Champ Kelly

2024 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

With the Patriots hiring Eliot Wolf as their de facto GM after having moved on from Bill Belichick, all five teams in need of a GM have filled their post this offseason. If other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list.

Updated 5-11-24 (4:35pm CT)

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Washington Commanders

Tom Telesco To Control Raiders’ Roster; Team Wants Champ Kelly Back

Mark Davis‘ two recent regimes featured head coach-centric operations, with Josh McDaniels and Jon Gruden the much higher-profile figures compared to their respective GMs. Although Mark Davis made a point to say Dave Ziegler controlled the Raiders’ 53-man roster, comparisons to Mike Mayock‘s shotgun role alongside Gruden also emerged after the Patriot Way model combusted.

In pairing Tom Telesco with Antonio Pierce, the Raiders have an experienced GM and an unseasoned head coach. Davis confirmed (via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez) Telesco will control the roster, but the longtime Chargers front office boss said he and Pierce will work collaboratively.

It’s a partnership,” Telesco said, via The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. “As far as building the roster, you’re working through the vision of the head coach. How does he want to play on offense? How does he want to play on defense? How does he want to play on special teams? And you build it that way. … We’re going to be able to bounce ideas off each other.”

Telesco will become the rare GM to receive an immediate second chance. Although Trent Baalke is in place as the Jaguars’ front office leader, four years passed between Baalke’s San Francisco ouster and his elevation to this role. Baalke and Telesco are the league’s only current GM retreads, with the rest of the league using first-timers or having a setup in which the owner is the team’s de facto GM. Telesco, 51, lasted 11 years as Chargers GM but only oversaw three playoff teams.

Pierce and Telesco did not have any connection prior to this partnership, though the two joked about the 63-21 December result that ultimately led the latter to Las Vegas. The team preferred Teleseco’s experience to finalists Champ Kelly and Ed Dodds and liked the Chargers’ roster makeup, according to’s Albert Breer. Telesco’s knowledge of the AFC West also worked in his favor.

It is true Teleseco built well-regarded Bolts rosters for most of his tenure, though they regularly fell short of expectations. The ex-Colts exec also inherited Philip Rivers in his prime and had Justin Herbert waiting for him when the Dolphins chose Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall in 2020. This Raiders effort stands to be more difficult through that lens, and the lack of a prior relationship with Pierce will make the setup worth monitoring.

Kelly is under contract, and Davis said (via Gutierrez) he hopes the veteran exec will stay with the team. It appeared Kelly was close to landing the job, with the Raiders having him sit in on their few HC interviews. But it had been reported Pierce and Kelly were not necessarily a package deal. Davis also added Tom Delaney would remain in place managing the Raiders’ salary cap. Part of the search committee that produced Pierce and Telesco, Delaney has been with the Raiders since the late 1990s.

Hired as Ziegler’s assistant GM before becoming the interim leader midseason, Kelly interviewed for the Panthers’ GM job. That has gone to Dan Morgan; Kelly has not been connected to any other job. Unless the Raiders let Kelly out of his contract or he quits, a situation in which Telesco works with his top competitor for the job could conceivably come to pass.

Raiders Hire Tom Telesco As GM

Although the Raiders kept Antonio Pierce, previous reports indicated he and interim GM Champ Kelly were not necessarily a package deal. That detail looks to prove critical now. The AFC West team is expected to go in a different GM direction.

Former Chargers GM Tom Telesco looks set to have an immediate second chance. The Raiders are likely to hire the 11-year GM veteran,’s Ian Rapoport reports. Telesco worked as the Bolts’ GM from 2013-23 but was fired shortly after the Raiders’ 63-21 demolition late this season. With no other team interviewing Telesco for its GM vacancy, he is now set to team with Pierce in Las Vegas. The Raiders subsequently announced the hire.

This hiring comes after the team had Kelly sitting in on HC interviews ahead of the Pierce hire. While Kelly had established clear momentum and was certainly on the radar to join Pierce as the rare interim figure to keep a job, the Raiders will go with a more experienced candidate. This could well lead Kelly elsewhere, though The Athletic’s Tashan Reed notes he remains under contract. The well-respected front office figure only met with one other team — the Panthers — about its GM job. Carolina promoted Dan Morgan to fill that post Monday.

