John Schneider

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

Latest On Seahawks’ QB Situation

Seattle made headlines in early March when they agreed to trade Russell Wilson to the Broncos in exchange for multiple draft picks, quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, and tight end Noah Fant. After losing their starter of the last ten years, the Seahawks are going through the motions now of determining who will be taking snaps from under center when the season starts this fall. 

Through Phase II of their offseason program, returning Seahawk Geno Smith has been taking the first snaps in drills, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Breer still expects Lock to emerge as the starter, in time, once he’s had the opportunity to make up ground as a newcomer to Seattle’s system.

The 31-year-old Smith returned to starting duties this past season for the first time since 2017 and for the first time in multiple games in a season since his sophomore year with the Jets all the way back in 2014. Smith signed with Seattle in 2019, spending two years as Wilson’s backup while only making an appearance in one game. Last season, though, saw Smith relieve Wilson when the latter suffered a finger injury in a Week 5 loss to the Rams.

Smith finished the game for Wilson and, when Wilson was put on injured reserve, Smith started the next three games for the Seahawks. Smith performed admirably in Wilson’s stead, completing 68.4% of his passes for 702 yards while tossing 5 touchdowns to 1 interception. He also added 42 yards and a touchdown on the ground in 9 carries. Even though the team went 1-2 with Smith as a starter, he kept the Seahawks competitive, not only proving that he still has some gas in the tank but showing some of the best football of his career to date.

Lock was a second-round pick for the Broncos back in 2019, a backup option to then-newly acquired starting quarterback Joe Flacco. Lock suffered a preseason thumb injury that landed him on injured reserve, returning to practice in mid-November. Flacco suffered a neck injury that would require surgery and after three games of Brandon Allen, Denver turned to their rookie coming off injured reserve.

Lock took the NFL-world by storm, winning four of the Broncos last five games of the season. In that stretch Lock completed 64.1% of his passes for 1,020 yards, throwing 7 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. Lock took on full-time starting duties in his sophomore season. His completion percentage dropped to 57.34% on the year and his interceptions caught up to his touchdowns as his touchdown-interception ratio read 16-15. In his 13 starts, the Bronco went just 4-9. Last season saw Lock lose the quarterback competition to Teddy Bridgewater. Lock appeared in injury relief in two games before a concussion to Bridgewater in Week 14 handed Lock the keys to the offense for the rest of the season. The Broncos would lose all three of Lock’s starts, in which he would show more of the same from his full season as a starter.

Breer sees Lock emerging as the starting quarterback because of reports from 2019 that general manager John Schneider “really liked Lock coming out” of college, adding that the inclusion of Lock in the trade deal was similar to Jared Goff‘s inclusion in the Matthew Stafford-trade Detroit made last year. Breer also points out that Lock’s offensive coordinator during the best stretch of his young career during that rookie season was Rich Scangarello, who ran a very similar offense to Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.

Behind Smith and Lock is the young Jacob Eason who failed to impress in very limited action with the Colts last year. The job will fall on the shoulders of either Smith or Lock, with Seahawks-fans likely hoping that Lock, the younger of the two, will establish himself as their future at the position.

Latest On Seahawks-Broncos’ Russell Wilson Trade

Although the Broncos have been in need at quarterback for six years, GM George Paton said Seahawks GM John Schneider initiated the Russell Wilson trade talks. A Schneider text to Paton got the ball rolling on the trade at the Senior Bowl, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes.

Schneider expected the Broncos to be interested, and the talks heated up at the Combine. While Denver was also linked to Aaron Rodgers for nearly a year, Paton said Wilson was the team’s No. 1 priority throughout the offseason. The Broncos planned to do “anything it took” to acquire Wilson, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com tweets. The deal sent the Seahawks five draft picks and three players, including quarterback Drew Lock, who as of now figures to factor in prominently in Seattle’s post-Wilson QB plans.

The Seahawks’ official statements, while complimentary of the nine-time Pro Bowler overall, included interesting language. All three indicated the quarterback wanting out catalyzed the trade. Jody Allen‘s statement said Wilson “made it clear” he wanted a change, with the owner’s short message also saying she hopes the next Seahawks squad will be “fully engaged.” (A previous report by The Athletic included select anonymous players accusing Wilson of checking out last season, which seems to conflict with the QB’s quest to return earlier than expected from thumb surgery.) Pete Carroll‘s statement backed Allen’s, as could be expected, and said Wilson “wanted something different.”

Wilson called the separation mutual, and Schneider said Wednesday he did not expect the future Hall of Fame passer to sign another Seahawks extension, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson (on Twitter). Wilson’s 2019 extension expires after the 2023 season, though the Broncos will be expected to re-sign him either this offseason or in 2023.

