Ran Carthon

Titans To Hire Ran Carthon As GM

Hours after a finalist contingent emerged, the Titans have made their choice. They plan to hire 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon as their next general manager, Dianna Russini and Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com report (on Twitter).

Carthon, who has been with the 49ers for six years, joined Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham and Titans interim GM Ryan Cowden as the finalists for this position. A day after the Cardinals hired Titans exec Monti Ossenfort, the league’s last GM vacancy — for the time being, at least — is now filled.

Carthon, 41, has been an NFL staffer since 2008 and has held high-ranking titles for the 49ers and Rams. A former Florida Gators running back and son of ex-Giants fullback and longtime NFL assistant Maurice Carthon, Ran has been in the mix for GM roles for a bit now. He interviewed for the Bears, Giants and Steelers’ GM jobs last year and met with the Cardinals last week. Carthon will now be set to team with Mike Vrabel in Tennessee.

The Titans hiring Carthon, who is Black, will equip the 49ers with third-round picks this year and in 2024. Due to the NFL modifying its Rooney Rule to reward third-round selections to teams who hire minority execs as GMs or minority assistant coaches as HCs, the 49ers will benefit again. They have been given eight third-round picks — for the hires of Martin Mayhew, Robert Saleh, Mike McDaniel and now Carthon — since the NFL greenlit this rule. Carthon becomes the sixth minority GM hired since 2021.

Tennessee’s hire doubles as one of the more unique GM additions in recent history. No HC change is in sight, with Vrabel having established himself as one of the league’s most respected coaches. Carthon, then, will be tasked with working alongside the sixth-year Titans HC to retool the roster. Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk made the surprising decision to fire Jon Robinson less than a year after giving him an extension that ran through the 2027 draft. The Titans signed both Vrabel and Robinson to new deals in February 2022, but Adams Strunk reversed course and cited personnel decisions and the team’s repeated trouble with injuries as reasons for the Robinson ouster.

Hired in 2016, Robinson helped rebuild the Titans into a consistent contender. He tabbed Vrabel in 2018, and the two guided the Titans to three straight playoff berths from 2019-21. This year brought change, with the most notable move being the A.J. Brown trade. Adams Strunk said Brown scoring twice against the Titans did not impact her decision to fire Robinson, despite the firing coming soon after the Tennessee-Philadelphia matchup in December. One of Carthon’s duties will be to help rebuild a Titans receiving corps that dearly missed Brown this season. Overall, the Titans closed the season with seven straight losses, going from the AFC’s No. 1 seed in 2021 to a team with a 7-10 record and a less stable future a year later.

The 49ers, who hired Carthon in 2017 after his five-year tenure as the Rams’ director pro personnel, promoted him from director of pro personnel to director of player personnel in 2021. Following Mayhew’s 2021 exit, Carthon joined Adam Peters as a top John Lynch lieutenant. The 49ers have ventured to two NFC championship games and a Super Bowl during Carthon’s tenure, and their pro personnel department oversaw quite the seminal transaction in 2017 — a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers have withstood injuries to both Garoppolo and Trey Lance this year to become the NFC’s No. 2 seed behind seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy. Although Peters is viewed as the most likely Lynch successor, Carthon with have the chance to work as front office leader first. The Titans tried to interview Peters, but the 49ers’ assistant GM declined the opportunity.

This move could lead Cowden elsewhere, though that is not yet certain. Robinson hired both Cowden and Ossenfort, and the former — who joined Robinson’s staff from the jump seven years ago — worked as Tennessee’s interim GM to close out this season. Cunningham also interviewed for both the Titans and Cardinals’ GM posts. Considering Cunningham just completed his first year in an assistant GM role, this GM hiring cycle illustrated the league’s view of his work.

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.

Cardinals Request GM Interviews With Ian Cunningham, Ran Carthon, Adam Peters, Monti Ossenfort

It was announced not long after the Kliff Kingsbury firing that the Cardinals would also be in need of a new general manager. Steve Keim has permanently stepped away from the team due to health-related reasons, meaning Arizona joins Tennessee as the only NFL clubs currently in need of a new leader in their front office.

Keim took an indefinite leave of absence in December, and it was reported days later that he and the team were expected to part ways. With that move now having been made official, the franchise is currently operating with vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris and vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson filing in on an interim basis.

Each of them has already been interviewed for the full-time position, though, owner Michael Bidwill said on Monday. He added that his preference would be to have a new GM in place prior to the team’s next head coaching hire, but that the opposite order would also not be an issue (Twitter link via team reporter Darren Urban). External candidates have begun to emerge alongside Harris and Wilson.

One of those is Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham, who has had received a formal interview request from the Cardinals, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (on Twitter). He has also drawn the attention of the Titans in the early goings of their GM search, a testament to his continued rise through the ranks of various NFL front office positions during his career.

Cunningham began with the Ravens in 2013 as a scout, translating his time there into a move to Philadelphia in 2017. Over the course of his time with the Eagles, he worked his way up to the title of player personnel director. Most recently, he was hired by the Bears last January in another promotion, this time to assistant general manager.

In addition to Cunningham, the Cardinals wish to meet with Ran Carthon and Adam Peters, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. Those two hold the titles of director of pro personnel and AGM, respectively, with the 49ers. Like Cunningham, they too have caught the eye of the Titans for their general manager vacancy. Carthon, 41, has served in his current role since 2017 after spending time in the front office with the Falcons and Rams.

Monti Ossenfort is also on the Cardinals’ radar, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Ossenfort, a longtime Patriots exec who has been with the Titans since 2020, saw the team elevate Ryan Cowden to its interim GM post in the wake of Jon Robinson‘s firing. Interviewing for GM roles in the past, Ossenfort serves as Tennessee’s director of player personnel. Given the Cowden development and the Titans’ changing of the guard, it will be interesting to see if Ossenfort remains on staff ahead of the 2023 season.