It would be a bit odd to see Telesco sign off on working with perhaps his top competition for this job, so it bears monitoring to see if Kelly will remain with the Raiders.

For Telesco, this will provide a chance to start over after his Philip Rivers– and Justin Herbert-centered rosters repeatedly ran into obstacles in Southern California. Injury issues routinely plagued the Chargers during the 2010s and 2020s, though their rosters always always generated praise coming into seasons. Telesco will now work with another first-time HC. Hiring only rookie HCs during his run with the Chargers (Mike McCoy, Anthony Lynn, Brandon Staley), Telesco’s teams only qualified for three playoff fields in his 11-year run.

Telesco, 51, came in for a second Raiders interview Monday. That meeting may have changed the team’s thinking. The longtime Chargers front office leader will bring more than 30 years of NFL experience to Las Vegas. Beginning his career as a Bills intern during Bill Polian‘s GM run, Telesco followed the future Hall of Famer to Charlotte and then Indianapolis. With the Colts, Telesco worked his way up to director of player personnel. He held that title for six years, being with the team during its Super Bowl XLI win and its Super Bowl XLIV loss three years later. A year after the Colts fired Polian and hired Ryan Grigson, Teleseco received his GM opportunity and became one of the longer-serving true GMs entering this past season.

With the Chargers, Telesco gave Rivers Pro Bowl pieces in the late 2010s. He drafted Keenan Allen in the 2013 third round and added Joey Bosa and Derwin James in 2016 and ’18, respectively. Telesco added Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater in the 2021 first round as well. He excelled on the extension front, giving new deals to Melvin Ingram — ahead of the veteran’s Pro Bowl years — along with Allen, Bosa, James and Mike Williams. Telesco also signed Austin Ekeler to what became one of the best running back deals in recent memory, a four-year, $24.5MM pact that locked in the passing-down dynamo before back-to-back seasons leading the NFL in touchdowns.

Telesco landing Herbert at No. 6 overall may be his defining GM move, and the decision-maker gave the next Chargers GM a boost by extending Herbert through 2029 last summer. Herbert has become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, quickly showing that form. However, Telesco’s Staley hire — and the litany of injuries to plague the Bolts — have restricted the prodigious passer. The Chargers are just 1-for-4 in playoff appearances with Herbert, and the lone cameo resulted in a 27-point wild-card collapse in Jacksonville. Rather than fire Staley and go after Sean Payton — long rumored as interested in the job — Telesco (and Chargers ownership) retained Staley. This preceded the December firings of the Bolts’ HC and GM.

Pairing Pierce with a seasoned GM makes sense. Of the candidates the Raiders interviewed, Telesco is the only one with experience as a full-time GM. Mark Davis spoke of the possibility of bringing in a football ops-type presence to lead the way. With Telesco being hired, he might well be that figure to work alongside the owner and head coach.

Kelly and Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds were believed to be the other finalists, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. Dodds and Kelly were believed to be the frontrunners recently, Reed adds, indicating the team was leery about putting Pierce with a first-time GM. Dodds interviewed for the Las Vegas GM job in 2022 and was believed to have made a good impression on Davis. It is unsurprising the longtime Indianapolis exec was again in this race until the end. While Dodds figures to stay in his current post, it will be interesting to see if Kelly — hired to be Dave Ziegler‘s assistant GM in 2022 and taking over as interim GM in November — ends up elsewhere.

Given Pierce’s limited coaching background, it should be expected it will be Telesco making the final calls regarding the team’s 53-man roster. While Josh McDaniels was widely believed to be calling the shots in Vegas during his short HC tenure, Davis emphasized it was Ziegler controlling the roster. The Raiders’ coordinator hires will be the next dominoes to fall. While the team has blocked DC Patrick Graham from making lateral moves, it will be interesting to see if the HC carousel regular will be OK working for a head coach with considerably less experience.

For now, Telesco will step into a situation that differs from his Chargers setup. Rivers was entering his eighth season as a starter when Telesco took over in 2013. With the Dolphins selecting Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall in 2020, Herbert was available. The Raiders are unlikely to have comparably easy access to a top-tier QB talent this offseason, holding the No. 13 overall pick after an 8-9 season. That will be the top roster need for Telesco, who will join Pierce in assembling a coaching staff.

