Ed Dodds

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, NFL.com’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.

Tom Telesco Taking Part In Second Raiders GM Interview; Mike Caldwell In Play For Defensive Role

4:50pm: The Raiders’ final decision between Telesco, Dodds and Kelly could be made as early as tomorrow, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports. As a result, the team’s ongoing search will certainly be worth following closely in the immediate future.

2:20pm: The list of finalists for the Raiders’ general manager vacancy continues to grow. Former Chargers GM Tom Telesco is in Las Vegas for a second interview for the position today, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic. As his colleague Tashan Reed notes, Colts exec Ed Dodds has also met with the Raiders twice.

Telesco’s long run with the Chargers came to an end midway through the 2023 season after he and head coach Brandon Staley were fired. As a result, the franchise is looking for a new GM for the first time since 2013. While that search is ongoing, Telesco has received interest from the division-rival Raiders. Dodds has generated greater interest, and he is seen as a top challenger to interim GM Champ Kelly for the full-time gig.

Telesco and the Raiders met earlier this month, and that interview obviously went well given today’s update. The Raiders recently sorted out their coaching situation by removing the interim tag from head coach Antonio Pierce. That move has been celebrated by many, but it leaves the team short on experience on the sidelines. Pairing Pierce with a rookie GM would thus carry risk, something which could be avoided by hiring Telesco.

The latter helped lead the Chargers to a winning record six times during his tenure, and he was responsible for a number of high-profile player acquisitions. One of his most important moves was authorizing the massive extension Justin Herbert signed last offseason, though the Raiders face a much more uncertain situation under center at the moment. Finding stability at the QB spot will be a top priority for whomever gets the nod from owner Mark Davis.

Meanwhile, former Jaguars DC Mike Caldwell is on the Raiders’ radar. Caldwell will interview with the team for a defensive staff position, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports. In the event Patrick Graham – who is currently in place as defensive coordinator – departs for a head coaching position, Caldwell could be in play to take over in that role with Vegas, Fowler adds.

With plenty yet to be determined on the sidelines and in the front office, here is how the Raiders’ GM search is taking shape:

2024 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

With the Commanders making a hire, four teams remain in search of general managers. This includes the Patriots, who have moved on from HC/de facto GM Bill Belichick. If other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown of where searches stand:

Updated 1-30-24 (8:15am CT)

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Washington Commanders

Latest On Raiders’ GM, HC Positions

1:02pm: Kelly has sat in on the Raiders’ HC interviews this week, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com 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 SI.com’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.

Chargers To Interview Ed Dodds For GM Job

A third team has emerged as a suitor for Ed Dodds. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Colts assistant general manager is set to meet with the Chargers on Wednesday regarding their general manager vacancy.

[RELATED: Chargers Expected To Meet With Jim Harbaugh]

We previously heard that Dodds was set to interview for GM jobs with the Raiders and Panthers. Indeed, Schefter notes that the executive met with Las Vegas yesterday and will meet with Carolina tomorrow.

Dodds was named the Colts assistant general manager in 2018. He’s generated six head coaching interviews over the past four years, but he’s continued to stick in Indy as Chris Ballard‘s right-hand man. Dodds has been credited with helping guide the Colts in a post-Andrew Luck era. While the team hasn’t made a whole lot of noise in the AFC over the past five years, the Colts have still earned three winning records, including a 2020 campaign where they went 11-5.

Before his time in Indy, Dodds spent a decade with the Seahawks, overseeing the organization’s college and pro scouting departments. During his time in Seattle, the Seahawks earned six NFC West titles and made a pair of Super Bowl appearances.

This news follows reports from this morning that the Chargers were preparing to meet with Jim Harbaugh next week regarding their head coaching vacancy. It was believed that the Michigan head coach would be seeking some kind of personnel control, and at the very least, the Chargers were expected to pursue a GM who had some connection to Harbaugh. Besides their stints in the NFC West, Dodds hasn’t worked with Harbaugh.

The Chargers have a growing list of candidates to replace Tom Telesco as the Chargers GM. As our 2024 NFL General Manager Search Tracker shows, that grouping includes:

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 Ed Dodds, Adam Peters

Ed Dodds is believed to have impressed the Raiders during his 2022 interview for their general manager post. Two years later, the Colts executive could have another chance.

The Raiders requested another meeting with Dodds, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. Additionally, Las Vegas wants to meet with San Francisco assistant GM Adam Peters, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.

