Dave Ziegler

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

2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

Along with the head coaches being fired, a few NFL teams are looking for new general managers. Listed below are the GM candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status.

If and when other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 5-24-22 (9:03pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Raiders’ Dave Ziegler To Control Roster

Josh McDaniels is the biggest name heading to Las Vegas this offseason, but his former New England coworker will be the one in charge. Dave Ziegler will control the Raiders’ roster, according to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

A GM controlling a team’s roster is not particularly unusual, though a few head coaches still have final say. It is notable here, given the Raiders’ recent past and McDaniels’ history in such a role.

Mark Davis gave Jon Gruden such power, and the team made repeated missteps in the draft and in free agency. Although the Raiders also had some success, their big-ticket moves mostly bombed under Gruden. McDaniels assumed such control when he replaced Mike Shanahan in Denver in 2009. McDaniels’ feud with Jay Cutler preceded a controversial trade, one that soon left the Broncos with Kyle Orton as their starting quarterback. A year later, the Broncos traded three picks to move up for Tim Tebow in the first round. While McDaniels also experienced some success, via the 2010 draft choices of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, he is largely remembered for personnel failures — among other shortcomings — during his first try as a head coach.

Ziegler began his career as an NFL exec under McDaniels in Denver stay but spent the past nine years in New England. He climbed the ladder with the Patriots last year, finishing his run as the team’s assistant director of player personnel. The Pats gave Ziegler a raise after Nick Caserio‘s 2021 departure.

Ziegler’s GM interview led McDaniels to Vegas, per Volin, who adds the owner did not know McDaniels was interested in the team’s HC job. Ziegler replied that McDaniels would follow him to Nevada. This will be McDaniels’ first HC opportunity (other than the Colts gig he turned down) since the Broncos fired him late in the 2010 season. The Ziegler-McDaniels duo will now attempt to establish long-term success without Bill Belichick‘s guidance.

Patriots Promote Matt Groh To Director Of Player Personnel

The departure of Dave Ziegler left a vacancy in the Patriots’ front office. Today, they filled it with an internal promotion, naming Matt Groh their new director of player personnel (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

[Related: Raiders Hire Dave Ziegler]

Groh has spent the last 11 years with New England. After a decade in the team’s scouting department, he served as their college scouting director in 2021. The son of former coach Al (who formerly worked with Bill Belichick), and the brother of recently-named Giants wide receivers coach Mike, he is continuing to climb the ladder in New England.

As Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated tweets, Groh played a large role in re-shaping the scouting department in New England last season. With Ziegler out of the picture, Groh will no doubt take on an even larger role in overseeing the department he has so much experience in. Being able to do so would be helpful for the Patriots, as their recent drop off to the middle of the pack in the league has coincided with some less successful drafts than the team is accustomed to.

While there will be an inevitable change of some sort on the coaching staff, following offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel’s departure, the Patriots will at least have a good deal of continuity in the front office.

QB Carr’s Future In Vegas Secure

Quarterback Derek Carr‘s future with the Raiders has been hot and cold for quite a while now, but, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the new leadership in Las Vegas is prepared to show their commitment to the eighth-year veteran with a contract extension. 

Just before the start of February, the Raiders announced the hirings of two former New England employees. They were taking the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, to fill the role of head coach and the Patriots’ director of player personnel, Dave Ziegler, to fill the role of general manager. Both McDaniels and Ziegler had shown interest in trading for Carr during their time in New England.

Since the departures of former head coach Jon Gruden and former general manager Mike Mayock, Carr has been unsure of his future, claiming that his status could be impacted by the team’s hires. Carr’s top choice to replace Gruden was, in fact, McDaniels. The mutual support and respect is something that Carr has not had the luxury of enjoying throughout his eight years with the organization.

Joel Corry, who writes for CBS Sports on NFL contracts and salary caps, tweeted out some ideas of what an extension may look like for Carr. Back in 2017, Carr became the first player in the NFL to average $25MM per annum. Even while breaking that barrier, Carr claimed at the time that he was leaving money in the cap for deals with guard Gabe Jackson and outside linebacker Khalil Mack. Corry and Rapoport both posit that Carr has earned near-top-tier money that could make him the fourth quarterback to join the $40MM per year club, joining the likes Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Dak Prescott.

The Raiders have some time to figure out a deal with Carr, as he’s under contract through next season. They may attempt to make a show of good faith and offer an extension before the start of his contract year, or, with relations between leadership and the quarterback being much healthier, they may be able to take some time to figure out the best deal for both sides. Regardless, it is certainly an improved situation for everyone involved, and the Raiders will hope to reap the benefits.

Raiders Hire Dave Ziegler As GM, Josh McDaniels Expected As HC

The Raiders have announced the hiring of Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler as their new general manager. That means that the official hiring of Patriots OC Josh McDaniels as head coach is right around the corner, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Though McDaniels was a late entrant in this year’s coaching cycle — his only interview, which just took place yesterday, was with the Raiders — he became the frontrunner for the position as soon as he was connected to it. Indeed, he reportedly told the team that he would not accept its interview request unless he was going to be offered the job.