Raiders, Antonio Pierce Agree To HC Deal

Mark Davis regretted passing on interim HC Rich Bisaccia two years ago. The owner is not going to let Antonio Pierce go. The Raiders and Pierce are finalizing an agreement for the linebackers coach-turned-interim leader to become the franchise’s full-time head coach, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. A deal is now in place,’s Ian Rapoport reports.

Pierce’s experience level will make this one of the most shocking HC ascensions in modern NFL history, but Raiders players — in an effort Maxx Crosby spearheaded — lobbied for Davis to elevate Pierce to the full-time role. The former Super Bowl-winning linebacker was viewed as the favorite following Crosby’s threat at requesting a trade in the event the Raiders went in another direction; Pierce is now on the doorstep of making a major climb. This probably goes without saying in light of Friday’s developments, but’s Albert Breer notes Davis placed a premium on his players’ views of the matter this time around. Per his X account, Crosby appears excited about this decision.

Pierce, 45, will become the first interim HC moved to a permanent post since the Jaguars removed Doug Marrone‘s interim tag in 2017. Teams passing on an interim leader in order to hire a flashier option has been the modern NFL norm, and far more experienced options compared to Pierce — Bisaccia included — have come and gone. While Davis greenlighting a former Josh McDaniels assistant to take over less than three months after he pulled the plug on the McDaniels era 1 1/2 seasons in, Pierce went 5-4 as interim HC and became wildly popular with Raider players.

Other teams had noticed Pierce as well. The Falcons and Titans sent out interview requests; the then-temporary Raiders leader interviewed with the Titans virtually last week. As the interest escalated, the Raiders are making one of the bolder HC moves in NFL history.

A GM will now need to be hired, and interim leader Champ Kelly having sat in on HC interviews points to the Raiders giving strong consideration to keeping their end-of-season setup in place. Though, other candidates will need to be interviewed to comply with the Rooney Rule. Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds is viewed as a threat to Kelly’s grip on the job, with the Raiders not viewing Kelly-Pierce as a package deal. Kelly is believed to be meeting with Raiders brass today, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets. The Raiders have already met with Kelly twice during this cycle.

Pierce’s former Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin, is set to help his ex-pupil assemble a staff,’s Mike Garafolo tweets. Coughlin was among the coaches who helped Pierce once the Raiders made him interim HC. One name who is expected to be on Pierce’s next Raiders staff: Marvin Lewis. The former Bengals HC, who coached with Pierce at Arizona State and joined Coughlin and Adam Gase in helping the unseasoned leader during the season, is on track to be a Las Vegas full-timer,’s Tom Pelissero tweets.

Pierce is less than two years removed from resigning from his co-defensive coordinator post at Arizona State amid an NCAA recruiting investigation. He spent four years with the Sun Devils, moving to the co-DC role in 2020, before McDaniels brought him aboard as Raiders linebackers coach shortly after his Arizona exit. As recently as 2017, Pierce was the head coach of Long Beach Poly High.

That said, Pierce’s coaching experience does not trail new Patriots HC Jerod Mayo‘s by too much. While Mayo has been viewed as the Bill Belichick heir apparent for at least two years, he only began work as a full-time Patriots staffer in 2019. This HC hiring period has featured 2000s and 2010s linebackers take starring roles.

Still, Davis passing on at least interviewing higher-profile coaching options — considering those now available — is rather surprising. The Raiders’ search committee only met with ex-Bills DC Leslie Frazier and former Seahawks and Saints DC Kris Richard. Those two meetings satisfied the Rooney Rule. Although Pierce is also Black, this process reminds of when Davis went through with only Rooney Rule interviews as he brought back Jon Gruden in 2018. The Raiders will pass on efforts to interview Belichick, ex-Oakland assistant Jim Harbaugh and Mike Vrabel. While a Raiders Harbaugh push was rumored, Pierce quickly seized the lead here.

As Pierce takes the unusual route of rising to a head coach position without being a college head coach or an NFL coordinator, he will be assembling a new staff. Most of Pierce’s offensive staff will not be retained,’s Ian Rapoport reports. The Raiders fired OC Mick Lombardi soon after they canned McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler on November 1, installing Bo Hardegree as their offensive play-caller. Hardegree is among the staffers not expected to stay in Las Vegas, per Rapoport. Considering Pierce was elevated to the interim job instead of DC Patrick Graham, it would surprise if the latter stayed on as well.