Peters, meanwhile, has been an NFL executive for two decades, beginning with the Patriots and later, the Broncos. He joined the 49ers in 2017, working his way up from VP of player personnel to the assistant GM title last year. He was a finalist for the Giants’ GM job last winter, which ultimately went to Joe Schoen.

Seeking their first GM in a decade, the Cardinals will have plenty of options to consider before making a hire. On the head coach side of the situation, quarterback Kyler Murray will be involved in the search for Kingsbury’s successor (Twitter link via Johnny Venerable of the PHNX Cardinals Podcast). That could add a interesting element to Arizona’s offseason, one which will be busy in light of today’s events.

NFL Staff Notes: Bears, Jaguars, 49ers, Raiders

New Bears general manager Ryan Poles announced several promotions and additions to the team’s scouting and football administration departments this week.

Breck Ackley has been promoted from area scout to assistant director of college scouting. Former pro scout Chris White is now assistant director of pro scouting. Former national scouts Sam Summerville and Francis Saint Paul have added “senior” to the their titles. Ashton Washington made a large leap going from a scouting assistant to player personnel coordinator. Fellow former scouting assistant Charles Love has been made a pro scout. In terms of area scouts, John Syty will now cover the Southwest area, Brendan Rehor will cover the Southeast area, Tom Bradway comes from the Raiders to cover the Northeast area, and former long-time Texans scout Ryan Cavanaugh comes from Ohio State to cover the Midwest area. Finally, Ryan Weese joins the staff from Montana State as a scouting assistant.

Mike Santarelli has been promoted from director of football systems to executive director of football technology. Former salary cap/pro scouting analyst James Cosh has been promoted to manager of football administration/pro scout.

Here are a few other staff hires from around the NFL:

  • According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, former 49ers vice president Ethan Waugh has been hired by Jacksonville in the role of assistant general manager, rejoining Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, whom he worked with from 2005-16. With Waugh out of the picture, San Francisco’s player personnel hierarchy is much clearer with assistant general manager Adam Peters and director of player personnel Ran Carthon directly under general manager John Lynch.
  • The Raiders have made an addition to their football analytics department, according to ESPN’s Seth Walder, hiring Brad Goldsberry away from Chicago to serve as director of football systems.

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 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.

Bears Request To Interview Chargers’ Wooden

Do not be surprised if you start getting calls from Chicago because the Bears are searching far and wide to fill their vacant general manager position and they are interviewing EVERYBODY! The newest candidate to add to the list is Chargers’ director of player personnel, JoJo Wooden, according to a tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Wooden has been with the Chargers since 2013 overseeing the pro and college scouting department for the Chargers. He got his start with the Jets in 1997 and spent 10 seasons working his way up from pro personnel assistant to the assistant director, player personnel, a position he held for six more years.

What makes Wooden an interesting candidate for the Bears’ job is the connections he has to the search committee. Bears Senior Writer Larry Mayer reported a couple days ago that Bill Polian, who has spent time as a general manager for the Bills, Panthers, and, most notably, the Colts, will be a resource to the Bears as they go through the process of hiring a new head coach and general manager. Wooden is known as a key lieutenant for the Chargers’ current general manager Tom Telesco, and Telesco worked under Polian during Polian’s entire tenure in Indianapolis.

To date, the Bears have already interviewed the Browns’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Glenn Cook and their own assistant director of player personnel, Champ Kelly. They’ve also requested interviews with the Colts’ Morocco Brown and Ed Dodds, the 49ers’ Ran Carthon, the Saints’ Jeff Ireland, the Steelers’ Omar Khan, the Giants’ Joe Schoen, and the Patriots’ Eliot Wolf. Texans’ former general manager Rick Smith has also been identified as a candidate.

Bears Request Four More GM Interviews

We can add three more names to the list of Bears GM candidates. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter), Chicago requested permission to interview Colts vice president of player personnel Ed Dodds. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the Bears also requested permission to interview Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland, while Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets that Chicago put in a request on 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon. Schefter also notes (on Twitter) that Chicago requested an interview with Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen.

[RELATED: Bears Request Interviews With Three Execs For GM Gig]

Dodds was a popular name in the GM circuit last offseason, when he was connected to gigs with the Lions and Panthers. Dodds has worked with the Colts since 2017, and he was promoted to his current position in 2018. Dodds previously spent time in the Seahawks front office, where he played a major role in constructing a Super Bowl-winning roster.

Best known for his time as Dolphins GM (2008-13), Ireland resurfaced with the Saints and helped the Mickey LoomisSean Payton regime reposition the team as the NFC South’s best after some mid-2010s defensive struggles. During Ireland’s stay, the Saints have draft perennial Pro Bowlers Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore and several other impact starters. He was also connected to the Lions and Panthers gigs last offseason.

Carthon is already set to interview for the open Giants GM job. The former Florida Gators fullback has spent a decade as a pro personnel director, doing so with the Rams from 2012-16 and in his five years with the 49ers. Carthon was promoted to his current role during this past offseason.

Schoen has been with the Bills organization since 2017, and he’s played a major role in the organization’s recent rise in the AFC. Prior to his stint in Buffalo, Schoen spent almost a decade in Miami (when he was endorsed by Bill Parcells), evolving from a national scout into director of player personnel. The executive also had a stint with the Panthers, working his way up from an intern in the ticket office.

We learned of the first three potential names to replace Ryan Pace in Chicago, with Browns VP of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Browns VP of player personnel Glenn Cook, and Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown connected to the job.