Mickey Loomis

South Notes: Saints, Darnold, Colts

Links between Patrick Mahomes and other teams have emerged in the past. The Cardinals were preparing to draft the eventual Chiefs megastar five years ago. Sean Payton also confirmed the rumored story of his old team’s plans with the then-Texas Tech prospect. During his latest FOX appearance (h/t NFL.com’s Peter Schrager), the former Saints coach said he was prepared to draft Mahomes at No. 11 in 2017. While Payton confirmed he discussed the selection with Drew Brees and informed the future Hall of Famer a Mahomes pick would not impact his starter status, the Saints also viewed Marshon Lattimore as a top-four player in the 2017 class.

Payton said in 2020 the team did not have a clear choice between Lattimore and Mahomes, though then-Kansas City GM John Dorsey made New Orleans’ decision easier with the trade-up for the quarterback. Payton said this week Mahomes was “the best quarterback I’d ever seen on college tape.” The Saints had worked out Mahomes in Lubbock that year. Hindsight would suggest the Saints needed to be ready to climb into the top 10 for such a talent, but Mahomes was not viewed as a surefire top-10 pick that year. GM Mickey Loomis also said Lattimore falling impacted the team’s decision not to trade up for Mahomes. Both Mahomes and Lattimore are now signed to long-term contracts, though the former’s prime should be expected to last longer.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • The NFL’s longest-tenured general manager, excluding those with owner-GM or coach-GM roles, Loomis has seen fellow Saints cornerstones Payton and Brees depart in the past two offseasons. But the 21st-year Saints front office boss is not planning to join them in leaving anytime soon, via Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com. When the acclaimed salary cap guru does walk away, Jeff Ireland looms as a logical successor. The former Dolphins GM is well-regarded by Loomis and others in the organization, Duncan adds. Ireland, 52, was the Dolphins’ GM from 2008-13. Currently the Saints’ assistant GM, Ireland has been with the team since 2015. The Bears interviewed Ireland for their GM post this offseason, while the Lions and Panthers met with him in 2021. It will be interesting to see if Ireland sticks around to potentially succeed Loomis or land a GM gig elsewhere before the New Orleans GM exits.
  • After a strained 2021 between Michael Thomas and the Saints, first-year HC Dennis Allen made connecting with the wide receiver one of his first acts upon being promoted. Allen flew to Los Angeles to have dinner with Thomas early this offseason, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com notes. Despite Thomas’ injury-plagued 2020s and the Saints’ frustration with their top wideout regarding his 2021 surgery timetable — a process that led to the All-Pro missing a full season — the team vowed not to trade him early this offseason. Thomas, 29, has returned healthy and caught two touchdown passes in the Saints’ Week 1 comeback win over the Falcons.
  • Potentially the Colts‘ left tackle of the future, Bernhard Raimann backed up Matt Pryor in Week 1. But the Colts used the third-round rookie in a rotation with Pryor. After Raimann played 12 of the five-period game’s 90 left tackle snaps, Frank Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson) he plans to continue rotating his backup in going forward. Left tackle represented the only position at which the Colts deployed a rotation, beginning a path to Raimann seizing this job full-time. The Colts re-signed Pryor on a one-year, $5.55MM deal this offseason, and Erickson offers the 2021 Colts swingman — who has never been a full-time left tackle — could be an option at right guard, should Raimann take over the blindside.
  • Sam Darnold is making progress toward a return. The Panthers backup has shed his walking boot, per The Athletic’s Joe Person (on Twitter). On IR due to a high ankle sprain, Darnold will miss at least the season’s first four weeks.

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


  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

Saints Have Stake In Payton’s Future

When Saints’ former head coach Sean Payton retired, he left the door open for a return. Although he made it clear that he has no intention of coaching during the 2022 NFL season, Payton didn’t rule out a return later on. 

“My plans are not to be coaching in 2022,” Payton said. “I still have a vision for doing things in football and, I’ll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point.”

Because Payton is under contract with the Saints through the 2024 NFL season, this “mini-retirement” means that whichever team wants to sign him for the 2023 season will have to negotiate with the Saints to do so. Even though Payton told radio personality Dan Patrick that he heard two teams reached out through back channels, those channels never reached Saints’ general manager Mickey Loomis, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. This means that whatever the level of interest those two teams had, it didn’t rise to the point where they were ready to talk compensation.

Mortensen goes on to explain that, should another team reach out to see what it would take to sign Payton, New Orleans has their compensation chart ready on hand. The chart would be based on past similar transactions setting an estimated value through precedent.