Momentum crested for Pierce to be hired after the Raiders upended the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Christmas Day. That came just after the team bashed the Chargers, leading them to fire their HC-GM combo, in a 63-21 rout. Behind Pierce and Graham, the Raiders finished in the top half of the league in scoring defense for the first time since the 2002 Super Bowl season. Graham’s unit ranked ninth, which came after Vegas’ 2022 defense finished 26th.

The team finished 8-9 despite Aidan O’Connell largely struggling in his second-half audition; the team ranked 23rd in points scored and 27th in total offense. The Raiders’ to-be-determined GM should be expected to make a genuine quarterback pursuit.

The Raiders undeniably turned their operation around following McDaniels’ ouster, though this will be a gamble due to Pierce’s limited experience. Pierce grew up a Raider fan in Los Angeles, and Davis is believed to have appreciated the young leader’s grasp of the team’s culture and history. While Davis was connected to taking another big swing for the HC gig, his past two — Gruden and McDaniels — did not succeed. The Raiders have just two winning seasons since Super Bowl XXXVII; Pierce will be tasked with turning the operation around. With Davis giving McDaniels and Ziegler less than two years — after signing the pair to six-year contracts — it is worth monitoring how long of a leash Pierce will have.

As for Lewis, he has been out of the NFL since the Bengals fired him following the 2018 season. The former Super Bowl-winning DC has not been an NFL assistant since 2002, coaching the Bengals for 16 seasons. Lewis’ longevity made him a somewhat divisive figure during that stint, as playoff losses mounted, but he has interviewed for NFL HC jobs in the years since his Cincinnati dismissal. Lewis, 65, looks likely to be one of Pierce’s top aides for the 2024 season.

Latest On Raiders’ GM, HC Positions

1:02pm: Kelly has sat in on the Raiders’ HC interviews this week, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. Although Dodds and others may remain in the GM mix, that certainly represents a good sign for Kelly’s chances of staying in Las Vegas. Kelly’s presence at Pierce’s Monday interview would obviously stand to help his chances, given the buzz the latter has received in recent days.

10:56am: While Antonio Pierce‘s experience level would make him one of the most unusual head coach hires in NFL history, it looks like the linebackers coach-turned-interim leader is the clubhouse leader to secure the job. The Raiders are considering running it all back.

Champ Kelly has gone through a second GM interview, according to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. Pierce has already completed his coaching interview. Although the Raiders have not necessarily been adamant the Kelly-Pierce tandem stay together, this looks to be a scenario that is very much in play.

On the surface, the Raiders sticking with two Josh McDaniels-era hires would be extraordinarily odd considering how quickly McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler were dismissed. Kelly has a history with Ziegler, from their time together in Denver, but did not work for the Patriots. Pierce only worked with McDaniels and Ziegler over the past two seasons, coming back to the NFL after four seasons at Arizona State. Top Raiders players, a contingent driven by Maxx Crosby, want Pierce back. They may soon get their wish.

Initially pegged as set to attempt a swing for a big-name HC, Mark Davis looks to be taking his players’ views seriously re: Pierce. The former linebacker’s knowledge of Raiders history and their culture has appealed to the owner, whose previous big swings — on McDaniels and another Jon Gruden stint — whiffed. Still, with Jim Harbaugh, Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel available, it would be interesting to see the Raiders pass on requesting interviews with any of them.

Raiders interviews with Kris Richard and Leslie Frazier have satisfied the Rooney Rule, which mandates clubs meet with at least two external minority candidates before hiring a head coach. These two represent the only external candidates interviewed for the job at all, with the Raiders initially focusing on their GM position. It would seem a misstep on Davis’ part to hire Pierce without exploring the field, but the owner has expressed regret about not hiring former interim HC Rich Bisaccia two years ago.

The Raiders do not view Pierce and Kelly as a package deal, per’s Albert Breer, who adds Ed Dodds — the Colts’ assistant GM who impressed during his 2022 interview with the Raiders — is viewed as Kelly’s top threat for the gig. Dodds met with Davis during this cycle on Jan. 12. A Pierce-Dodds partnership would be in play as well, given the interim HC’s lack of history with Kelly. But the partnership that helped the Raiders finish 5-4 post-McDaniels may still be favored to return. Kelly has been viewed as firmly in the mix to stay for a few weeks now.

