Ian Cunningham

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

Bears Extend Assistant GM Ian Cunningham

One of the more popular general manager interview candidates in recent years, Ian Cunningham is in his third offseason as the Bears’ assistant GM. The team will reward its top front office lieutenant.

Cunningham has an extension in place, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. The team hired Cunningham to work as Ryan Poles‘ second-in-command in 2022, and despite the Bears not booking a playoff spot in that span, widespread interest has come in the form of GM interviews. While more should be on tap, the Bears are pleased with Cunningham’s work thus far.

This move comes as Poles remains on the contract he signed back in 2022. Contracts for assistant GMs and assistant coaches generally do not match the length of those awarded to top decision-makers, but Cunningham has some security — in the form of guaranteed money — moving forward. The Bears hired Cunningham from the Eagles in 2022; he was one of four Philly execs — along with Brandon Brown (Giants), Catherine Raiche (Browns) and Andy Weidl (Steelers) — to land an assistant GM job elsewhere that year.

Four teams have reached out to Cunningham about interviews over the past two years. Both clubs who were searching for GMs in 2023 — the Cardinals and Titans — met with him about jobs. This year, the Chargers and Commanders did so. It is believed Cunningham was offered the Cardinals’ GM job last year, but he turned down the position — one that ended up going to Monti Ossenfort. This year, Washington’s job came down to Cunningham and 49ers exec Adam Peters. The latter ended up with the position.

Peters came from a 49ers team that has ventured to four NFC championship games and two Super Bowls over the past five years, while the Bears — amid a rebuild — have gone 10-24 in that span. Cunningham receiving the level of attention he has despite the Bears’ on-field performance in this span reflects a high opinion around the league. Chicago’s Poles-led front office has made interesting moves during this rebuild, most notably the 2023 trade that sent the Panthers Bryce Young and ended up giving the Bears this year’s No. 1 overall pick. That selection is all but certain to turn into Caleb Williams on Thursday night.

The Bears now have an interesting opportunity to reset their quarterback contract clock around Williams, providing Poles and Cunningham more roster flexibility. While Chicago was expected to land more in a Justin Fields trade — one that ended up sending the team only a conditional sixth-round 2025 draft choice (from Pittsburgh) — the NFC North team is now off that rookie contract. Williams will not be extension-eligible until 2027. If the USC product shows promise early, Cunningham should not be expected to be around for much of the QB’s Windy City tenure. Until Cunningham lands/accepts a GM role, he will be in place as Poles’ right-hand man.

Ian Cunningham, Adam Peters Finalists For Commanders’ President Of Football Operations Position

The Commanders are one of eight NFL teams in need of a new head coach, but they are also in the process of re-working their front office structure. That will include the addition of a president of football operations, and a hire in that department could be coming very soon.

Having already completed the first round of interviews for the position, Washington is down to a pair of finalists. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes Ian Cunningham and Adam Peters are still in the running, and multiple reports have confirmed those two are now alone in the race.

Both execs have been among the hottest names on the GM/front office market for this year’s hiring cycle after receiving interest last year as well. Cunningham – currently serving as assistant general manager for the Bears – was immediately on the Commanders’ radar, and he has also received an interview request from the Chargers. Competition is also in place for Peters.

The latter has received a slip from the Raiders and Chargers, confirming his status as one of the most sought-after executives in this year’s hiring cycle. With multiple teams in pursuit of Peters and Cunningham, it comes as little surprise that the Commanders are choosing to move quickly with respect to choosing between the two. Owner Josh Harris has assembled a selection committee which includes former Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers and ex-Vikings GM Rick Spielman in advisory roles. Second interviews with both Cunningham and Peters are expected to take place shortly, and a hire will be in place before the team turns its attention to a coaching addition.

Cunningham began his front office career with the Ravens, working in the scouting and player personnel departments. That led him to Philadelphia, where he continued to climb the ranks and establish himself as one of the top young minds in the league. After joining the Bears in 2022 in his AGM role, he has continued to receive interest from a number of teams. Another step up the ladder via a Commanders hire would come as little surprise.