The most recent example would be when the Buccaneers pulled Bruce Arians out of his recent retirement from coaching the Cardinals three seasons ago. This is a precedent the Saints’ would stray away from as Arians lack of success in Arizona led to the Cardinals essentially nudging him into retirement. When the deal was made to send Arians to Tampa Bay, the Cardinals received a sixth-round pick and gave the Buccaneers Arians and a seventh-round pick.

Payton is currently considered in much higher demand than Arians was at the time. Mortensen laid out three past transactions that he considers a little more on par with Payton’s current value. The most pricey example was about 20-years ago when the Buccaneers gave the Raiders two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8MM cash in exchange for Jon Gruden, who lead his new team to a Super Bowl victory over his old team. The Gruden deal differs a bit from the Arians deal because Gruden wasn’t thinking of retiring and there was really no threat to his job. Raiders’ owner and general manager Al Davis had some questions over Gruden’s value, but there was never talk that his job was in jeopardy.

Another similar deal came back in 1997, when Bill Parcells decided he didn’t want to coach for the Patriots anymore. Parcells’ contract restricted him from coaching anywhere else, so the Jets attempted to circumvent the restriction by hiring a key Parcells’ assistant, Bill Belichick, as their head coach and hiring Parcells as an “advisor.” After the Patriots threatened legal action, the commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, helped the two sides come to an agreement wherein the Patriots would send Parcells to the Jets in exchange for a first-, second-, third-, and fourth-round pick (spread over the following three years). Even though this deal doesn’t include any “mini-retirements,” it follows the current situation a little more closely than the Gruden deal.

Belichick’s return to New England had a very similar ring to his arrival in New York. After the Jets arranged for Belichick to succeed Parcells as head coach, Belichick went to his press conference and, instead of introducing himself as the new head coach, he introduce his resignation from the franchise. The Patriots soon requested permission to interview Belichick to replace Pete Carroll, but the Jets pulled the reverse card and demanded compensation, as Belichick was still under contract. Tagliabue stepped in, once more, and the Patriots sent New York a first-round pick in exchange for the coaching rights of Belichick.

All these examples, despite their different situations, provide a basis for the Saints to use in determining what they think they are due when another team inevitably comes calling. As a Super Bowl champion and long-tenured head coach, Payton is sure to fetch quite a price for whichever team decides to hire him.

Saints GM: Brees’ Playing Future Is Up To Him

Most believe that Saints quarterback and slam-dunk HOFer Drew Brees will retire at season’s end. New Orleans has prepared for just such a scenario, as it agreed to an extension with Taysom Hill this offseason to keep Hill under club control through 2021.

However, GM Mickey Loomis said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio that no decisions have been made one way or another with respect to Brees’ future (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). Loomis added that, if Brees wants to return, the Saints will welcome him back.

“We give him his space, we give him time at the end of the season to determine that, and we’ll see what happens next year,” Loomis said. “I’m not counting him out. It’s going to be entirely up to him.”

If the Saints, who have dealt with heartbreaking playoff exits over the past couple of seasons, are able to capture the Lombardi Trophy this year, it would certainly be a surprise to see Brees come back. After all, he has already signed a deal with NBC Sports, and his transition to the broadcast booth is expected to be a seamless one. But if New Orleans should suffer another difficult defeat, perhaps the soon-to-be 42-year-old will try one last time for a second championship ring. Like Hill, he is under contract through 2021.

Brees has clearly lost some arm strength, but he continued to play at a high level in 2020, even though he and star wideout Michael Thomas were only on the field together in three games. Brees once again completed over 70% of his passes and threw for 24 TDs against just six interceptions en route to a 106.4 quarterback rating. He missed just four games despite suffering 11 fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, and he will lead his troops against the Bears on Sunday afternoon, a matchup in which the Saints are heavily favored.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Saints

While previous reports have indicated the Buccaneers plan to retain Gerald McCoy, the veteran defensive tackle may actually not be safe, especially given head coach Bruce Arians‘ most recent comments to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago,” Arians said. “But he’s still pretty disruptive. He’s still a good player….I got to evaluate him. I mean, guys at a certain age, it’s different. Usually, the age they get paid the most and production (doesn’t) match. We’ve got to find that out.” McCoy, 31, ranked fourth among defensive tackles with 21 quarterback hits in 2018 and finished as the NFL’s No. 28 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus. He’s signed through 2021, but Tampa Bay won’t incur any dead money by releasing McCoy (and would save $13MM against the cap).

