Morocco Brown

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 Interviews: Lions, Falcons, Panthers

It’s been a very busy Monday after Week 17 so far, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. There are a number of GM openings around the league, and interview requests for execs are flying in. Let’s get you caught up on all the latest:

  • Saints VP/assistant GM for pro personnel Terry Fontenot is scheduled to interview for the Lions GM job on Tuesday and the Falcons GM job on Wednesday, Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. The Falcons have also requested a GM interview with Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Along with Rick Smith, these were the top names expected to be in the mix in Atlanta. Fontenot isn’t the only Saints exec in the mix, as New Orleans assistant GM Jeff Ireland has been requested by the Panthers and Lions, Pelissero tweets.
  • Finally (for now), the Lions are also going to interview Vikings assistant GM George Paton, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Rapsheet says both Paton and Fontenot are “very strong candidates” for the Detroit job. Paton has drawn interest before, and has been in Minnesota’s front office since the 2007 season.
  • The Panthers are casting a wide net, and they’re also requesting to interview Chiefs assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles for the vacancy created by Marty Hurney’s firing, Rapoport tweets. One more, as Carolina has officially requested to interview 49ers VP of Player Personnel Adam Peters, Rapoport tweets. We had heard they might have some interest in Peters, and Rapoport notes that he spent time with head coach Matt Rhule at UCLA and is “one to watch” here.
  • The Falcons have requested Colts college scouting director Morocco Brown, Pelissero tweets. Indy’s GM Chris Ballard is very highly regarded, so it’s not surprising that teams are digging into some of his deputies. Brown previously had personnel roles with Cleveland (2014-15) and Washington (2008-13).

Redskins Nearly Hired Rick Smith

There have been conflicting reports as to whether former Texans GM Rick Smith is ready to return to football, but if this morning’s report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com is accurate, Smith will be back in the league sooner rather than later.

In the wake of Washington’s dismissal of former team president Bruce Allen, owner Dan Snyder thought long and hard about replacing Allen with Smith, per Schefter. Snyder and Smith met in the Bahamas multiple times and discussed their plans for putting the Redskins back on the right track, but Snyder ultimately elected to make a fundamental change to his team’s power structure and run the franchise through his new head coach, Ron Rivera, rather than through a team president.

Sources expected a deal with Smith and the Redskins to get done, but an entirely different dynamic was probably the right way for Snyder to go. The conversations with Washington, though, suggest that Smith is going to return to a prominent position in the NFL in the near future. Smith’s wife passed away of cancer last January, and Smith left the Texans at the end of the 2017 to care for her and his three children.

As we heard when the Rivera hire was reported, the Redskins are expected to wait until after the draft to hire a GM, per Schefter (Twitter link). Snyder believes he has the people in place to get through free agency and the draft, though there will be changes to the front office after the draft is over. Louis Riddick has already been connected to the GM job, and John Keim of ESPN.com says Colts exec Morocco Brown is another name to watch out for. Interestingly, it does not sound as if Smith is a GM candidate for the ‘Skins.

In other Redskins news, Rivera is hiring former Panthers LBs coach Steve Russ to serve in the same capacity in Washington, per Schefter (via Twitter). Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio tweets that Rivera is also bringing on former Chargers assistant DBs coach Chris Harris to be the Redskins’ DBs coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Add Morocco Brown To Front Office

The Colts have added another face to their evolving front office, as the club has agreed to hire former Redskins and Browns executive Morocco Brown, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Brown will serve as Indianapolis’ director of college scouting, reports Albert Breer of the TheMMQB.com (Twitter link).Colts Helmet (Featured)

Chris Ballard has now hired three fresh names to the Colts personnel staff in the past two days, as the new general manager brought in former Seahawks executive Ed Dodds and ex-Jets college scouting director Rex Hogan on Tuesday. As Breer indicated yesterday, Dodds and Hogan will act as co-vice presidents of player personnel. Incumbent director of pro personnel Kevin Rogers will stay in his current role, per Breer.

Ballard is clearly valuing familiarity in his new hires, as he enjoys a prior working relationship with both Hogan and Brown. Brown, who previously served as Cleveland’s vice president of player personnel and Washington’s director of pro personnel, worked alongside Ballard with the Bears. Brown was tangentially linked to the 49ers’ general manager vacancy earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Front Office Rumors: Bills, 49ers, Colts

Earlier today, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com brought us news on the Redskins’ GM search. Further down in his column, he presented more front office news from around the NFL. Here’s a look at the highlights:

  • New Bills coach Sean McDermott could convince ownership to import front office guys with whom he has a relationship. JLC floats the name of Panthers director of player personnel Don Gregory and notes that there are “already rumblings that the marriage of McDermott and Bills GM Doug Whaley” will not last.
  • The 49ers are also looking to add to the front office. This makes sense given that new GM John Lynch is a front office neophyte.
  • New Colts GM Chris Ballard may want to shake up the scouting core, but league sources tell JLC that he may have to wait a year since the evaluators that are already there have more time to go on their contracts. Still, Ballard badly wants to poach Seahawks executive Ed Dodds. If Indy can land him, he’ll probably get a promotion over his current title. Jets director of college scouting Rex Hogan is also a Ballard target, but JLC hears that he still has a good amount of time left on his contract and might be harder to pry away.
  • Bears exec Morocco Brown, who has history with Ballard, could be a possible candidate for the Colts and 49ers. JLC notes that Brown had a solid relationship with new SF coach Kyle Shanahan in D.C.

49ers Prepared To Restart GM Search

The 49ers’ GM search enters its fourth week, and the team’s finalist contingent is unclear after two prospective members — since-re-signed Packers execs Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst — dropped out of the running recently. The team is prepared to reopen its search if necessary at this point, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets.

Although a report hinted at this on Sunday, this runs counter to the 49ers’ initial plan of sticking with their list of initial candidates. Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Cardinals VP of player personnel Terry McDonough continue to reside as the de facto finalists after the Jed York-led nine-man search. New candidates could include Falcons director of football operations Nick Polk or Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian. La Canfora mentions former Browns executive Morocco Brown, who worked with Kyle Shanahan in Cleveland, and Redskins exec Alex Santos as options if the 49ers indeed reopen this search.

In addition to York’s involvement in the search, outside trepidation regarding executive Paraag Marathe‘s influence has served as a factor during this lengthy process as well, La Canfora notes.

La Canfora also passes along that Shanahan would likely receive control over the team’s 53-man roster if he’s hired to become the next head coach as expected, describing the upcoming scenario as the new GM essentially reporting to the coach. This also contradicts a previous San Francisco direction, with word coming out the Atlanta OC was comfortable working alongside a GM and didn’t need control over the roster.

The 49ers are now potentially competing for executives with the Colts, who fired GM Ryan Grigson over the weekend. Indianapolis is eyeing internal candidate Jimmy Raye III, whom the 49ers interviewed but didn’t categorize as a finalist, as an early frontrunner for the job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: A. Williams, Eagles, Cox, Jordan

Bills safety Aaron Williams is coming off a neck injury that sidelined him for most of the 2015 season, and he won’t know for sure if he’ll be able to continue playing in the NFL going forward until he gets back on the field in training camp, as he explains to John Murphy at BuffaloBills.com.

“After that first hit, if you feel like you can sustain those hits week in and week out, then continue to keep playing,” Williams said, per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. “But if it’s one of those where I hit it and it’s just like, ‘Man, this doesn’t look good,’ then I’ll have to reconsider.”

Here’s more from around the NFL’s East divisions:

  • Former Browns executive Morocco Brown, mentioned on Thursday as a candidate for the Eagles‘ top personnel job, has indeed interviewed with Philadelphia, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Brown was let by Cleveland along with Ray Farmer and Bill Kuharich at season’s end.
  • It appears there’s mutual interest between Fletcher Cox and the Eagles in getting an extension done, with Cox telling Around the NFL on Thursday that he wants to be in Philadelphia “for the long haul,” adding that he believes “everyone wants me there from the owner all the way down” (link via Conor Orr of NFL.com). At the rate the Eagles are getting their players locked up, it would almost be a surprise if Cox doesn’t sign a new contract soon — Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, and Lane Johnson have all been extended by Philadelphia this week.
  • The Dolphins aren’t counting on him to be a 2016 contributor, but the team is open to giving defensive end Dion Jordan another shot if and when he’s reinstated from his suspension, as long as “he’s clean and has a good attitude,” writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
  • The Bills are focusing on Ralph Wilson Stadium for the time being, rather than working on a new stadium, team president Russ Brandon said on Thursday. Mike Rodak of ESPN.com has the details and the quotes.

