Omar Khan

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 Diontae Johnson’s Contract Status

With the record-setting extension for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick having officially been taken care of, the next major financial task to attend to for the Steelers is a second contract for wideout Diontae Johnson. As detailed by Mark Kaboly of the Athletic (subscription required), Pittsburgh will not deviate from their established procedures to get a deal done. 

[RELATED: Steelers Yet To Offer Extension To Johnson]

As Kaboly writes, Fitzpatrick was, understandably, deemed a higher priority for the team’s front office. New general manager Omar Khan demonstrated his willingness to make a sizeable financial commitment to the two-time All-Pro, but the same may not be true to the same extent in Johnson’s case.

Waiting until this period of the offseason is in line with standard financial planning for the Steelers, so it should come as little surprise that extension talks “will start soon,” per Kaboly. He is quick to add, however, that the team “won’t deviate much” from their internal valuation of Johnson once serious negotiations begin.

The former third-rounder has established himself as the Steelers’ top pass-catcher, increasing his production during each of his three seasons in the league. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in 2021, which led to his first Pro Bowl invite. That makes him the latest in a long line of Pittsburgh wideouts who have earned lucrative second contracts, but it remains to be seen if his will come from the Steelers, as few have in years past.

After JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington left in free agency this offseason, the team added George Pickens and Calvin Austin III in the draft. Johnson will stay atop the depth chart into 2022, but new faces in the front office could lead to a lower-valued contract offer than Johnson may presently expect.

The 25-year-old could seek, as other high-profile 2019 draftees have already, a deal which eclipses the $20MM-per-year mark; the skyrocketing WR market has seen the number of players earning that figure rise to 11. Kaboly posits that Johnson could be assured of an extension if he aims for the $16-18MM range, placing him one tier below the top wideouts.

With plenty of time still remaining between now and the start of the season – which is already known as the unofficial deadline for a deal to be worked out – this situation becoming the central focus for Pittsburgh should make it the top story to follow in the short-term.

AFC North Notes: Conklin, Hunt, Steelers

Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin missed quite a bit of time during his second year in Cleveland, seeing two separate trips to the injured reserve. He spent three weeks on injured reserve after an elbow injury sidelined him in early November. In his first game back from injury, Conklin tore his patellar tendon and promptly returned to injured reserve for the rest of the season.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, Conklin’s recovery is coming along quite well. While he remains off the field in OTAs, rehabbing on his own, and likely will be held off the field in mandatory minicamp, as well, Conklin is expected to be ready to practice at the start of training camp. He will likely be limited as camp opens up, but Conklin is expected to be ready to start once the Browns roll into Charlotte this September to open their season.

Here are a few more notes out of the AFC North, starting with another note from The Land:

  • The Browns have a fairly full running backs room. Nick Chubb is the premier back with D’Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton serving complimentary roles and fifth-round draft pick Jerome Ford joining John Kelly in reserve roles for the position. Despite the wealth of potential contributors and the lack of certainty concerning his future going into a contract year, Kareem Hunt is viewed a valuable member of the Browns’ offense going into the season. According to Mary Kay Cabot, Hunt “is still very much in the Browns’ plans for this season” with no ideas of dealing or releasing the 26-year-old due to a lack of substantive extension discussions.
  • Omar Khan was recently promoted to the role of general manager of the Steelers. He doesn’t have a strong background in personnel, but is well-versed on the way Pittsburgh operates. It appears that Khan had a plan in place to address that weaker section of his resume. According to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, Khan pushed for his hiring to be a sort of package deal including his good friend Andy Weidl, who served previously as the vice president of player personnel for the Eagles. Bringing in Weidl and pairing him with director of pro scouting Sheldon White, who has extensive league experience in player personnel, creates a strong trio of executives to start a new era in the Steel City.

NFL Staff Notes: Steelers, Browns, Broncos, Bears, Panthers, Buccaneers

The Steelers recently promoted former vice president of football & business administration Omar Khan to replace former general manager Kevin Colbert. We also knew that Khan was bringing in Eagles former vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl and Commanders former college scout Sheldon White. We now know that Weidl will serve as assistant general manager and White will be in the role of director of pro scouting.

Additionally, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, Khan has promoted existing staffer Dan Colbert, the son of the former general manager. The younger Colbert had served as a veteran college and pro scout and will now be elevated to a senior-level position.

Pryor also provides an additional note that Khan will continue the Steelers’ player personnel tradition of not conducting contract negotiations during the NFL season.

