on its new general manager. Team brass, including head coach Ron Rivera, are meeting with former Panthers GM Marty Hurney today, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapoport adds “Hurney is the top candidate to be their new GM, a hire that could be official this week,” so it sounds like this is close to being a done deal. That’s not too surprising, since Rivera and Hurney worked closely together for a while during their days with Carolina. Hurney was originally the Panthers’ GM from 2002-12, and hired Rivera in 2011. He was then fired, got brought back in 2017, and then was fired again back in December.

Rivera operated as the team’s GM for the 2020 season, and had final say on personnel decisions. It’s unclear whether he’ll retain that authority in this new arrangement, but whatever the case Rivera will certainly still have a lot of power and will report directly to ownership and not to Hurney.

We heard Hurney connected to this opening very shortly after he was fired by Panthers owner David Tepper, and it seems like he was always the top target. Washington is coming off an improbable NFC East title, and whoever the new GM is they’ll have an excellent young core on defense to work with.

Also no matter who the new GM is, they’ll need to figure out what to do at quarterback. It’s unclear if Alex Smith plans on playing beyond this season and is 36 anyway, Dwayne Haskins has been cut, and Kyle Allen doesn’t inspire much confidence as a quarterback of the future. It’ll be very interesting to see what they do this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

Coaching/GM Notes: Hurney, Lewis, Morris, Lynn, Gettleman

The Panthers made a big splash Monday by firing GM Marty Hurney. Although the timing was interesting since Carolina’s season will be over in just a couple of weeks, it wasn’t the result of any sudden developments or changes. The move had apparently been in the works for a while, as Albert Breer of SI.com was told that Hurney was in the final year of his contract and that he and owner David Tepper had been talking about an exit for weeks now (Twitter link). Breer adds that the analytics-minded Tepper wants to “modernize” the personnel side. As for names to keep an eye on for the now vacant role, Breer tweets that 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters is one to watch. Peters played for Panthers head coach Matt Rhule back when Rhule was the defensive line coach at UCLA.

It sounds like Tepper knows more or less what he wants, and accordingly the relatively new owner told the media on Monday he won’t be using an outside search firm like some teams for the GM opening. To clarify on the modernization, David Newton of ESPN.com reiterates that the Panthers will look for a new GM who “is driven by data and analytics, characteristics that didn’t define” Hurney. Carolina seems to have found their coach of the future with Rhule but they’ve still got plenty of questions to address moving forward, like whether or not Teddy Bridgewater is the long-term answer under center. Who they hire here should tell us a lot about the direction they plan to take.

Now that we’ve broken down most of the Hurney fallout, let’s pivot to the rest of the front office and coaching staff talk around the league:

  • Former Texans GM Rick Smith looks like a hot candidate this cycle. Smith recently interviewed with the Falcons, and sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports that he’ll interview with the Lions soon. That’s not all, as sources also told La Canfora that Washington is interested in having Smith run their football operations. We heard back in January that Washington almost hired Smith before electing not to hire a front office head for the time being, so this isn’t too surprising. VP of player personnel Kyle Smith is currently overseeing things for Washington, but sources told La Canfora that the team is “very likely to fill a traditional general manager spot” this offseason. Smith left Houston after the 2017 season when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and is generally well regarded around the league.
  • Speaking of guys looking to get back into the league after a hiatus, we might not have seen the last of Marvin Lewis. The former long-time Bengals coach is “under consideration for several head coaching opportunities in 2021,” sources told La Canfora. Lewis was never able to make a deep playoff run in Cincy, but he undeniably did an incredible job turning them from a perennial laughing stock and doormat to annual contender in the AFC North for a while. After spending an impressive 16 season roaming the Bengals’ sideline, he’s spent the past couple years on Herm Edwards’ staff at Arizona State. La Canfora writes that “numerous teams have indicated an interest in speaking to Lewis,” although he doesn’t specifically name any. Lewis reportedly received strong interest from both the Cowboys and Washington during last year’s cycle, and it sounds like this could be the year he makes it back in.
  • Finally, a few notes via Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com. The Falcons managed to turn their season around a bit after firing Dan Quinn, although things have started to go off the rails again in recent weeks. The initial success led to some buzz that interim coach and former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris could be a candidate for the full-time job, although Pauline throws some cold water on that. Pauline says there’s a “very slight chance” they keep Morris, noting people who he has talked to won’t completely rule it out. That being said, he hears that Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy is still at the top of their list.
  • Anthony Lynn and the Chargers have now won back to back games, but Pauline writes he’ll need a “miracle” to save his job. One source he talked to put the odds of Lynn returning at 20 percent, and he writes that’s a best-case scenario for the embattled Los Angeles coach. Lynn has made a number of high profile game management blunders in recent weeks, and Pauline writes the consensus of “well-connected” people is that he’ll be fired. With a talented roster and a stud young quarterback in Justin Herbert, the Chargers’ job should be an attractive one.
  • While a lot of these decisions already appear to be more or less set in stone, Pauline says that Giants GM Dave Gettleman’s status is genuinely undecided and up in the air. He writes that it’ll depend on what happens the rest of the year (presumably whether the G-Men win the NFC East), and that there’s been no “definitive decision.” However, Pauline does say that as of right now he hears the Giants are “more comfortable” getting rid of Gettleman and bringing in someone new to work alongside first-year coach Joe Judge, who people inside the building are apparently “ecstatic” about. As one that could seemingly go either way, the situation in New York will be one of the most interesting to monitor the last couple weeks. What happens with Gettleman could also very well determine whether the team runs it back with Daniel Jones or looks for a new quarterback this offseason.