Peters has likewise been a top target for several teams recently. The 44-year old began his career in the scouting world, first with the Patriots and then with the Broncos. Since joining San Francisco’s front office in 2017, he has become a key lieutenant of GM John Lynch. Peters was promoted to assistant general manager in 2021, and he has elected to remain in the Bay Area despite overtures from other teams. He turned down the GM positions in Arizona and Tennessee last offseason, and it will interesting to see if he does the same in 2024.

With Harris in place as owner, signficant cap space ahead of free agency and the second overall pick in April’s draft, the Commanders could be an attractive destination for coaching and front office candidates. Both Cunningham and Peters could soon find themselves in a new role, although the runner-up for the Washington gig will still have interest from other teams as the hiring cycle takes shape.

Chargers Request Seven GM Interviews

8:09pm: The Chargers also put in a request to interview another Bears exec. Co-director of player personnel Jeff King will meet with the Bolts, ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry tweets.

The former Panthers and Cardinals tight end has been with the Bears since 2015, being with the team throughout the Ryan Pace regime. Poles moved King, 40, to his current post in 2022. This will be King’s first GM interview; he met with the Panthers about their assistant GM job in 2021.

5:58pm: Add Ian Cunningham to this list. The Bears’ assistant GM also received an interview request from the Chargers, Rapoport tweets. Cunningham joined Brown as an Eagles staffer who became an assistant GM in 2022, becoming Ryan Poles‘ right-hand man. Set to to have an important say in Chicago’s decision on Justin Fields, Cunningham also turned down the Arizona GM job last year.

2:43pm: The Chargers will make a belated push out of the starting blocks on their general manager search. Seeking to fill the role Tom Telesco held for 11 years, the AFC West team has sent out five GM interview requests thus far.

Former Dolphins GM-turned-Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland is among them, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Also included here is Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins. 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters, Giants assistant GM Brandon Brown and Bills VP of player personnel Terrance Gray also received Bolts interview requests, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.

This marks Ireland’s first entrance onto this year’s GM carousel. An Ireland-Sean Payton reunion has been rumored, but after rumblings of embattled Broncos GM George Paton being on the chopping block, it is looking like the Payton-Paton setup will remain in place. This would hinder an Ireland Denver move. Ireland worked with Payton for seven years in New Orleans, helping revive the franchise after a mid-2010s lull.

Given considerable credit for a Saints impact 2017 draft class that included Marshon Lattimore, Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk and Trey Hendrickson, Ireland has been the Saints’ college scouting director since his arrival in 2015. Ireland, 53, is still better known for his Dolphins years. He spent six years as Miami’s GM, but after the team (during Matt Cassel‘s QB1 year in New England) won the 2008 AFC East title, no more playoff appearances commenced. Still, Ireland brings more experience to the table than most on this year’s GM market. He has also interviewed for a few jobs — the Panthers, Lions and Bears — from 2021-22.

Although Jerry and Stephen Jones still make the final calls, McClay has been indispensable for the Cowboys over the past several years. Dallas has continually hit on first-round picks, with fourth-rounder Dak Prescott quickly becoming the franchise’s centerpiece player. McClay, 57, has been with the Cowboys since 2003 and has not been a regular during GM hiring periods. His most recent connection to a GM job came when he turned down a Texans interview request in 2018; it will be interesting to see if McClay agrees to the Chargers meeting.

Peters has received requests from the Commanders and Raiders. It would not be surprising to see every team request a meeting with the 49ers’ assistant GM, given the success the team has achieved during the Kyle ShanahanJohn Lynch years. Gray is on the Raiders’ list as well, with Brown — following his second year as the Giants’ assistant GM — on the Panthers’ radar.