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • The Buccaneers had interest in edge rusher Brandon Copeland before he re-signed with the Jets, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. Tampa Bay ranked 28th in the NFL with 31 sacks a season ago, so the club can certainly use some extra help in getting pressure. However, the Bucs have already signed Shaquil Barrett to a one-year deal, so Copeland could have been viewed as redundant. Copeland. who also drew interest from New England, Washington, and Detroit, only landed one year and $1.25MM from New York, so Tampa Bay could have probably outbid Gang Green if it had serious interest.
  • Franchise-tagged defensive tackle Grady Jarrett will be a “Falcon for life,” team owner Arthur Blank told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Atlanta will control Jarrett through at least the 2019 campaign after franchising him, but that will come at a heavy cost: $15.209MM, a figure that makes Jarrett the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid interior defender. Jarrett, who has started 44 games over the past three years, will likely target an average annual value closer to Fletcher Cox‘s $17.1MM and a full guarantee package in excess of $50MM. Atlanta currently has less than $5MM in available cap space; an extension for Jarrett would lower his 2019 cap charge and increase the Falcons’ available funds.
  • Saints general manager Mickey Loomis will no longer be involved in running the NBA’s Pelicans, reports Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com (Twitter link). Loomis, who’s been the Saints’ GM since 2002, took over as the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations in 2012. However, there was reportedly some concern within the Saints’ franchise that Loomis was being “spread too thin,” according to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. The Pelicans are in the process of hiring a new GM, one who will report directly to Saints/Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.
  • Nick Easton‘s four-year deal with the Saints is worth $22.5MM but contains only $4MM in guaranteed money, tweets Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune, who adds Easton received a $2MM signing bonus. As Mike Triplett of ESPN.com suggests (via Twitter), Easton’s deal is essentially a one-year deal with a series of options in 2020 ($5MM), 2021 ($6MM), and 2022 ($7.5MM).

NFC Notes: Redskins, Cowboys, Lions, Saints

Earlier this week, the Redskins promoted Matt Cavanaugh from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Despite Kirk Cousinsquestionable future with the team, the quarterback was happy that the organization valued continuity on the coaching staff.

“I love the fact that we’re not starting over,” Cousins said (via Jake Kring-Schreifels of Redskins.com). “We’ve learned a certain way of doing things for a couple of years now and with Coach Cav as the coordinator, we’ll be able to keep that rolling, as opposed to having to start all over with a brand new system and terminology and philosophy.”

Cavanaugh had served as the Redskins quarterbacks coach since 2015, and he played an important role in helping Cousins’ production over the past two seasons.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the NFC…

  • The Cowboys recently exercised the fifth-year option on offensive guard Zack Martin, but both sides are hoping the player’s tenure with the team lasts beyond 2017. Jon Machota of the Dallas News writes that the team is hoping to hammer out a long-term deal with the three-time Pro Bowler, and the 26-year-old echoed that sentiment. “It would be huge,” Martin said. “I’m not real worried about that. I’m worried about playing. Obviously I’ll be here for hopefully a long time. These guys make it fun to come to work every day…Hopefully we can get something done.”
  • The Lions need some talent on the defensive side of the ball, and ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein believes the team can acquire those types of players via free agency. The writer lists a number of impending free agents who could be intriguing fits for the Lions, including Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan, Rams cornerback T.J. McDonald, Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard, Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones, and Jaguars running back Denard Robinson.
  • Lions defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker missed out on a $150K playing time bonus by only seven snaps, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The five-year veteran was required to play 35-percent of his team’s defensive snaps in order to earn the incentive, but he ended the season having played 34.4-percent of the defense’s snaps. Walker was a healthy scratch during his team’s Week 11 win over the Jaguars, and that decision surely cost the defensive tackle his bonus.
  • Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has a history of trading up in the draft, but the executive told Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com that he doesn’t have a definitive process when it comes to their draft strategy. “I think it depends on how the board falls,” he said. “You just kind of have to pay attention to the players that are still available for you and what players are below them and how are you going to acquire those players.” The Saints traded up twice in last year’s draft to select second-round safety Vonn Bell and fourth-round defensive tackle David Onyemata.

Rams To Pursue Sean Payton Trade

Saints head coach Sean Payton reportedly has “sincere interest” in the Rams’ vacancy, and it appears the feeling is mutual. Los Angeles is likely to ask the Saints for their permission to speak with Payton during the upcoming week, reports Larry Holder of NOLA.com. Now, having just completed their third straight 7-9 season, the Saints would be open to trading Payton, a source told Holder.

Sean Payton

If Saints general manager Mickey Loomis does deal Payton, it’s doubtful he’d seek a significant return. The Tom Benson-owned franchise would instead be content with freeing up the $40MM remaining on Payton’s contract. New Orleans hasn’t gotten bang for its buck from Payton lately, as it has missed the playoffs in four of the past five seasons.

Despite the Saints’ recent struggles, Payton’s tenure in the Big Easy has been a resounding success. The 53-year-old has led the team to a 94-65 record and five playoff berths in 10 seasons, and the crowning achievement during his run with the Saints is their Super Bowl victory to cap off the 2009 campaign. Of course, Payton also missed the 2012 season – in which New Orleans went 7-9 – after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for his role in the Bountygate scandal.