Las Vegas’ first round of GM interviews wrapped this weekend; a decision should be expected soon. Dodds impressing back in 2022 and remaining on the team’s radar would point to the seven-year Colts exec receiving a second meeting as well. A Seahawks scout for 10 years, Dodds has a history with the Raiders. The veteran personnel man began his NFL career interning with the team while Al Davis was still in place. Dodds was with the Raiders from 2003-06. He has since been on several teams’ GM radars and has been integral to the Colts building a quality roster — one held back for years by an inconsistent QB situation.

If Pierce is to be back, it might point Patrick Graham out of town. A five-year defensive coordinator, Graham has considerably more experience coaching in the NFL than Pierce. With Pierce’s background on defense, Graham may seek an opportunity elsewhere. The Raiders have not interviewed Graham for their HC job yet. Pierce’s unique lack of experience would also likely lead to him prioritizing seasoned staffers. One of them may be veteran DC Gregg Williams, according to the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora.

Out of the league since his two-year run as Jets DC ended ignominiously late in the 2020 season, Williams has been a defensive coordinator for eight teams. He spent last season as the defensive boss for the XFL’s DC Defenders. Williams, 65, is best remembered for his role in the Saints’ Bountygate scandal, but the former Bills HC has remained employable since. Pierce and Williams have a strong bond, per La Canfora. This would date back to the two’s time in Washington; in place as Washington’s DC from 2004-07, Williams coached Pierce in 2004 — before the standout linebacker signed with the Giants a year later.

The Jaguars are also interested in Williams, La Canfora adds. Jacksonville may be prioritizing experience in its search to replace Mike Caldwell as DC; four current or former coordinators received interview requests. Williams was in place as the Jags’ DC in 2008, a one-year tenure under Jack Del Rio in 2008.

In addition to Davis, the Raiders have a handful of staffers — along with recent Hall of Fame inductee Richard Seymour, a Raider from 2009-12 — on their interview panel. Team president Sandra Douglass Morgan, director of football administration Tom Delaney, board member Larry Delsen and advisor Ken Herock join Davis and Seymour, per Reed. Davis described Herock, a longtime Raiders consigliere, as the ringleader of the searches that led to McDaniels and Ziegler being hired two years ago. We heard in the fall he and Delaney would play roles in the team’s latest searches. Al Davis once approached Seymour about a future front office role, Breer adds, noting the star D-lineman also helped Mark Davis during his years as Raiders owner. It would not surprise if the four-year Raiders defender was tapped to play a key role in the next regime.

Panthers Request Five More GM Interviews

David Tepper and co. aren’t wasting any time finding their next general manager. The team announced that they’ve requested permission to interview eight GM candidates.

[RELATED: Panthers Fire GM Scott Fitterer]

Five of these names are new: Eagles assistant GM Alec Halaby, Saints assistant GM Khai Harley, Ravens vice president of football administration Nick Matteo, Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds, and Raiders interim GM Champ Kelly. We heard earlier this evening that Giants assistant GM Brandon Brown, Buccaneers assistant GM Mike Greenberg, and Chiefs VP of football operations Brandt Tilis were set to meet with the Panthers to replace Scott Fitterer, who was fired earlier today.

Halaby has spent 16 years in Philadelphia, including the past two as the Eagles assistant general manager. His focus has been on “player evaluation, roster management, and resource allocation” (per the team website), and he’s also played a crucial role in adding analytics to the team’s decision making. Halaby previously spent six seasons as the team’s vice president of football operations and strategy.

Harley has spent close to two decades in New Orleans, with a lengthy stint as director of football administration before earning a promotion to his current role. The executive has primarily dealt with “contract negotiation and strategic planning/management of the Saints salary cap and roster management,” although he’s also played a role in preparing for free agency and the draft.

Matteo has spent the past four seasons in Baltimore, with the team website crediting him for negotiating the contracts for all 37 draft picks over that span. The executive has also worked on deals for free agents and extensions for “key Ravens,” including tight end Mark Andrews.