Washington To Consider Marty Hurney?

Marty Hurney is out of work, but it might not be long before he finds his next job. The former Panthers GM will be a candidate to run Washington’s front office if the team decides to open up the position, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Panthers Fire Marty Hurney]

Hurney, of course, has history with Washington head coach Ron Rivera dating back to their Carolina days. Hurney partnered with Rivera during the coach’s early Panthers seasons and returned to the front office as Rivera’s GM from 2017-2019. A reunion would make plenty of sense, though it would likely still leave Rivera with final say over the 53-man roster.

As Rapoport notes, the timing of Hurney’s dismissal could benefit the veteran executive. Now, he gets a head start on talks with the Washington Football Team. If they do choose to hire a GM in this cycle, they’ll join the Panthers, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, and Texans in the market. In the next few weeks, we may see a few more NFL teams added to that list.

In the meantime, Washington will prepare to face the Panthers (oddly enough) in Week 16.

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Panthers Fire GM Marty Hurney

On Monday morning, the Panthers fired GM Marty Hurney. Apparently, the Panthers wanted to get a jump on their GM search and didn’t want to wait another week.

I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh,” owner David Tepper said. “We did it last year on the coaching side. Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I’m sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides. I think it’s just time, on both sides, to do that. It just seems like the right time to move forward.”

Hurney first joined the Panthers in 1998 as the team’s director of football administration. The Panthers reached the Super Bowl in 2003 with Hurney in the front office and he was widely credited for helping to build the team that reached the Super Bowl in 2015. Hurney was fired in 2012, before that second SB appearance, but he was brought back in 2017 after the firing of Dave Gettleman.

This time around, Hurney got the axe just before the conclusion of a disappointing season. Things might have been different with a healthy Christian McCaffrey, and Tepper notes that the Panthers were the victim of some close losses.

This team could easily have another four wins,” Tepper said. “The eight games that we had the ball last to win or tie — seven to win, one to tie — if you win four of those games, you’re in a totally different position right now with this young team. So looking at next year, I’m very hopeful where we will be and what we will do.

The Panthers are now the fifth team in the NFL with a GM vacancy, joining the Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, and Texans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bieniemy, Giants, Panthers