Going forward, Payton’s commitment to the Saints is clearly up in the air. The offensive guru refused to provide any useful answers Sunday to reporters who asked him about status, instead replying, “Next question.” He also met with Loomis after the Saints’ season-ending loss to the Falcons to discuss his future, according to Holder. It now seems that future could be in Los Angeles, which would represent a homecoming for the California native.


Saints GM Talks Brees, Payton, Roster Depth

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis spoke today to reporters, including Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, about a number of issues related to the team, including the status of the head coach and quarterback. Let’s dive right in and round up several of the more notable quotes from the GM, via Woodbery….Mickey Loomis

On Drew Brees and how his $30MM cap number will affect the Saints:

“I know this: Drew’s going to be our quarterback. We’ll figure out how we’re going to handle the contract, whether it stays the same and just remains right in place, or whether we do something different. That’s all part of what we’ve got to figure out in the coming weeks.

On the team’s more general cap situation:

“I keep reading how we’re in dire straits with the cap and this, that and the other. It’s not a great cap situations, but it’s not as dire as sometimes I think it’s painted out to be. We know where we’re at, we know what we have to do.”

On the possibility that Sean Payton was going to leave the team this offseason:

“Here’s what I can tell you: I never had a discussion with another team. No one called me and I never called anyone else.

“[Payton’s] first statement when he walked in the room [for the end-of-season meeting] was, ‘Hey, I want to be here. I want to be coach for the Saints.’ It never really went beyond that. Then it was just a matter of how are we going to approach this season, what are the things we need to do, and let’s get going.”

On free agent signings or contract extensions that go south, and the Saints’ depth issues:

“Are there mistakes? Yeah, absolutely there are. We always own them. We’re not shying away from a decision that I’ve made or that we’ve made that didn’t turn out. We also don’t trumpet the ones that do work out, either. That’s up to you guys.

“You know what makes it hard to build depth? Having two draft picks taken away from you [for Bountygate]. That makes it hard. I’d say that’s more impactful than making a mistake on a contract.”

On how long and hard he considered the big Junior Galette extension in 2014:

“Not hard enough. I should have thought harder about that. That’s my mistake.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Sean Payton, Saints

The meeting between coach Sean Payton and Saints GM Mickey Loomis has concluded, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter links). It’s believed that the meeting went on for a long time because the two sides were discussing compensation at length. Payton’s status is still in limbo, Rapoport adds, it may not be decided tonight. Sean Payton (vertical)

[RELATED: Check out PFR’s 2016 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker]

It is no sure thing that Payton will leave the Saints, but if Loomis wants to keep Payton happy, the GM may need to “change certain things,” according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. Payton, of course, led the Saints to a Super Bowl title and an 86-52 overall record, but their partnership could be coming to an end. Payton appears to be unhappy about at least a few things in New Orleans and he is a hot name in regards to other coaching vacancies around the NFL. If the Saints decide to part ways with Payton, they can probably pick up some significant compensation in a trade.

For his part, Payton is reportedly be interested in the Giants vacancy and clubs like the 49ers and the Eagles have interest. He has been connected to the Dolphins for a long time but that reportedly will not be his landing spot if he parts ways with New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis To Meet Monday

Citing Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Katherine Terrell of the Times-Picayune writes that Saints head coach Sean Payton is set to meet with GM Mickey Loomis tomorrow to discuss Payton’s future with the club. Rumors as to whether 2015 could be Payton’s last season in New Orleans have been gaining traction in recent weeks, and Glazer’s report will only add to that speculation. Glazer adds that it is no sure thing that Payton will leave the Saints, but if Loomis wants to keep Payton happy, the GM may need to “change certain things,” though Glazer does not indicate what those changes might entail.

Meanwhile, Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune, citing ESPN’s Adam Schefter, tweets that if the Saints can work out compensation details with another NFL club, Payton could be on his way out of New Orleans. That report in and of itself is not news, of course, but given that it was made at the same time Payton’s impending meeting with Loomis was reported, it is very easy to connect the dots and to predict that the Saints will try to trade the head coach that led them to a Super Bowl title and an 86-52 overall record. We detailed the logistics of such a trade back in November, though Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Fritz Pollard Alliance will take it up with the league if a team trades for a head coach without what the Alliance believes is a fair interview process for minority candidates.

Given the demand for Payton’s services, it is difficult to guess as to where he might land if he is traded, or what type of compensation the Saints might receive in return. However, Rapoport tweets that Payton would be interested in the 49ers’ job–assuming it become available–and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that Payton would also have interest in the impending Giants opening, though it is unclear whether Big Blue would consider trading for a head coach.