Dodds has been a popular name on the GM market in recent years, generating six interviews since 2020. However, the executive has continued to stick in Indy as Chris Ballard‘s right-hand man. Dodds is also set to interview for the Raiders GM vacancy.

Following stints in Denver and Chicago, Kelly joined the Raiders as their assistant GM in 2022. Following the firing of Dave Ziegler, Kelly was promoted to interim GM, and similar to interim head coach Antonio Pierce, the executive has drawn praise for his team management down the stretch. After being a popular GM candidate in recent years, Kelly is expected to be a hot name once again in 2024.

Interestingly, one name that was included in the press release was Panthers assistant GM Dan Morgan , who is expected to have an opportunity to succeed Fitterer.

Raiders Request GM Interviews With Trey Brown, Terrance Gray; Champ Kelly To Be Interviewed

Two more Raiders GM interview requests have come in. The Raiders are interested in meeting with Bengals senior personnel executive Trey Brown and Bills director of player personnel Terrance Gray, Tom Pelissero of reports.

Brown’s inclusion is interesting due to the Raiders’ past with the young executive. The team met with Brown in 2019 and again in 2022. Gray has not previously interviewed for a GM job. These two AFC staffers join 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters and Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds in being on the Raiders’ list of interview hopefuls. Dodds joined Brown in meeting with Mark Davis and Co. during the 2022 search that produced a Dave Ziegler hire.

When the Raiders met with Brown in 2019, he held the Eagles’ director of college scouting position. Brown, 38, ascended to that job at just 31. He began his run as an NFL scout back in 2010 with the Patriots. Brown held front office positions with two short-lived leagues between his Eagles and Bengals gigs, working with the Alliance of American Football and second XFL iteration. The Bengals promoted Brown to his current post in 2022.

Gray has 20 years’ experience as an NFL staffer, working for the Chiefs and Vikings prior to his recent run with the Bills. Gray logged 11 years in Minnesota, coming up under Rick Spielman through the scouting ranks. Upon taking the Buffalo GM job in 2017, Brandon Beane hired Gray. He has held his director of player personnel title since 2022. Gray will likely meet with the Raiders later this week, per’s Albert Breer.

The Bills lost their assistant GM, Joe Schoen, to the Giants that year. Considering Buffalo’s success during Beane’s stay, it stands to reason Gray will be a name to watch on the GM interview circuit. While the Bengals saw Joe Burrow‘s injury impede their route back to the playoffs, the team has qualified for two AFC championship games during Brown’s years in Cincinnati.

While these four candidates may all interview, the Raiders will indeed meet with interim GM Champ Kelly,’s Mike Garafolo notes. Davis said the team is likely to hire a GM before a head coach, though he indicated that is not a locked-in strategy. Kelly is expected to draw interest from other teams as well. The popular exec had built some momentum during his final weeks in the interim role, with a December report indicating he is more likely to stay than Antonio Pierce.

No Jim Harbaugh-like candidate exists thus far on Las Vegas’ GM interview list, so Kelly may not have the kind of competition Pierce stands to during this process. Though, if the Raiders are serious about Harbaugh, it would be a near certainty they would work with the Michigan HC to pair him with an approved GM. Davis is also considering a president of football operations-type hire that would be in this mix as well, complicating the AFC West franchise’s offseason.

Raiders Interim GM Champ Kelly Expected To Draw Interest

The Raiders have put their personnel decisions in the hands of assistant general manager Champ Kelly since the firing of former general manager Dave Ziegler. As much as Las Vegas would like to retain Kelly’s services next year, the NFL mandates that the team open up the job to an extensive search, despite Kelly’s current role as interim GM. That works both ways, though, meaning that other teams will get the opportunity to go after Kelly, as well, and according to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Kelly will be a popular name among teams with openings at the position.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Kelly was considered a top candidate for the Raiders’ position when the team hired Ziegler. Kelly came on as the team’s assistant GM and, together with Ziegler, Las Vegas worked hard to rebuild a defense that had been worn thin and bring in top offensive talent like wide receivers Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers. The defense now holds promising players like Robert Spillane, Marcus Epps, and Jack Jones, while youth also blooms on the offensive side of the ball in players like rookie tight end Michael Mayer and rookie wide receiver Tre Tucker.