Given his role in the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan-era run, Peters has been expected to be a hot commodity for a bit. Dodds’ inclusion here, however, is interesting. Mark Davis was impressed with Dodds during his previous meeting with the Colts’ assistant GM, but he went with a Patriot Way duo. After bailing on the Dave ZieglerJosh McDaniels pairing midway through its second season in charge, Davis is reassessing once again.

These interview requests come as the league has learned of the team’s interest in Jim Harbaugh. Considering Harbaugh’s past and polarizing reputation among front offices, the Raiders could be set for a complicated search. Michigan’s natural interest in retaining the top-tier college HC will undoubtedly lead to the former 49ers leader setting both a high salary price and seeking to have a significant say in personnel matters. Both the Raiders and Chargers have shown steady interest in Harbaugh, who is believed to be intrigued by both jobs.

Dodds has been on Chris Ballard‘s Colts staff for the past seven years. While the Colts struggled for a while to pick up the pieces post-Andrew Luck, they built what has been regarded at points as a high-end talent stable around their evolving cast of QBs. Dodds has been a central figure in Indianapolis and has been part of GM interview cycles previously. In addition to the Raiders’ 2022 interest, Dodds turned down a Bears interview request that year. He interviewed with the Steelers in 2022 and Panthers in 2021.

Like Dodds, Peters has been with his current team since 2017. The 49ers brought him over after an eight-year stay in Denver. Peters also turned down the chance to interview for the Cardinals and Titans’ GM jobs last year. He has been mentioned as a John Lynch heir apparent in San Francisco, but after Lynch turned down Amazon in 2022, it is not known if the Hall of Fame safety-turned-exec is eyeing an exit anytime soon. Peters, whom the 49ers elevated to assistant GM in 2021, collected a Super Bowl ring for his Broncos work. In Denver throughout Peyton Manning‘s stay, Peters did join the Broncos during McDaniels’ short stint. That is certainly relevant due to the Raiders showing interest, but Peters has proven successful for a long time since the Broncos fired McDaniels.

Peters is also set to interview with the Commanders, who present an interesting opportunity due to the team’s league-leading cap-space figure and new ownership being in place. Both the Raiders and Commanders have been connected to being interested in hiring a football ops president-level staffer, which would seemingly reduce the GM’s power. That will be something to monitor, as Davis confirmed recently he is interested in such a position. Interim GM Champ Kelly is also on the radar to stay, so it would be quite surprising if the two-year Raiders staffer did not receive an interview. Kelly, however, is also expected to draw outside interest.

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, ESPN.com’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 SI.com’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 NFL.com’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.

More Raiders Fallout: McDaniels, Ziegler, Davis, Harbaugh, Brady, Kelly

When the Raiders begin the search for a new head coach and general manager to replace Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, they could have a difficult time attracting the most desirable talent. Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required), owner Mark Davis vowed that he would give the duo a minimum of three years to return the Raiders to contention, but he fired them midway through their second season. Once seen as a patient owner, Davis has undermined his reputation in that regard, and most of the coaches and execs that Howe spoke with believe that the quick trigger will have a negative impact on his search.

One executive said, “I don’t know who you’re going to convince to take those jobs. I think Mark Davis made it harder on himself,” while another added, “[i]t definitely makes the jobs less appealing.”

To be clear, Davis will likely have plenty of candidates to choose from thanks to the desirability and rarity of a top job in the NFL coaching and personnel ranks. Still, it would not be surprising for the biggest fish in the upcoming hiring cycle to rebuff Davis’ overtures.

“If you’re only going to give me two years, just be upfront and honest with me,” a rival coach said. “I can handle that. It’d change the entire way you’d try to build the team. If you’re thinking about setting up to take off and win by Year 3, that’s how you’re going to manage your roster.”

McDaniels, of course, is a proponent of “hard coaching,” and it appears he alienated many Raiders players with his demanding style. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, players “ripped into” McDaniels during the team meeting in which he allowed his charges to air their grievances, and players were especially critical of (among other things) McDaniels’ micromanaging and the way he deflected blame for issues with play-calling. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer adds that interim HC Antonio Pierce attempted to speak on behalf of McDaniels at that meeting, but Pierce’s use of the Super Bowl-winning Giants team he played on as an example of what a good locker room culture can do irked McDaniels, who was part of the Patriots squad that lost that title game to New York (video link).