Now 45, McDaniels is best known for his lengthy and tremendously successful run as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, first from 2005-2008 and then again from 2012-2021. Of course, he had the privilege of working with QB Tom Brady for almost all of that time, but the work that he did with rookie passer Mac Jones this year also earned him plenty of positive attention. His ill-fated tenure as Broncos head coach from 2009-10 is well in the rearview mirror at this point, and his leaving the Colts at the altar in the 2018 hiring cycle did not seem to deter other clubs from wanting to bring his talents as an offensive guru aboard (though it is worth keeping that jilting in mind until he puts pen to paper).

Assuming he does finalize a deal with Las Vegas, he will inherit QB Derek Carr, who has one year remaining on his current contract. We recently heard that the Raiders’ HC hire would impact Carr’s future in the silver-and-black, but as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets, there is “mutual admiration” between Carr and McDaniels, so it could be that an extension for the soon-to-be 31-year-old passer is in the offing.

Obviously, Ziegler will have some say in that. In his previous post with the Patriots, he revamped the team’s scouting department and free agency strategy, as Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com (on Twitter) notes, and he has received a considerable amount of credit for New England’s quick rise back to competitiveness after a disappointing 2020, the first year of the post-Brady era. His philosophy differed from predecessor Nick Caserio and will likely stray from recently-deposed Raiders GM Mike Mayock‘s approach.

Ziegler and McDaniels first worked together with the Broncos in 2010, and the former joined the Pats’ scouting department in 2013 and gradually rose up the ranks (2021 was his first as director of player personnel, a promotion he received after Caserio left Foxborough to become the Texans’ GM). Ziegler has been viewed as McDaniels’ GM-of-choice for awhile now, and it appears that the partnership will soon make its way west.

Raiders Moving Towards Hiring Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler

It appears the next team to make their hire on both the head coach and general manger front will be the Raiders. According to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, the team is “all-in” on hiring Josh McDaniels as its new HC, and Dave Ziegler as GM. 

[Related: Raiders Request Josh McDaniels Interview]

Wilson reports that the two are expected to be hired “within the next few days”. One of the more notable aspects of this year’s hiring cycle is the fact that McDaniels hasn’t been included with any teams’ respective HC searches, until the Raiders formally requested to speak with him yesterday. On that point, Wilson adds, “McDaniels informed the Raiders that he wouldn’t accept their interview request unless he was being offered the job”.

Meanwhile, in an appearance on NBC Sports Boston, Albert Breer corroborated the growing sense that the longtime Patriots OC will be heading to Vegas. He said, “I think Josh has been vetting the Raiders, I think the Raiders have been vetting Josh, and I think this is the conclusion of it”. He added, “I’m not saying it’s all over… but the fact that they’ve gotten to this point tells me things are pretty far along”.

Throughout the process of the Raiders’ search, there have been reports that McDaniels and Ziegler could be a package deal, if owner Mark Davis chose to go that route and was willing to pay a premium for the former in particular – something which isn’t expected to be an issue. Their working relationship goes back to their days in Denver, when McDaniels hired Ziegler to be a scout. Now the director of player personnel with the Patriots, Ziegler looks poised to have a reunion with his friend, and take a coveted position in a new city and stadium overseeing a 2021 playoff team.

Latest On Raiders’ HC, GM Searches

The Raiders’ general manager search has expanded to include eight names. While the team’s pursuit of its next full-time head coach has not gotten as far off the ground, a few external candidates have emerged.

One possible solution — a Josh McDanielsDave Ziegler partnership — has surfaced on the radar, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). Ziegler, who moved up in the Patriots’ front office hierarchy following Nick Caserio‘s 2021 New England exit, interviewed for the Las Vegas GM job Friday and has been connected to bringing the Pats’ longtime OC with him.

McDaniels has not taken a formal interview with any team during this year’s hiring cycle, though the veteran OC was calling around to coaches around the league for staff-assembly purposes recently, Tafur adds. Patriots West might not be where this Raiders process ends up, however.

Momentum has cooled on a McDaniels-Ziegler pairing this week, per Tafur, who adds Colts VP of player personnel Ed Dodds — a former Al Davis staffer — is still in the mix. Dodds’ GM interview is set for Wednesday. Dodds previously withdrew his name from consideration for the Bears’ GM post. Dodds being with the Colts when McDaniels backtracked on a 2018 Indianapolis agreement would all but squash any chance of those two pairing up.

The Raiders have interviewed only Rich Bisaccia and Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo for their HC position. The team remains interested in speaking with 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans and has a meeting with Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles set for Friday. While Jim Harbaugh looms, not much has emerged connecting the Michigan coach to the Silver and Black in several days. Harbaugh was on the Raiders’ staff as QBs coach for part of Dodds’ Oakland tenure, but this was nearly 20 years ago.