A conversation with Paton and Wilson’s faith in the Broncos’ roster prompted him to waive his no-trade clause and target Denver as a destination, O’Halloran adds, and Paton said the Broncos’ new quarterback was already en route to Denver when news of Rodgers’ extension surfaced last week. John Elway, who is now a Broncos consultant after 10 years as the team’s GM and one in a different executive role, was one of the few people Paton brought into the loop on the prospective Wilson trade.

In landing the 33-year-old Wilson, the Broncos will presumably have a longer run with this particular trade acquisition than they did with Peyton Manning or would have with Rodgers. Wilson is still planning to play past age 40.

Seahawks To Retain HC Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider; Latest On QB Russell Wilson

Surviving Black Monday does not necessarily mean that a head coach or GM will keep his job (just ask Joe Judge). However, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider will officially be retained for 2022. Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link), Carroll and Schneider recently met with owner Jody Allen, and Allen was apparently convinced that retaining her team’s top power brokers was the best course of action.

In fact, it sounds like Carroll’s and Schneider’s status was never really in doubt. Mortensen added that the meeting was the usual end-of-season review with a look ahead to 2022, and that there was no discussion about job security.

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It was reported in December that Allen had become “very involved” in the Seahawks’ operation — which was a significant departure from her usual approach and that of her predecessor, the late Paul Allen — and that led to plenty of speculation that a major shakeup could be on the way. But from 2012-20, the ‘Hawks failed to post double-digit wins just once under Carroll and Schneider, and Seattle captured its first Lombardi Trophy during that span, coming just a whisper short of another. The club’s disappointing 2021 campaign, which saw quarterback Russell Wilson miss game action for the first time in his career, does not undo all of those accomplishments.

Now, all eyes will turn towards Wilson. The 33-year-old passer also had a little something to do with the Seahawks’ productive run in the 2010s, but trade chatter and rumors about his desire to leave Seattle have swirled for about a year now. Last week, we heard that the ‘Hawks plan to retain Wilson, and Mortensen’s above-referenced tweet said that “all systems are go” with respect to the QB, though the team wouldn’t say anything different at this point and risk losing leverage in trade talks.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported this morning that Wilson wants to at least “explore his options.” He has not demanded a trade, and he may not make such a demand, but he wants to see if another club might offer him opportunities that the Seahawks cannot. Last February, of course, his agent told the club that Wilson would waive his no-trade clause if he were to be dealt to the Cowboys, Bears, Raiders, and Saints, and in December, a report surfaced indicating that Wilson would approve a trade to the Broncos, Giants, or Saints.

Interestingly, when Carroll left his meeting with Allen, he appeared to acknowledge that a Wilson trade was a possibility. “Whatever is there, we got to exhaust every opportunity for our club and right from the owner, she wants us to take a look at every single opportunity to better the franchise,” he said. “That’s what we do. It’s going to take us some time to put it all together and we have a lot of difficult decisions to make this year.”

Carroll followed that statement, however, by saying, “I love this team. We’ve got the nucleus of a championship right here and we’re going to try to keep that together.”

In other words, Wilson’s future with the Seahawks will, as expected, be one of the top storylines of the offseason.

2021 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

This year’s NFL GM carousel figures to be more active than usual. The Falcons, Lions, Panthers, Texans, and Jaguars are all on the hunt for a new front office leader. And that’s only the official list. The real tally shows six clubs looking for a GM, since the Washington Football Team is expected to install a GM to work alongside head coach Ron Rivera. By mid-January, we could easily see a couple more jobs opening up — that’d put ~25% of the NFL on the market.

We’ll keep track of the GM candidates for each club here, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make general manager changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here’s the current breakdown:

Updated 1-19-21 (7:02pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers 

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Football Team

Seahawks Extend GM John Schneider Through 2027

The Seahawks locked up Pete Carroll with a long-term contract back in November, and now they’re doing the same with their front office head. The team has extended GM John Schneider, they announced Tuesday.

Schneider’s new deal will run all the way through the 2027 season, while Carroll’s is up after 2025. We had heard back on January 3rd that the Lions were planning on making a run at luring Schneider away to be their GM, as he only had one year left on his contract at the time. Needless to say, that won’t be happening. Schneider just wrapped up his 11th season as GM of the Seahawks, and he’s obviously had a very successful run.

He helped deliver Super Bowl XLVIII to the team, and of course hit the lottery by drafting Russell Wilson in the third-round. He also helped assemble the legendary ‘Legion of Boom’ defenses led by stars like Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, and Earl Thomas.

Carroll was hired before Schneider back in 2010, and has a great deal of influence in the personnel makeup of the team as well. Carroll is believed to have final say over the roster, which has led to some speculation that another team could try to poach Schneider away with the offer of more power. Clearly that isn’t in the cards anytime soon.