Although the Giants are just one game back of the NFC East lead, they are 1-5 and appear on the verge of their fourth straight double-digit loss season. GM Dave Gettleman has presided over the previous two 10-plus-loss campaigns, and some around the league have tabbed the Giants GM job as a potential opening ahead of the 2021 offseason, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com note. The Panthers‘ GM spot has also surfaced around the NFL as one to monitor. Marty Hurney, in place long before Matt Rhule‘s arrival, has been rumored as a potential chopping-block candidate because of Rhule’s overhaul and seven-year contract. Hurney’s contract runs through 2020. Gettleman made his way back to New York shortly after his Carolina ouster, but his rebuild has not taken off. The Giants have never lost double-digit games in four straight seasons.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Sticking with staffs, the Texans are indeed expected to strongly consider Eric BieniemyDeshaun Watson has advocated for Patrick Mahomes‘ OC, and Graziano and Fowler note the Texans “definitely” have interest in the Chiefs assistant. The Chiefs are prepared to lose Bieniemy this offseason, which would mark the third time they have lost an OC since 2016. Houston is believed to be seeking a quarterback guru and will have Josh McDaniels (again) and Bills OC Brian Daboll on its target list as well.
  • The Bears may not need to make it back to the playoffs for their current power brokers to stay in place. Both Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace are believed to be on track to stick around for 2021, per Fowler and Graziano. Chicago’s 5-1 start has come with just a plus-12 point differential, and the team benched Pace’s handpicked quarterback early in the season. Despite Mitchell Trubisky‘s struggles and current backup status, Pace is currently believed to be safe to receive a seventh year as GM.
  • It does not sound like the Chargers are expecting to have Austin Ekeler back anytime soon. The Bolts’ starting running back is battling what Anthony Lynn calls a “very serious” hamstring injury that has him set to be sidelined for the foreseeable future, Daniel Popper of The Athletic tweets. Given a four-year, $24MM extension this offseason, Ekeler went down in Week 4. The Bolts have been without many key players on offense since turning to Justin Herbert in Week 2.
  • Adoree’ Jackson returned to Titans practice Wednesday. The team designated the former first-round cornerback as an IR-return player, making him eligible to face the Steelers in Week 7 — if the team activates him by Saturday afternoon. Jackson landed on IR before Week 1 with a knee injury.
  • The Panthers placed Joey Slye on their reserve/COVID-19 list and brought in kickers for workouts this week. Carolina has auditioned Casey Bednarski (Minnesota State), Taylor Bertolet and Austin Parker (Duke), per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Bednarski began his coronavirus testing with the team Tuesday, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. None of these kickers has NFL experience. Slye has not tested positive but came in contact with someone who had, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes. The Panthers do not have a kicker on their practice squad, but Slye has not been at the team’s facility since Sunday and could still kick in Week 7.
  • The Dolphins conducted an interesting workout Wednesday. They brought in former Seahawks second-round pick Malik McDowell for an audition, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The 2017 draftee has not played an NFL down, with an ATV accident and subsequent legal troubles harpooning his career. The former Michigan State defensive lineman recently spent time in prison after a bevy of charges stemming from a 2019 arrest.

Panthers GM Marty Hurney On Newton, McCaffrey, Rebuilding

In a recent chat with Joe Person of The Athletic, Panthers GM Marty Hurney said he did “nothing that was out of bounds” while talking with Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens during the draft. If the NFL disagrees with Hurney’s assessment, the Panthers and Saints could be penalized by the league office. 

Beyond that weirdness, Hurney was also asked about the Panthers’ eventful offseason and their plans moving forward. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

On No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown and whether he would have traded down if Brown was gone

Every year we go into the draft, and wherever we’re picking, we have a group of guys that we would take there. Obviously, he was the guy we were hoping that would get to us, and we’re fortunate that he did…You consider everything. How you approach the draft is how you approach everything else every day: You cover every scenario. So we had all sorts of options. But it didn’t get to that point. 

On Cam Newton‘s ongoing free agency

I don’t know. I’m just focused on us and trying to get us the best we can be for this season. I can’t speak for other teams. I do have great respect for him, but I can’t answer for other teams.

On Christian McCaffrey‘s record-breaking extension

Christian’s ability and his performance as a receiver is very unique to the running back position, as you can see by the 1,000-1,000 marks that he surpassed last year. He really is a different type of running back at the position than maybe we would’ve thought of three, five, ten years ago because of his ability to create mismatches as a receiver, his ability to run between the tackles, his ability to make big plays. He really is a combination running back/wide receiver. All those things led to us — and as you said, his ability as a leader, the type of commitment that he shows, the type of person that he is, the way he comes every day to get better — all those things went into play.

On the notion of rebuilding

I approach it as one good decision at a time. Every year you have a lot of changes. I think the league average is 33 percent or so, and maybe over 60 percent every two years. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of changes, not only on the player side but the coaching side. You’re always trying to build the most competitive team you can build. I think we have gotten younger, and I think we have a good mix of veterans and young players. We’re just excited to work with them and improve every day. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Panthers Notes: Newton, GM, Rebuild

While the Panthers and Cam Newton are clearly parting ways, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports the team may have been open to a reunion. A source tells Fowler that Carolina was open to bringing Newton back for the 2020 season, but was unwilling to extend his contract, something they expected him to want. Instead, the team signed free-agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $60MM contract that gives them a proven starter with long-term flexibility.

Here are some more notes from around the Panthers organization:

  • The assistant general manager hire in Carolina may have higher stakes than usual. Per Joseph Person of The Athletic, whoever is hired will be the successor to current general manager Marty Hurney (who extends back to the Ron Rivera regime). The Panthers, of course, moved on from Rivera this offseason and hired Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. Rhule will obviously have a lot of input on who becomes the assistant general manager as that will soon be his primary partner in player personnel decisions.
  • There does seem to be some uncertainty surrounding the short-term plan in Carolina. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports the front office has changed its tune away from a full rebuild towards a “mixed reboot.” Robinson notes that around the scouting combine the team had seemed to suggest that all players were available in trades, but that tone has, at least on the surface, shifted. Granted, Rhule could want to wait until they hire an assistant general manager.