Commanders Send Out Five GM Interview Requests

The Commanders have not yet dismissed Martin Mayhew from his GM post, but that has been expected. Owner Josh Harris will take the unusual step of sending out GM interview requests despite the incumbent still residing on staff.

Not long after firing Ron Rivera, Washington’s new ownership sent out five GM interview requests Monday. The team will attempt to meet with Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham and Browns assistant GM Glenn Cook, according to the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters also received a request, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reports, adding Chiefs assistant GM Mike Borgonzi also garnered one. Eagles assistant GM Alec Halaby did as well, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.

Many staffers listed have been connected to GM vacancies in the past, and have had their names floated as ones to watch in the 2024 hiring cycle. As such, it comes as no surprise that the Commanders will involve them in their transition to a new organizational structure. Former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers as well as former Vikings GM Rick Spielman are in place as advisors for the search process concerning Washington’s’ next head coach and president of football operations.

Cunningham has been a top GM candidate in recent years. He joined the Eagles’ staff after a lengthy tenure with the Ravens before taking his current Bears posting under Ryan Poles last offseason. Cunningham spoke with the Titans about their vacancy in 2023, and he turned down the Cardinals position. He will no doubt be a leading candidate for teams in need of a new GM this year as well.

Like Cunningham, Peters is considered a name to watch. The 2023 campaign marks his third in his current role with San Francisco, as he spent the previous four seasons as the 49ers’ vice president of player personnel. That came after a lengthy stint with the Broncos, making him an experienced option on the GM market. A personal connection could also be in play with respect to the Commanders’ vacancy.

Peters and Myers have a long history with one another, as noted by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. That could explain (to an extent) the latter’s inclusion on Harris’ hand-picked search committee to replace Rivera and, eventually, Mayhew. Likely to be significantly in demand this offseason, Peters will be able to afford to be choosey when electing to remain in the Bay Area or depart for a GM opening. He will interview with Washington this week, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

The Commanders could be an attractive vacancy given Harris’ presence as owner, the team’s signficant cap space heading into free agency and the No. 2 selection in this year’s draft. A rebuild will be required, and the lack of a head coach certainly leaves the franchise with a degree of uncertainty, though. When speaking to the media on Monday, Harris said he intends to have a new head of football operations in place before a HC. The timeline along which a GM will be brought in will be worth watching closely.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

Exec Rumors: Caserio, Peters, Aponte

With Bill Belichick perhaps coaching his last game for the Patriots today, the club could have head coach and general manager vacancies in relatively short order (Belichick, of course, has operated as New England’s de facto GM throughout his tenure). Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post hears that Texans GM Nick Caserio, whose 20-year stint in the Pats’ personnel department earned him the Houston gig, would be open to a return to Foxborough, but Dianna Russini of The Athletic (subscription required) says Caserio does not want to leave the Texans.

Russini points out that Caserio, who squeezed an excellent return from the Browns in the 2022 Deshaun Watson trade and who appears to have hit a home run in drafting quarterback C.J. Stroud and hiring head coach DeMeco Ryans last year, has laid the groundwork for sustained success in Houston and wants to see it through. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine Caserio leaving a young and talented HC-QB pairing for the uncertainty that would await him in New England.

Here are a few more rumors relating to league executives:

  • 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters is once again expected to be a hot name in the upcoming hiring cycle, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes in a subscribers-only piece. Peters turned down GM interview requests from the Cardinals and Titans last year, and it has been rumored for some time that he is the heir apparent to current San Francisco GM John Lynch. Per Fowler, it remains possible that the Niners will simply promote Peters to general manager now that Lynch has been given the additional title of president of football operations.
  • Like Peters, Falcons assistant GM Kyle Smith has been viewed as a future general manager, and as Albert Breer of SI.com notes, Atlanta GM Terry Fontenot promoted Smith to his current role this year partly to dissuade rival clubs from trying to poach him (a team can block an assistant GM from interviewing for anything other than a GM job). While the Falcons have yet to find a long-term answer at quarterback since Fontenot and Smith joined the team, they have injected a great deal of talent into the rest of the roster, and Smith appears poised to generate serious GM interest.
  • We recently heard that the Commanders may wish to add a president of football operations to oversee both their head coach and general manager, and Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post reports that Dawn Aponte‘s name has come up in connection with that role. Aponte, who presently works as the league’s chief administrator of football operations, was mentioned as a potential candidate for the Giants’ GM job in 2022, though she was not interviewed for that post. Aponte has, however, served in high-ranking executive positions for the Jets, Browns, and Dolphins.
  • In another subscribers-only piece, Fowler and Dan Graziano of ESPN.com compiled a list of other top candidates for GM jobs, a list that includes Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz, and Browns assistant GM Catherine Raiche. Cunningham was offered the Cardinals’ GM job last year but turned it down, while Hortiz and Raiche have both taken GM interviews in recent years.

Cardinals Hire Lions’ Dave Sears As Assistant GM

The Cardinals decided to go outside the building when choosing new general manager Monti Ossenfort‘s assistant general manager, hiring Lions director of college scouting Dave Sears, as reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network this morning. The move will be a reunion for Ossenfort and Sears who worked together for the Texans as college scouts.

Sears left Houston for Detroit in 2007 and has been with the Lions ever since working his way up from regional scout to his current role, which he’s held since 2019. Sears has been integral in the team’s draft process, serving as the intermediary between area scouts and the decision-makers of the draft.

Sears will become the No. 2 behind Ossenfort, who was hired as the Cardinals’ general manager earlier this week. The move to bring Ossenfort and Sears in from outside the building is an interesting one considering the Cardinals had two capable candidates for both positions in vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson and vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris, who served together filling the interim duties of general manager during Steve Keim‘s leave of absence.

Both Wilson and Harris interviewed for the open general manager position, and both are more than qualified for the assistant role. If the franchise is adamant on bring in new blood to the front office, it may be spelling the end for Wilson and Harris’s time in Arizona. The team had also interviewed Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham, who reportedly turned down the job after receiving an offer, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports echoes Glazer’s report, saying that Cunningham was Arizona’s first choice and that Cunningham declined the position because the “fit” was not right.

The Cardinals are now set moving forward with Ossenfort and Sears leading in the front office. They currently also still have Wilson and Harris in their current positions creating a strong group of top executives in the player personnel office.

2023 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

So far this offseason, only two NFL presented general manager vacancies. The Cardinals and Titans have now each made their choices. If other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-17-23 (4:27pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Tennessee Titans

Titans Planning Second GM Interviews With Ran Carthon, Ryan Cowden, Ian Cunningham

After Monti Ossenfort landed the Cardinals’ general manager gig, the other top Jon Robinson lieutenant remains in the race for the Titans’ top front office post. Ryan Cowden is one of three confirmed finalists for the job.

Tennessee is planning second interviews with Cowden, 49ers exec Ran Carthon and Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Titans have gone through six GM interviews thus far. Cutting the field in half could well mean this is the finalist contingent to succeed Robinson. Cunningham has already gone through his second interview, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, who notes the meeting occurred Monday (Twitter link).

His ties to Robinson notwithstanding, Cowden’s inclusion as a finalist is unsurprising. The Titans named Cowden as interim GM upon firing Robinson, and he shared personnel responsibilities with Mike Vrabel to close out the season. Cowden has been with the Titans since 2016, coming over from the Panthers shortly after the team hired Robinson, and has received two title bumps during his time with the team.

Cunningham advanced to the finals of the Cardinals’ GM search as well. The Bears exec is believed to have finished second for that position, according to veteran NFL reporter Mike Jurecki (on Twitter). Even that illustrates the progress Cunningham has made over the past year. He was one of four Eagles execs who rose to assistant GM positions in 2022, being the first to see one of those promotions. The Bears hired Cunningham to work as Ryan Poles‘ top lieutenant, and he is currently playing a lead role in the team’s rebuild.