Still, you can’t praise Kelly for good deeds performed under Ziegler without also tying him to the negative. Ziegler was fired by owner Mark Davis for a reason, even though at times it seemed like that reason was because of his ties to head coach Josh McDaniels. That being said, one of the things that seemed to be a bit of demerit on Ziegler’s record was his and McDaniels’ insistence on stuffing the Vegas roster with former Patriots (Meyers, Brian Hoyer, Jakob Johnson, Brandon Bolden, Jermaine Eluemunor, Justin Herron, and eventually Jimmy Garoppolo), and Kelly holds no connection to New England, perhaps absolving him of that sin.

The Raiders’ in-depth search for their next full-time GM will almost certainly include Kelly as a candidate. Much like head coaching positions, GM jobs are also subject to the Rooney Rules that require a team to interview at least two external candidates that are either a minority or a female. With Kelly being a black executive, he will check off Rooney Rule boxes for any teams he interviews with, making him a potentially even more popular candidate, not to take away from his impressively qualifying resume.

Kelly’s race also plays a part in his potential departure from Vegas. Because he is a minority, the Raiders would be eligible for draft-pick compensation should Kelly be hired by another team, though there is support in the building for him to remain.

Champ Kelly Gaining Support To Remain Raiders’ GM; Team Eyeing High-Level Football Ops Staffer

When the Raiders signed up for a Patriot Way blueprint, they added Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler together. Mark Davis‘ upcoming HC-GM search will likely feature a different approach.

Indicating he would want his GM hire to have some say in the team’s HC choice, Davis said the Raiders will plan to hire their top front office exec first, according to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. While the owner stopped short of ensuring that is how the Raiders’ next round of searches will unfold, he said that will be the likely play (subscription required).

Davis cut the cord on the Ziegler-McDaniels partnership in the middle of the night, canning both hours after the Halloween trade deadline. Champ Kelly and Antonio Pierce are serving in those roles for the time being. It should be expected, barring a freefall over this season’s final three games, both will have a shot to see their interim tags removed. Kelly is viewed around the league as a legitimate candidate to keep his job,’s Jeremy Fowler notes.

A well-regarded exec, Kelly interviewed for the job Ziegler received in 2022. We heard just after the firings that Kelly had support to ascend to the full-time role. Unlike Pierce, Kelly has a long track record as an NFL staffer. After a five-year tenure as the Broncos’ assistant pro personnel director — a run he began during McDaniels’ infamous Denver tenure — Kelly spent six years with the Bears, finishing out his run as their assistant director of player personnel.

The Raiders hired Kelly, 43, to be their assistant GM shortly after going with Ziegler to lead the way, though’s Albert Breer notes fellow 2022 interviewee Ed Dodds impressed as well. Dodds has been the Colts’ assistant GM for the past seven years. Dodds has been a popular name on the GM interview circuit in recent years, though he did not interview for any positions in 2023.

Although Pierce and Kelly are both Black, the Raiders will still need to follow Rooney Rule procedures during their search. Two external minority candidates or women are required to interview for teams’ HC and GM positions. At the league meetings last week, buzz pointed to Davis being more likely to retain Kelly than Pierce, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes. This makes sense given Pierce’s limited experience. The ex-Giants Super Bowl-winning linebacker has no NFL coaching experience prior to his Raiders gig, separating this situation from Davis’ call to pass on longtime ST coordinator-turned-interim HC Rich Bisaccia in 2022.

Recently, Pierce had his former Giants coach (Tom Coughlin), along with Adam Gase and ex-Arizona State coworker Marvin Lewis, in the building. The trio sat in on Raiders meetings and offered input on all team aspects, according to’s Ian Rapoport, with Pierce attempting to gain intel from experienced HCs as he attempts to make a case for the full-time job. Coughlin and Lewis have counseled Pierce since the Raiders named him interim HC, Rapoport adds. No interim head coach has ascended to a full-time position since the Jaguars removed Doug Marrone‘s interim tag in 2017.

Regardless of the Raiders’ decisions regarding their interim staffers, a third power broker may enter the equation soon. Citing Hall of Famer Ron Wolf‘s impact as a scout during his 11-year tenure with the Raiders — ahead of a successful run as the Packers’ GM — Davis alluded to a non-GM hire having a significant say in the next Raider regime.

