Brad Holmes

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured GMs

Wednesday, we took a look at how the 2022 offseason changed the HC landscape. While 10 new sideline leaders are in place for 2022, not quite as much turnover transpired on the general manager front. Five new decision-makers, however, have moved to the top of teams’ front office hierarchies over the past six months.

The Bears, Giants, Raiders and Vikings rebooted their entire operations, hiring new HC-GM combos. The Minnesota move bumped out one of the previous top-10 longest-tenured GMs, with 16-year Vikings exec Rick Spielman no longer in power in the Twin Cities. The Steelers’ shakeup took the NFL’s longest-tenured pure GM out of the mix. Kevin Colbert was with the Steelers since 2000, and although he is still expected to remain with the team in a reduced capacity, the 22-year decision-maker stepped down shortly after Ben Roethlisberger wrapped his career.

Twelve teams have now hired a new GM in the past two offseasons, though a bit more staying power exists here compared to the HC ranks. Two GMs (the Cardinals’ Steve Keim and Chargers’ Tom Telesco) have begun their 10th years at the helms of their respective front offices. They have hired three HCs apiece. The Buccaneers’ Jason Licht is closing in on a decade in power in Tampa Bay; Licht will now work with his fourth HC in Todd Bowles. Beyond that, a bit of a gap exists. But a handful of other executives have been in power for at least five seasons.

Here is how long every GM or de facto GM has been in place with his respective franchise:

  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. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  5. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010; signed extension in 2021
  6. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010; signed extension in 2022
  7. Les Snead (Los Angeles Rams): February 10, 2012; signed extension in 2019
  8. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013; signed extension in 2022
  9. Tom Telesco (Los Angeles Chargers): January 9, 2013; signed extension in 2018
  10. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014; signed extension in 2021
  11. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016[4]
  12. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016; signed extension in 2022
  13. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017; signed extension in 2020
  14. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017; signed extension in 2021
  15. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017; signed extension in 2020
  16. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017; signed extension in 2020
  17. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  18. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019
  19. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  20. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  21. Nick Caserio (Houston Texans): January 5, 2021
  22. George Paton (Denver Broncos): January 13, 2021
  23. Scott Fitterer (Carolina Panthers): January 14, 2021
  24. Brad Holmes (Detroit Lions): January 14, 2021
  25. Terry Fontenot (Atlanta Falcons): January 19, 2021
  26. Trent Baalke (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 21, 2021
  27. Martin Mayhew (Washington Commanders): January 22, 2021
  28. Joe Schoen (New York Giants): January 21, 2022
  29. Ryan Poles (Chicago Bears): January 25, 2022
  30. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Minnesota Vikings): January 26, 2022
  31. Dave Ziegler (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  32. Omar Khan (Pittsburgh Steelers): May 24, 2022

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. Although Grier was hired in 2016, he became the Dolphins’ top football exec on Dec. 31, 2018

Lions “Open For Business” On No. 2 Pick

While it’s still early days when it comes to the draft process for 2022, Lions general manager Brad Holmes has made it clear that he’s not leaving out any options during the offseason, even with regards to the team’s second overall pick in April. He stated the team is “definitely open for business” when asked about the availability of that selection (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). 

During an interview with Pelissero at the Senior Bowl, Holmes said “I’m never scared to move around” during the draft. In a year without a consensus top choice, not to mention one where Detroit has another first round pick (as a result of the Jared Goff trade), moving down the board would make a good degree of sense.

The two highest-rated prospects in this year’s class, according to most, are edge rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson. While the Lions would be guaranteed at least one of them by remaining at No. 2, they could end up with both being on the board if the Jaguars use the first pick on Alabama tackle Evan Neal, as some believe they will.

Prioritizing the defense in the draft would certainly make sense for the Lions, as they finished 31st in the league in points allowed in 2021. That could still be accomplished with the likes of cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. or safety Kyle Hamilton, though, if the team moved down slightly.

With plenty of holes to fill this offseason, Detroit has a number of decisions to make to rebound from the first season of the Dan Campbell era. Flexibility in the draft would certainly go a long way to helping rebuild the roster, even if it were to mean moving out of a top-two draft slot.

 

Lions GM Discusses QB Position, Draft

Following the Jared Goff/Matthew Stafford trade, the Lions quarterback depth chart is already going to look a whole lot different in 2021. Based on some recent comments from general manager Brad Holmes, it might not just be the top of the depth chart that’ll see changes. During an appearance on the Huddle and Flow podcast, the executive noted that the team will definitely consider drafting a quarterback, even with the seventh-overall pick.