At the following practice, McDaniels attempted to give the players what they wanted by being less involved and not “overcorrecting” by stepping in after every mistake. However, one source told Rapoport that the new approach did not suit McDaniels well, that the head coach looked like “a shell of himself,” and that it was clear McDaniels’ tenure was coming to an end. Ultimately, McDaniels was unable to recapture the team chemistry that Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.com believes was destroyed when quarterback and team leader Derek Carr was released earlier this year.

The driving force behind Carr’s departure remains a bit unclear. Rapoport’s sources say that Davis “led the push” to replace Carr, with McDaniels and Ziegler eventually getting on board, while Pauline says McDaniels was the one who wanted to move on from the franchise’s longtime passer. Back in late December/early January, it was reported that the McDaniels-Ziegler regime saw Carr as a poor fit in McDaniels’ offense, and that while McDaniels was prepared to let Carr play out the remainder of the 2022 campaign, Davis — who had been “lukewarm” on Carr for some time — wanted the QB to be benched for the last two games of the season.

Even if, as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports suggests, Davis and the McDaniels-Ziegler duo were aligned on the Carr situation, subsequent quarterback-related missteps accelerated this week’s firings (although it should be noted, as Rapoport writes, that former club president Dan Ventrelle agreed to include in Carr’s 2022 extension the no-trade clause that undermined the Raiders’ leverage when they tried to deal Carr this past offseason. Ventrelle entered into that agreement with Carr’s camp prior to speaking with other club officials). We already heard that McDaniels’ decision to start former Patriots QB Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7 rankled Davis, and obviously the decision to sign another of McDaniels’ former pupils, Jimmy Garoppolo, proved to be a poor one, as McDaniels apparently overestimated the ease with which Garoppolo would reacclimate to McDaniels’ offense.

On the subject of Garoppolo, Rapoport reminds us that the Raiders were among the teams that tried to trade up for the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, with quarterback Bryce Young the target. However, McDaniels reportedly did not want to “grow with” a rookie signal-caller, so the Raiders stood down while the Panthers catapulted up the draft board to claim the No. 1 spot before free agency opened. McDaniels & Co. acquired Garoppolo shortly thereafter.

It has been an open secret that Ziegler, despite his general manager title, took a backseat to McDaniels in terms of personnel matters. Indeed, Pauline called Ziegler a “glorified scout” and likened the McDaniels-Ziegler pairing to the Jon-GrudenMike Mayock partnership that preceded it. So while Pauline reports that Davis will be interested in hiring University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, it is fair to wonder if that would be the best move for the owner to make. After all, Harbaugh would also want full autonomy over personnel decisions, and like Mayock and Ziegler, any GM brought in along with Harbaugh would be little more than a figurehead.

That is to say nothing of the fact that Harbaugh, who is currently dealing with allegations of an elaborate sign-stealing scheme after already having served a three-game suspension this year for alleged recruiting violations, may not be the hot NFL candidate he once was. Per Rapoport and NFL.com colleague Tom Pelissero, the NCAA has not ruled on the alleged recruiting violations or sign-stealing operation — the three-game ban was imposed by Michigan — and the NFL may force Harbaugh to serve any NCAA-ordered suspension should he return to the pros. Mark Maske of the Washington Post, meanwhile, says it is not certain that the league would go that route.

Still, in light of the failures of the two prior regimes, a Harbaugh hire could be a tough sell for Davis. In fact, Jones writes that Davis will be seeking a “player-centric” coach rather than a coach with the hard-nosed styles of Harbaugh, Gruden, and McDaniels. Jones also believes Davis will seek to hire a GM before hiring an HC.

In any event, Davis has promised a “comprehensive search” for a new head coach, and Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal says Davis is being encouraged to hire a president of football operations to aid in the process. Ventrelle was replaced by Sandra Douglass Morgan in July 2022, and Jones writes that Morgan, along with longtime executive Tom Delaney and personnel man Ken Herock, will also offer counsel (though Pauline opines that most of Herock’s advice has led to “ruinous” decisions).

Jones echoes his recent report that Tom Brady will also influence Davis’ thinking. As expected, Brady’s would-be stake in the Raiders was not discussed at the league meetings last month, with Jones and Albert Breer of SI.com reporting that other owners take issue with the bargain price at which Davis is trying to sell a share of his club to Brady. Colts owner and finance committee member Jim Irsay told reporters, including Jori Epstein of Yahoo! Sports, “the number just had to be a reasonable number for purchase price.”