I think that the triumvirate in that regard worked very well together,” Mark Davis said (via Reed) of his father, Wolf and the Raiders’ HCs. “People think that their egos were all out there, but there was no ego at all. It was about who could they give to the coach to help him do his job and be great. Today, I don’t know.

“Because I don’t have that ability that my father had in judging talent. So, that’s a missing piece to the puzzle, so to speak, is a solid football mind that isn’t the GM or the head coach. And I think that’s a piece that’s probably going to be necessary somewhere down the line is bringing in somebody that understands that football that’s above the day-to-day work.”

The Raiders hiring a high-level football operations exec would stand to limit the GM’s power. This was the case when the Jaguars hired Coughlin to work above Dave Caldwell in 2017, and the Dolphins used this setup with Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier from 2016-18. Mark Davis, however, has struggled throughout his ownership tenure. Eight HCs have stopped through Oakland and Las Vegas since Al Davis‘ death in 2011; the team has two winning seasons since its Super Bowl XXXVII appearance 21 years ago. Bringing in an additional voice would be an interesting effort on the owner’s part. Although the GM and HC hires will generate the most attention, a third pillar coming in would represent a significant development.

Given McDaniels’ experience, it was assumed the three-time Super Bowl-winning OC was running the show during his brief Las Vegas tenure. Ziegler, however, was believed to have the final say on the 53-man roster. Davis confirmed this was the case but stopped short of indicating Ziegler wielded that power regularly.

I think there’s been a misconception on the last head coach and general manager and who had the authority,” Davis said. “Lately, some articles have come out making it seem like the head coach had more authority on that, and that’s the furthest thing from the truth. The general manager had the final authority on all of it. Whether he accepted that authority or not is a different story, but it was very clear when they were hired where the buck stopped.”

The McDaniels-Ziegler duo’s shortcomings will undoubtedly be on Davis’ mind as he determines the franchise’s course for the mid-2020s and beyond.

Latest On Interim Raiders HC Antonio Pierce

Having started out 2-0 after the firings of Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, the Raiders saw a turnaround under interim head coach Antonio Pierce. The latter’s change in attitude regarding the locker room has been well received throughout the organization, something which could help his chances (and those of interim GM Champ Kelly) of remaining in place beyond 2023.

Pierce had no experience as a head coach at the college or NFL levels prior to his Vegas appointment. As a result, the 45-year-old has turned to a veteran in search of advice during the early days of his time at the helm of the Raiders. Pierce has consulted with Tom Coughlin for advice, reports Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. Pierce played for Coughlin’s Giants for much of his career.

Heading into Week 11, the system in place for the Raiders has been not only player-friendly but also effective. Vegas won games against the Giants and Jets, teams which will offer less of a challenge than future opponents on the Raiders’ schedule. Still, the improved atmosphere around the organization has been telling for players, staffers and front office personnel. Both Jones and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport report owner Mark Davis is pleased with the early showings of the Pierce era.

That is particularly signficant given recent Raiders history. In the wake of Jon Gruden‘s scandal-induced resignation in 2021, Rich Bisaccia was given the head coaching position on an interim basis. The latter guided the team to the postseason, but he was allowed to depart to Green Bay while McDaniels was hired to replace him. By Year Two of the Patriots-flavored regime, though, another change had been made. Jones reports that Davis has since come to regret not giving Bisaccia the full-time gig, so a continuation of the team’s recent success by Pierce would greatly bolster his case for being tapped as McDaniels’ long-term successor.

While the early results have been encouraging, there are still questions in the organization regarding how far a much more player-centric environment can go, as noted by Dianna Russini of The Athletic (subscription required). Stiffer tests (beginning with today’s close loss in Miami) will go a long way in determining the Raiders’ fate with respect to postseason contention or at least development from rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who is in place as the starter moving forward.

Davis did not lay out specific targets for the Pierce-Kelly pairing to meet during their time at the helm of the organization, but the door appears to be open to them staying in place for the foreseeable future. With Davis already on the hook for the McDaniels and Ziegler firings at a cost of $85MM (at least before offsets brought on by new employers), it will be interesting to see how aggressively he pursues outside options in the offseason as opposed to reversing his actions from the Bisaccia situation.