Lions To Pursue Seahawks GM John Schneider

The Lions are leaving no stone unturned in their search for a new GM. In addition to three in-house candidates and myriad external options, including a few high-profile targets, the club is expected to make a run at Seahawks GM John Schneider, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.

Schneider has long been considered one of the best executives in the game, and he and Pete Carroll have forged a remarkably productive GM-HC tandem since they came to Seattle in 2010. Under their leadership, the ‘Hawks have compiled a 111-63-1 record, five division titles, two NFC championships, and a Super Bowl.

But Carroll, not Schneider, has final authority over all personnel decisions. That means that a club like the Lions could interview Schneider if it offers him full control (though as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes, it may not be quite that simple, and Detroit may need to send compensation to Seattle if it wants to hire Schneider away). Plus, while Carroll signed a long-term extension several months ago that will run through the 2025 campaign, Schneider is only under contract through the 2022 draft, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. Rapoport says that, in addition to Detroit, Schneider is expected to get a call from at least one other team,

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the Lions would also be interested in Steelers GM Kevin Colbert. Colbert has gone year-to-year with Pittsburgh for awhile, but that’s because he wants to leave open the possibility of retirement. He plans to be back with Pittsburgh in 2021, so it looks like another one-year pact is on the horizon.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton, who has been a fixture on the GM rumor mill in recent years, is also on the Lions’ radar, per Rapoport, and there is a new and interesting connection between Minnesota and Detroit. Paton’s boss, Rick Spielman, is the brother of new Detroit exec Chris Spielman, who is expected to have an integral role in the Lions’ search process.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  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. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

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. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Extra Points: Kaepernick, Raiders, Greg Little, Cardinals

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were deposed in the collusion grievance filed by Colin Kaepernick this week, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

Expanding on the subject, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio recounts that the “Seahawks were planning to bring in the quarterback for a workout, but the team canceled the session when Kaepernick declined to commit to stand for the national anthem.” 

Despite the case, Carroll has not closed the door on the former 49ers quarterback joining the team. As Florio writes, however, “It would be awkward, to say the least, for Kaepernick to sign with Seattle after his lawyers questioned Schneider and Carroll under oath…”

Seattle is still the only team to have brought Kaepernick in for a visit since hitting free agency after the 2016 season. This long saga still appears to be far from a conclusion.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Earlier this week, the Raiders signed longtime Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson to a one-year deal. The details of that contract came out today, with the 13-year pro set to make $1.5MM. The contract includes a $200,000 signing bonus and $500,000 total guaranteed. With incentives, the deal could top out at $2.25MM, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets.
  • Former Browns receiver Greg Little appeared at the Cardinals rookie minicamp, Kyle Odegard of azcardinals.com writes. Little, who hasn’t played a game since the 2014 season, was a promising second-round pick who flamed out after three seasons. The Cardinals offered the 28-year-old wideout a tryout this weekend and impressed new head coach Steve Wilks.
  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano took a crack at projecting the next big-money quarterbacks. To no one’s surprise, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the list in 2020, but the sides are expected to come to a deal before that time. Among the other signal-callers who could surpass Kirk Cousins‘ big deal are Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Brockers, Lions, Dunlap

After much speculation, Cowboys defender Byron Jones confirmed on Monday that he will be switching from safety to cornerback in 2018, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota writes.

Viewed as a versatile defender coming out of college, Jones played cornerback as a rookie in 2015 and a safety the past two seasons. New defensive backs coach Kris Richard preferred him at the former.

“I think it will be a good move for me and the team. I’m always open to making position changes, as long as I’m in the best position to succeed. If [Richard] believes my best position is corner, then I’m down.”

Richard knows a thing or two about getting the best from bigger cornerbacks. With the Seahawks, Richard oversaw Richard Sherman’s ascent to one of the premier corners in the league. What remains to be seen is if the team prefers him on the boundary or in the slot. In 2017, rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis showed plenty of promise on the outside.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • In a press conference on Monday, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers told reporters he tore his MCL in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons in January, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. During that game, the sixth-year defender sat out the second half. The good news for Los Angeles is that Brockers took part in team activities on Monday, but they’re not in pads until training camp.
  • If any Lions players are moved in draft-day deals, some of the names that make sense include Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Jake Rudock, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. Those names all come to mind after the team added veterans in LeGarrette Blount and Matt Cassel in the offseason.
  • The goal is for the Bengals to sign both Carlos Dunlap and get a new deal with Geno AtkinsBengals.com writer Geoff Hobson notes in a mailbag. Both Dunlap’s and Atkins’ deals run through the 2018 campaign.
  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to be deposed in the next two weeks in Colin Kaeperncik‘s collusion case against the league, USA Today’s A.J. Perez writes. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are also on the docket to be deposed.