The Titans requested GM interviews with both Carthon and fellow 49ers exec Adam Peters, but the latter declined a meeting. With Peters being viewed as the likelier John Lynch successor among the two, Carthon’s best path toward a GM job likely will be with another organization. Carthon, 41, has been the 49ers’ pro personnel director since Lynch’s 2017 arrival but has held high-ranking roles with two teams. Prior to coming to San Francisco, Carthon served as Rams director of player personnel under Les Snead from 2012-16. The son of former Giants fullback Maurice Carthon, Ran has been an NFL staffer since 2008.

Titans Begin General Manager Search; Eight Execs On Radar

Weeks after their surprising ouster of longtime GM Jon Robinson, the Titans are attempting to line up a host of candidates as potential replacements. Tennessee has sent out eight interview summons — both to in-house and external candidates — for its top front office post.

Appearing on the radar for recent jobs outside the Titans organization, Robinson staffers Ryan Cowden and Monti Ossenfort will be considered for the position. The team will speak with its interim GM (Cowden) and director of player personnel (Ossenfort) soon, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

The Titans have also identified six outside candidates as well, with Rapoport adding the Browns and Bears’ assistant GMs — Glenn Cook and Ian Cunningham, respectively — are on Tennessee’s list. Both made the jump to the second-in-command tier in 2022, with the Browns promoting Cook and the Bears hiring Cunningham from Howie Roseman‘s staff — amid a run on Eagles execs — to pair with Ryan Poles.

With Cowden being named Robinson’s interim replacement and having the chance to pair with Mike Vrabel in overseeing the Titans’ roster, it would seem he has a leg up on Ossenfort. As such, it will be interesting to see if Ossenfort is with the team next season. But the Titans do want to see what the former Patriots exec brings to the table. The Titans hired Ossenfort from the Pats in 2020. Cowden came to Tennessee along with Robinson in 2016, trekking to Nashville after 16 years with Carolina. Both Cowden and Ossenfort have interviewed for other teams’ GM roles. Ossenfort was a Bears finalist last year, while Cowden met twice for the Steelers job.

49ers execs Adam Peters and Ran Carthon are also on the Titans’ list, while Rapoport adds (Twitter links) the team wants to interview Cardinals exec Quentin Harris. Bills senior director of pro personnel Malik Boyd is also on the Titans’ candidate list, Rapoport tweets. Considering the vaults the Bills and 49ers have made, both division champions will run the risk of losing front office talent. Harris, Arizona’s VP of player personnel, has been with the Cardinals for 15 years and is a candidate to become their next GM. The Cards also have Ossenfort, Peters, Carthon and Cunningham on their radar.

The 49ers lost one of their staffers, Martin Mayhew, in 2021, while the Bills lost longtime Brandon Beane right-hand man Joe Schoen last year. Schoen’s Giants success could benefit Boyd, a longtime Cardinals staffer who has been with the Bills since Beane’s arrival in 2017. The 49ers added Peters, John Lynch‘s assistant GM, from the Broncos that same year. Peters interviewed twice for the Giants job that went to Schoen last year and met twice with the Panthers in 2021. An NFL exec since 2008 who has been the 49ers’ pro personnel director since 2017, Carthon has also been on the GM interview circuit previously as well. He met with both the Giants and Steelers last year.

We’ve been working on it for at least four weeks now,” Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk asaid of the GM search. “I’d like to have a GM as soon as possible, but we’re not going to rush the process just to get someone in as quickly as possible. The way we have it planned right now is we have two rounds, and we’re going to see where these interviews take us.”

The Titans fired Robinson midway through his seventh season, doing so despite signing him to an extension less than a year ago. Adams Strunk denied the A.J. Brown trade (and two-touchdown game against his former team) prompted the move, indicating she disapproved of Robinson’s roster construction. The Titans’ recent run of injuries factored in as well. The about-face makes this search more interesting, as does Vrabel’s entrenched presence within the organization.