Here are a few other staff hires from around the NFL, starting with another hire in the AFC North:

  • The Browns have also made an addition to the player personnel staff, according to Neil Stratton of Inside the League. Cleveland will bring in Eagles scout Shawn Heinlen. Heinlen was assigned by Philadelphia to cover the Southwest area for the last four seasons and is expected to play a similar role in Cleveland. Before his time with the Eagles, Heinlen spent 16 years in Buffalo.
  • Denver announced some title changes to existing staff in their scouting department. 16-year Broncos staffer Eugene Armstrong will go from Southwest area scout to covering the Southeast area in his 17th season in Denver. Area scout Deon Randall will change areas, too, going from the Northeast area to the Southwest area in his sixth season with the Broncos. Chaz McKenzie spent last season as a Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellow for the Broncos and will take over for Randall as the Northeast area scout.
  • The Bears are adding a former NFL player and scout in Reese Hicks, according the Stratton of Inside the League. After playing offensive line for the Texans, Bengals, Broncos, and Chargers, Hicks branched out into the scouting world. He has spent the last three seasons as a pro scout for the Falcons. Hicks will serve as the Bears West Coast area scout.
  • Carolina is also adding a former NFL player, hiring Michael Coe to become their New England area scout, according to Stratton once again. Coe spent seven seasons in the NFL as a cornerback for the Cowboys, Jaguars, Dolphins, Giants, and Colts. Since his time in the NFL, Coe has worked in the role of Director of Football Operations for the Senior Bowl.
  • According to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Tampa Bay has added two new scouting assistants. Emmett Clifford is joining the Buccaneers after spending the last two years as a film analyst in Cleveland. The other new scouting assistant, Korey Finnie, was last a student manager and assistant with Tulane football.

Steelers Expected To Promote Omar Khan To General Manager

After a thorough search, the Steelers look to have a general manager. The lengthy process that included more than a dozen executives from around the league is expected to include with an in-house staffer, with ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reporting (via Twitter) Omar Khan will be the next Steelers GM.

Khan, who was on the cusp of being the Texans’ GM last year, was one of the first names mentioned when Kevin Colbert announced he would step down after the draft. One of the six execs to receive second interviews for this position, Khan is set to rise to the top of Pittsburgh’s front office.

Shortly after the news of Andy Weidl becoming the Steelers’ assistant GM emerged, veteran NFL reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala pointed to a Khan hire. The Steelers will team two of their GM finalists together to head up their post-Colbert front office. While this represents a major change for the Steelers, given Colbert’s 21-plus-year tenure with the franchise, they are going with continuity.

Khan, who worked as the team’s vice president of football and business administration for the past six-plus years, has been with the franchise since 2001. Khan and Weidl’s Steelers tenures did not overlap, with Weidl wrapping his late-1990s internship before Khan’s arrival. But teaming a Pittsburgh native with a 21-year staffer goes heavy in the familiarity direction.

The 45-year-old exec was on board for the Steelers’ three Super Bowl trips from 2005-10 and has played an integral role in managing the team’s salary cap. He worked in his previous position since 2016. The longtime Steelers exec generated interest from other teams in recent offseasons, but he will end up leading the franchise he knows best.

Houston was believed to be negotiating a deal to name Khan as its GM last year, but the franchise backtracked late in the process and hired longtime target Nick Caserio. Khan also interviewed for the Panthers’ GM post in 2021, meeting with Carolina brass twice for the role. That job ended up going to ex-Seahawks exec Scott Fitterer. This year, Khan met with the Bears about their GM vacancy; they hired former Chiefs staffer Ryan Poles.

Colbert presided over the team’s Ben Roethlisberger era, the second-most successful period in franchise history. After becoming one of Colbert’s top lieutenants, Khan will be paired with 16th-year HC Mike Tomlin in attempting to keep the team on the contender tier. The Steelers operated intently at quarterback in the draft, selecting their preferred passer (Pitt’s Kenny Pickett) 20th overall — two rounds before the rest of this year’s top QB prospects came off the board. Pickett and free agency addition Mitchell Trubisky will vie to be the team’s Week 1 starter, but the Khan era will be tied to Pickett in its early years.

Steelers To Hire Eagles’ Andy Weidl As Assistant GM

One of the many executives to interview for the Steelers’ general manager post, Andy Weidl will trek to Pittsburgh for a different position. The Steelers are naming the Eagles exec their new assistant GM, according to veteran NFL reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala (on Twitter).

Weidl, a Pittsburgh native who was one of six execs to receive second interviews with the Steelers, will come across Pennsylvania after an offseason of Eagles front office turnover. The Eagles fired Andy Weidl’s brother, Casey, from his scouting director position amid their run of changes under Howie Roseman.

[RELATED: Steelers Conclude GM Interviews]

The Steelers have not named Kevin Colbert‘s successor yet, but Kinkhabwala offers their Andy Weidl hire points to an Omar Khan promotion. The longtime Steelers exec joined Brandon Hunt as the lone in-house staffers to receive second interviews for the GM position. Andy Weidl first interviewed for the Steelers’ GM gig in February and met with the team again this month.

Weidl spent six-plus years with the Eagles but has more than two decades of NFL scouting experience. He ended his Philadelphia tenure as the team’s vice president of player personnel. This will mark another position Roseman must replace; that list has steadily expanded throughout the offseason.

In addition to hailing from Pittsburgh, Weidl has Steelers experience — albeit more than 20 years ago. He interned with the Steelers in the late 1990s during Tom Donahoe‘s atop the front office. Weidl then began his full-time career working with the Saints and Ravens, jumping to the Eagles in 2016. Weidl and Donahoe reunited with the Eagles, but Donahoe and the team parted ways shortly after the draft. Donahoe was one of many high-ranking Eagles execs to leave Philly this offseason, joining Ian Cunningham, Catherine Raiche and Brandon Brown. All three young execs are now assistant GMs elsewhere.