“I don’t think when you’re picking this high that you can be ‘out’ on any position,” Holmes said. “But obviously, quarterback is such an important position and I just think it’s good drafting business, always, to be very, very thorough on that quarterback class – regardless of what your situation is. When I was with the Rams, I always said, regardless of what you have at quarterback [you have to be thorough], and especially now, it’s the same approach. It is a good crop coming out this year, but it’s definitely not a position that will be ignored by us by any means.”

This isn’t a massive surprise. After all, Goff has underwhelmed over the past two seasons, and the quarterback obviously wasn’t the main asset acquired in the Stafford deal (that honor belongs to the pair of future first-rounders). However, the team still has at least two (pricey) years of Goff, so they can take a patient approach at the position knowing Goff will probably be under center for at least 2021.

We leaned earlier this week that even the Lions’ backup quarterbacks aren’t safe. The front office has reportedly had trade discussions with teams about backup Chase Daniel.

Lions To Add John Dorsey To Front Office

The Lions have a brand new power structure, having recently hired Brad Holmes as general manager and Dan Campbell as head coach. Now, Detroit is adding a more experienced voice to the mix, with Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reporting that the team is expected to hire John Dorsey as a senior personnel executive (Twitter link). Dorsey, 60, had been working as a consultant for the Eagles.

Dorsey, who drew interest from the Texans for their GM post before Houston elected to hire Nick Caserio, has served as general manager for both the Chiefs and Browns. Neither of those tenures ended on a particularly positive note, but that wasn’t due to Dorsey’s abilities as a talent evaluator. His reputation in that area is sterling, and he is largely responsible for the construction of the current iteration of the Browns — who nearly advanced to the AFC Championship Game this year — and for Kansas City’s starry corps of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce.

In addition to his drafting of Mahomes and Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield while serving as a general manager, Dorsey was the Packers’ director of college scouting when Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005. And as a young scout in 1994, he recommended that the Packers sign Kurt Warner as a UDFA.

His eye for quarterback talent is especially important this year, as the Lions are preparing to trade Matthew Stafford and may well turn to the draft for his replacement. Plus, Dorsey’s experience should be an asset to Holmes, who is getting his first shot as a GM after working as the Rams’ director of college scouting for the past eight seasons.

Campbell will also have a major role in personnel decisions, as Justin Rogers of the Detroit News writes. Rather than a traditional HC-GM-owner structure, Holmes, Campbell, and vice president of football operations Mike Disner will report directly to president Rod Wood and owner Sheila Ford Hamp.

Lions To Hire Brad Holmes As GM

The Lions have agreed to hire Rams’ director of college scouting Brad Holmes as their new GM, (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Holmes will receive a five-year deal, tying him to the club through the 2025 season.

Holmes worked his way up as talent evaluator in the Rams organization, the only franchise he’s ever known as an exec. He began as a public relations intern in St. Louis. Today, he’s the leader of the Lions’ front office.

Holmes, 41, pushed the Rams to select Aaron Donald No. 13 overall in 2014. The Lions had their chance to get the most dominant defensive lineman since Ndamukong Suh — they chose tight end Eric Ebron instead. Holmes is also credited with choosing Jared Goff over Carson Wentz in 2016.

I think he would do an excellent job (as GM),” said Holmes’ former North Carolina A&T coach Bill Hayes (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “I know he’s going to put in the work. That’s the first thing about it, he’s going to put in the work, he’s going to make the effort and he’s a team guy all the way. He’s not one of those egotistical maniacs. He’s going to be a team guy. He can be trusted. He’s extremely trustworthy, so I feel strongly that he would do a super job.”

Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot was also a leading candidate for the job, but he appears to be on the cusp of landing with the Falcons. With Holmes in place, the Lions will zero in on their head coaching search.

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

Latest On Lions GM Search

Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes is in Detroit for a second interview, which will occur Tuesday. He is the first such GM candidate to meet with the Lions a second time during this cycle. He may not be the only exec the Lions meet with twice.

The Lions want to bring Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Saints execs Jeff Ireland and Terry Fontenot back for second meetings, according to Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter). Detroit also added Indianapolis assistant GM Ed Dodds to its interview list, meeting with him Tuesday. The Lions were evidently impressed, with Breer noting they would like to speak with Dodds again.