Las Vegas’ GM search is now at eight names, with a request to interview Bucs exec John Spytek and interviews with Falcons staffer Ruston Webster and Steelers exec Brandon Hunt representing the latest news coming out of the search to fill Mike Mayock’s job.

Raiders Request Interviews With Patriots’ Jerod Mayo, Dave Ziegler

At the moment, interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and general manager Mike Mayock are still on the Raiders payroll. However, that hasn’t stopped the organization from requesting interviews with potential replacements. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), Las Vegas requested permission to interview Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo for their HC job and Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler for their GM job. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Raiders are expected to put in a request for Colts executive Ed Dodds, as well.

We heard recently that Mayock’s job wasn’t necessarily safe, even following a tumultuous season where he was one of the organization’s calming presences en route to a playoff appearance. Mayock has spent three season’s as the Raiders GM, with the team improving their win total each season. Bisaccia, meanwhile, helped steadied the ship amid a rough season, but recent reports indicated that he was a long shot to keep his job, and that appears to be more apparent following the Raiders one-and-done postseason.

Mayo is now the team’s first definitive HC candidate. The linebacker previously had a standout career with the Patriots, with the former 10th-overall pick earning two Pro Bowl nods and a Super Bowl ring during his eight seasons in New England. Mayo rejoined the organization as their linebackers coach in 2019. While New England is currently operating without a true defensive coordinator, Mayo (along with Steve Belichick) are assumed to be atop the defensive coaching depth chart.

Ziegler has risen from the scouting level to director of pro personnel to his current post. While he has spent much of his career as a Pats exec, he began his NFL run with the Broncos. Last offseason, he was connected to gigs with the Broncos and Giants.

Dodds was a popular name in the GM circuit last offseason, when he was connected to gigs with the Lions and Panthers. Dodds has worked with the Colts since 2017, and he was promoted to his current position in 2018. Dodds previously spent time in the Seahawks front office, where he played a major role in constructing a Super Bowl-winning roster. He’s already been mentioned as a candidate for the Bears GM gig this offseason.

Latest On Joe Judge, Giants’ GM Position

The latest reporting on the matter suggests that Joe Judge will be back as the Giants’ head coach in 2022, though Judge will be required to make some changes to his offensive staff, including offensive coordinator. However, Judge may not be out of the woods just yet.

Last month, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post wrote that Judge would be back unless someone the team interviews for the soon-to-be-vacant GM post offers both a compelling reason to let Judge go and a compelling replacement for him. Even SNY.tv’s Ralph Vacchiano’s more recent report (cited in our piece linked above) mentioned that the new GM may be given the chance to “weigh in” on Judge’s status.

In that same vein, sources from other ownership groups tell Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports that they would not be surprised if Giants co-owner John Mara decides to move on from Judge, and minority owner Steve Tisch is said to be willing to consider an organizational overhaul that includes the head coaching position. However, Mara himself has thus far remained resolute in his desire to keep Judge aboard.

When GM Dave Gettleman‘s imminent ouster was first reported back in November, it was said that his replacement would ideally have a background in the Patriots’ scouting system and would have philosophies more in line with those of Judge, an ex-New England staffer. Just a month later, though, ownership’s thinking apparently changed a bit, as Schwartz wrote that a prospective GM’s preexisting ties to Judge could actually be a detriment to that person’s candidacy. Indeed, Mara reportedly wants to know what the new GM truly thinks of Judge and does not want that opinion to be influenced by prior relationships.

As for who the new GM will be, we have heard that assistant GM Kevin Abrams is a “strong contender.” That does not come as a surprise given the Giants’ penchant to hire those with connections to the franchise, though sticking with the status quo in this instance would likely incense the Big Blue fanbase. However, Vacchiano does not see Abrams as a mere extension of Gettleman despite the many years the two execs have spent together in the New York front office, and he believes Abrams would be a worthy hire despite what fans might think.

Other candidates include Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort and Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler, both of whom were with New England when Judge was there. Again, those Foxborough ties may or may not hurt Ossenfort’s and Ziegler’s case to become Giants GM, but there will be no shortage of other potential targets.

Vacchiano names former Chiefs and Browns GM John Dorsey as another candidate, and if the Giants want to go with a more experienced hand, they would be hard-pressed to do better. Fans who pay attention to front office maneuvers and the annual GM cycle will also recognize Eliot Wolf, Louis Riddick, Dave Caldwell, and Scott Pioli, who all appear on Vacchiano’s list.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post on Twitter) says Judge himself is pushing for Abrams to be promoted. As Schwartz pointed out, though, Judge might not have much say in the decision, and Dunleavy posits that Judge’s advocacy for Abrams means that old friends Ossenfort and Ziegler are not interested in the post.

Dunleavy also mentions Dawn Aponte as someone who might get an interview (Twitter link). Aponte’s name has not appeared on PFR pages since 2018, but she has served in high-ranking executive positions for the Jets, Browns, and Dolphins, and she currently works in the league office as the NFL’s chief administrator of football operations.