Breer adds that Brady’s broadcasting contract with FOX is also a hurdle to ratification of the purchase. Understandably, teams do not want anyone with an ownership stake in a rival outfit having the access and obtaining the inside information that broadcasters often enjoy, so much will need to change for Brady to be approved as a minority owner at the next league meetings in December.

Given Davis’ deep respect for Brady, it stands to reason that the all-time great will be an important voice in Davis’ ear regardless of his ownership status. And while much of the discussion about Las Vegas’ changing power structure has thus far focused upon who the next head coach will be, Pauline notes that there is a “groundswell” of support for interim general manager Champ Kelly to retain the GM post on a full-time basis. Kelly, a longtime Bears exec who has experience in both personnel and salary cap matters, has taken a number of GM interviews in recent years, and Davis recently admitted that Kelly might have gotten the Raiders’ GM job in 2022 if the package deal of McDaniels and Ziegler had not become available. Jones also names Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds as a candidate to monitor.

Despite Ziegler’s figurehead status in Nevada, Rapoport observes that McDaniels’ right-hand man nonetheless made strides in modernizing the personnel side of the Raiders’ operation, an effort that included hiring respected scouting minds, creating a scouting development program, and injecting “forward-thinking concepts on player development.” The next Raiders GM should therefore have something of a foundation to build upon.

Whether that person is Kelly or someone else remains to be seen, but in acknowledgment of their promotions, Davis reworked the contracts of both Kelly and Pierce, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. Those transactions added even more money to the whopping $85MM tab that Davis will have to pick up due to the McDaniels and Ziegler firings (though some of that amount will be offset should his former employees land new jobs elsewhere).

Davis is one of the league’s most cash-poor owners, so these hugely expensive maneuvers underscore the strength of his conviction that McDaniels and Ziegler were not the right men to lead the Raiders. As Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, Davis also fired team COO Mike Newquist, whom he hired just three months ago. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk concedes that Newquist’s post is unrelated to the football side of the team, but he believes the immediate firing of a key employee will further add to the perception of dysfunction that presently surrounds Davis’ franchise.

One way or another, Raiders fans are in for a fascinating few months.

Latest On Colts’ Anthony Richardson Selection

The Colts delivered on their long-stated intention of drafting a quarterback in the first round of last week’s draft, selecting Anthony Richardson with the No. 4 pick. That marked the end of a lengthy evaluation process, but it did not represent a surprise within the organization when it happened.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard told NBC Sports’ Peter King that the team’s intention was to draft Richardson dating back roughly one month. The Florida product was the largest X-factor in the 2023 class, having played far less than most other passers but owning the most intriguing skillset given his physical attributes and rushing ability.

While he thus represented a risk, Richardson was a key target for the Colts in their latest attempt to end their search for a long-term quarterback. Their post-Andrew Luck endeavors resulted in an unsuccessful string of veterans being brought in, pointing the team to adding a young passer this offseason. Despite his relative lack of experience and signficant inconsistencies in his lone season as a starter, Richardson could see playing time as a rookie at the NFL level.

“I would rather take the risk, the risk that he might fail, than pass on him and see him become a star somewhere else,” Ballard said. “We’re taking a guy not only for what he can do today but for what he can become tomorrow.” Echoing that sentiment in a draft documentary, via the team, Ballard added, “I didn’t want to look up and watch him be a superstar somewhere else. If he’s gonna be a superstar, he’s gonna be a superstar for the Colts” (video link).

There was not initially a consensus in the Colts’ front office regarding Richardson. In a breakdown of the team’s evaluation process, ESPN’s Stephen Holder notes that assistant GM Ed Dodds was “deeply skeptical” of Richardson at first, given the concerns regarding experience and accuracy. He, too, grew into the notion of selecting Richardson fourth overall, however, a point where two quarterbacks were expected to be off the board.

That was indeed the case last Thursday, with the Panthers and Texans selecting Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, respectively. Indianapolis considered trading up to No. 3, per Holder, but the team chose against doing so. The Cardinals ultimately moved out of that slot to allow the Texans to draft Will Anderson, leaving Richardson available for the Colts as they had hoped and planned.

The latter will face considerable scrutiny and expectations upon his NFL debut, but the Colts remain firmly committed to him as their long-term solution under center. With Gardner Minshew representing his top competition for the starting job (especially in the absence of Nick Foles), Richardson could see considerable playing time in 2023 and for many years beyond that.