Dodds recently bowed out of the wide-ranging Panthers GM search, leaving only the Lions pursuing him. The former Seahawks exec may be connected to another ex-Seattle staffer. The Lions have been connected to 49ers DC Robert Saleh about their HC vacancy for weeks, and the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers notes some believe Dodds would want to bring Saleh with him to Detroit (Twitter link). Saleh and Dodds were both with the Seahawks from 2011-13, though Saleh was only a defensive quality control coach at that point.

A Michigan native, Saleh interviewed for the Lions job last week but remains in the mix for other gigs — a list that now includes Philadelphia. Saleh has also been connected to an Adam Peters HC-GM pairing, but Peters is not a Lions GM candidate.

Paton and Fontenot remain in the mix for the Broncos GM post, having booked second interviews with Denver. While the longtime Vikings exec has been quite particular in past GM searches, he has remained a sought-after candidate. Fontenot, who interviewed for the Jets’ GM job in 2019, and Ireland — the former Dolphins GM — each went through virtual interviews for the Detroit job last week. Holmes is a Falcons finalist as well.

Brad Holmes Interviewing With Lions And Falcons A Second Time

Rams exec Brad Holmes appears to be picking up steam as general manager searches continue across the league. Holmes is flying to Detroit for a second interview with the Lions tonight, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Los Angeles’ director of college scouting also had a second interview with the Falcons over the weekend, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. Schefter writes that Holmes is now “tracking to land a GM job.” Given the success the Rams have had in the Sean McVay era, it’s not too surprising he’s turning into a hot name. Pelissero writes that Holmes is one of the finalists for Atlanta’s job, along with Saints exec Terry Fontenot, and that former Texans GM Rick Smith is still in the mix there as well.

Holmes has had a remarkable journey, staring with the Rams as a PR intern all the way back in 2003 and rising up the ranks of the organization ever since. He became the director of college scouting in 2013. The Lions had been interested in luring John Schneider away from Seattle, but with Schneider getting an extension through 2027 earlier today, that obviously isn’t happening.

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).

Lions Notes: GM/HC Search, Stafford, Wood

Lions president Rod Wood confirmed recently hired exec Chris Spielman is involved in the team’s coaching search, and Wood — a self-proclaimed non-football guy — has helped make some football decisions during the team’s time in between GMs, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Wood did, however, describe his role as more of a suggestion box or sounding board to the team’s current front office. As far as the Lions’ HC and GM searches, the team’s president offered a vague description of how this search is unfolding differently.

One of the things that I think we’re doing differently that didn’t occur, at least in the searches I was involved in with Bob (Quinn) and Matt (Patricia) is really identifying what we want for a Detroit Lion coach and general manager. Not what some other team may want, but what do the Detroit Lions want?” Wood said, via Birkett. “So we’ve been discussing and detailing a lot of very specific criteria that is unique to us.”

The Lions may well be seeking a scouting type for the GM role, and Albert Breer of SI.com adds Detroit’s next coach would not need to be an offensive genius to land the job. Michigan native Robert Saleh has surfaced as an early frontrunner. Here is the latest from Detroit:

  • The Lions have interviewed eight candidates thus far for their GM position. They are not expected to stop there. The organization expects to venture well beyond 10 interviewees for this role, Breer tweets. Thus far, the Lions have interviewed unattached and internal candidates, with Rick Smith, Scott Pioli and Louis Riddick being the biggest names involved thus far.
  • One of the lower-profile candidates, however, may have some momentum. Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes is expected to be interviewed, and Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets Holmes is viewed as a serious candidate to succeed Quinn. Holmes has been with the Rams for 18 years. The Lions will have competition, however. The Falcons are also expected to meet with Holmes.
  • Regarding head coach interviews, the Lions have waited. They are not opting to take advantage of a recent NFL rule change that allowed virtual interviews with candidates, Breer tweets. The franchise will then go through the usual search process, which can begin next week.
  • While Matthew Stafford has been the Lions’ QB1 since arriving in 2009, he has been mentioned in trade speculation for a bit now. The next coach hired will be Stafford’s fourth full-time HC, and the next GM will be the third of Stafford’s career. Some in the Lions organization are wondering if Stafford would be willing to be part of another rebuild, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Stafford was involved in trade rumors earlier this year, but Quinn shot down that possibility and kept the 32-year-old passer. With Stafford’s $27MM-per-year contract no longer close to the top of the QB market, teams will be interested in the cannon-armed passer — should the next Lions regime entertain offers. A few AFC teams — like the Broncos, Colts or Patriots — and the 49ers profile as teams that could be interested in the veteran.