East Rumors: Wentz, Eagles, Giants

The Bills were the team North Dakota State quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg recalled being the most enamored with Carson Wentz, staging several visits to the Fargo, N.D.-based Division I-FCS school to gauge the first-round prospect, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports.

Bills representatives attended several Bison practices and were a constant in North Dakota State’s football facility, Hedberg told Dunne, to look at the rare non-FBS first-round quarterback prospect. Dunne notes, however, that at this rate the fast-rising Wentz won’t be available when the Bills select at No. 19, as the 6’5″ signal-caller has impressed this week in Senior Bowl workouts.

Buffalo still has Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel under contract for 2016.

Here is the latest on the most unlikely top-tier quarterback prospect in a while and other news from around the Eastern divisions.

  • Even though the Jets are set to negotiate an extension with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes they are pondering first-round quarterbacks, with Wentz being the most intriguing. “Every NFL team probably goes into the draft — with maybe a few exceptions of people who have really well-established quarterbacks — looking at that position as a position of interest,” Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said. “We’ll be no different than them.” The Jets pick at No. 20.
  • The Eagles will meet with Steelers executive Brandon Hunt for a second interview Friday for their director of player personnel position, Philly.com’s Jeff McLane tweets. Steelers owner Art Rooney II gave the 35-year-old Hunt permission to interview with the eastern-Pennsylvania franchise. He’s already met with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman.
  • Although Hunt is their only confirmed candidate, McLane reports former Browns VP of player personnel Morocco Brown is on the Eagles’ radar for this job. Eagles director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph looms as an internal candidate, per McLane.
  • The Giants are planning to add Patriots linebackers coach Patrick Graham as their defensive line coach, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The 37-year-old Graham’s been with the Patriots since 2009 and prior to taking over the Pats’ linebackers in 2014, he supervised their defensive linemen in 2012-13.

Browns Fire Bill Kuharich, Morocco Brown

After parting ways with general manager Ray Farmer, the Browns have also let go of two front office executives he hired in 2014, reports Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Russini reports that Cleveland has fired Bill Kuharich and Morocco Brown.

Kuharich and Brown had been key members of the Browns’ player personnel department, with Kuharich serving as the executive chief of staff, while Brown held the title of VP player personnel. Kuharich, who interviewed last winter for the Jets’ general manager job, took over as the Browns’ GM on an interim basis in the fall when Farmer served his four-game suspension.

As for Brown, when Cleveland hired the former Washington director of pro personnel in May 2014, the move was lauded, with Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) suggesting that Brown was on track to run a team someday. We’ll see where he lands now that he’s out of the picture for the Browns.

When the Browns’ officially hire a new general manager, it looks like that GM could be tasked with adding new personnel execs of his own.

North Rumors: McCarthy, Rice, Browns

Asked by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) about the possibility of extending head coach Mike McCarthy, Packers president Mark Murphy said it won’t happen until the team extends GM Ted Thompson. Murphy declined to comment when asked as a follow-up by Rapoport if Green Bay is working on a new deal for Thompson (Twitter link). Here’s more out of the AFC and NFC North..

  • Ravens running back Ray Rice will be allowed to enter a program to avoid prosecution in an alleged assault of his now-wife, writes Lynda Cohen of the Press of Atlantic City. The NFL will likely levy a suspension and/or significant fine.
  • The Browns have hired former Redskins director of pro personnel Morocco Brown, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. While the team has yet to announce Brown’s new title, he’ll most likely become an assistant general manager in Cleveland, per Cabot. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com notes (via Twitter) that the hiring is a coup for Browns GM Ray Farmer, adding that Brown has been considered for past GM openings and is on track to run a team someday.
  • The Browns announced that Bill Kuharich has been promoted to executive chief of staff, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Kuharich had been a consultant for the Browns since February.
  • Minnesota has won the bid to host Super Bowl LII (2018), tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. It’s a big blow to Saints owner Tom Benson, who will turn 87 in July, tweets Jeff Duncan of The Times-PIiayune. Having SB LII in New Orleans would have been a part of his legacy.