Latest On Steelers’ GM Search

The Steelers have undergone a meticulous search to find outgoing general manager Kevin Colbert‘s replacement. The list of preferred candidates has reportedly been finalized.

Pittsburgh has concluded their interviews for the position, per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The team initially met with 16 executives representing a noteworthy cross-section of internal and external personnel. That list was then narrowed down to six candidates, each of whom received a second look.

Included among the finalists are Brandon Hunt and Omar Khan. The former has worked in Pittsburgh on two separate occasions, the most recent stint beginning in 2010; he is currently the team’s pro scouting director. Hunt has also received interest for a significant front-office role in Philadelphia. The latter, meanwhile, has been with the Steelers since 2001, working his way up to the role of vice president of football and business administration and generating interest on a number of occasions from other teams during previous GM hiring cycles.

The other second interviewees come from outside the organization: Ryan Cowden, John Spytek and Andy Weidl, who work in the player personnel departments for the Titans, Buccaneers and Eagles, respectively. The other external name to be given notable consideration is Doug Whaley, who began his front office career with the Steelers before a stint as the Bills’ GM and, most recently, a position with the re-booted XFL.

Dulac notes that it remains to be seen if the six-name list is reduced even further before a hire is made. He adds that there is still “no specific timeframe” for when the new GM will be named.

Here is the complete breakdown of the Steelers’ search:

2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

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

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

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

Chicago Bears

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Conduct Second GM Interviews With Brandon Hunt, Omar Khan

The Steelers’ thorough general manager search has seen a few outside candidates receive second interviews. Ryan Cowden (Titans), John Spytek, Andy Weidl (Eagles) and former Bills GM Doug Whaley have met with the Steelers twice about their GM vacancy.

The team still has two of its own staffers as candidates, however. Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt have gone through second interviews for Kevin Colbert‘s old job, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. These two surfaced as the initial candidates for the job and remain in the mix several months later.

Khan, who serves as the Steelers’ vice president of football and business administration, has been with the team since 2001 and has served as a central figure in the team’s contract negotiations. Other teams have reached out to him about their GM vacancies over the past two offseasons. The Bears met with Khan this year, and the Panthers and Texans interviewed him in 2021. Khan was on the doorstep of being hired as Houston’s GM, but the franchise changed course and pivoted back to Nick Caserio at the 11th hour.

Hunt is up for two jobs in Pennsylvania, being in contention for a high-ranking gig in the Eagles’ front office. The Steelers’ pro scouting director, Hunt is in his second stint with the team. He began interning for the team in 2005 and returned in 2010. Hunt also met with the Raiders about their GM vacancy this offseason.

Here is how the Steelers’ expansive GM search looks as of Thursday afternoon:

  • Morocco Brown, college scouting director (Colts): Interviewed
  • Ran Carthon, director of player personnel (49ers): Interviewed
  • Ryan Cowden, vice president of player personnel (Titans): Conducted second interview
  • Ed Dodds, assistant general manager (Colts): Interviewed 2/4
  • Joe Hortiz, director of player personnel (Ravens): Interviewed
  • Brandon Hunt, pro scouting director (Steelers): Conducted second interview
  • Omar Khan, vice president of football and business administration (Steelers): Conducted second interview
  • Dan Morgan, assistant general manager (Panthers): Interviewed
  • Jerry Reese, former general manager (Giants): Interviewed
  • Louis Riddick, former director of pro personnel (Eagles): Interviewed
  • Rick Spielman, former general manager (Vikings): Interviewed
  • John Spytek, director of player personnel (Buccaneers): Conducted second interview
  • Andy Weidl, vice president of player personnel (Eagles): Conducted second interview
  • Doug Whaley, vice president of player personnel (XFL): Conducted second interview
  • John Wojciechowski, co-director of player personnel (Packers): Interviewed
  • JoJo Wooden, director of player personnel (Chargers): Interviewed

Steelers Continue Interviews To Replace GM Colbert

With the announcement that general manager Kevin Colbert will be stepping down after the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers have been working to find his eventual replacement. Today the team tweeted out three more names that interviewed for the position this week: Ravens’ director of player personnel Joe Hortiz, 49ers’ director of player personnel Ran Carthon, and Eagles’ vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team has also interviewed their vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan, someone we had mentioned as a candidate but had not yet reported as interviewed. Schefter also listed the team’s pro scouting director Brandon Hunt as a candidate who had been interviewed. This is the first time we’ve seen Hunt’s name mentioned in the conversations to replace Colbert.

To date Pittsburgh has interviewed 12 candidates, not including ESPN analyst Louis Riddick who was reportedly scheduled to interview for the position earlier this month.

With two months until the Draft, the Steelers appear in no hurry to make a decision. They will likely continue to take their time evaluating their prospects. Be sure to follow along with the latest on our 2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker.