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:
After Monti Ossenfortlanded 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 withMike 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.
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 (Twitterlinks) 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.
Going through with one of the most surprising in-season transactions in recent years, the Titans fired Jon Robinson just less than 10 months after announcing he and Mike Vrabelhad signed extensions. Robinson’s contract runs through the 2027 draft, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (on Twitter).
While it is fair to wonder if this about-face stemmed from a sudden development, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter noted during an NFL Live appearance that is not believed to be the case. Owner Amy Adams Strunk has become unhappy about the state of Tennessee’s roster, Pelissero adds, with Schefter adding she was not pleased in being left out of the loop on certain matters.
Brown shredded his former team in an eight-reception, 119-yard, two-touchdown performance Sunday, and the Titans have not been able to replicate what the former second-round pick had offered them. Robert Woods has produced close to his Rams-era numbers since being acquired for a sixth-round pick, and while Treylon Burks has shown flashes, the first-rounder has missed extensive time. The Commanders, Seahawks and 49ers did not follow the Titans’ lead; each team extended their respective No. 1 receivers (Terry McLaurin, D.K. Metcalf, Deebo Samuel) rather than punt on their contract years. Brown’s Eagles contract ended up being the template each of those NFC squads used to wrap up their respective receiver extensions.
Robinson also drafted the likes of Derrick Henry, Kevin Byard, Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons, and he landed Ryan Tannehill for fourth- and seventh-round picks. That trade gave the Titans an out on Marcus Mariota, and Tannehill’s return to health led to the Titans advancing to the AFC championship game for the first time since 2002. Robinson had never completed a losing season as Titans GM, despite the team going 3-13 the year before he arrived, and Tennessee is on track to secure a fourth straight playoff berth.
Then again, the Titans swung and missed on some first-round picks. Corey Davis did not become a No. 1-caliber wideout, despite being chosen fifth overall, and cornerback Caleb Farley has not earned a starting role upon returning from his rookie-year ACL tear. Robinson let both Davis and 2016 first-rounder Jack Conklin walk in free agency. The Conklin decision led to a revolving door at right tackle and preceded the team’s most infamous draft miss. The Titans’ 2020 first-round choice — tackle Isaiah Wilson — saw action on four plays as a rookie and never played again.
Still, this firing took many around the league by surprise, according to the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora and The Athletic’s Mike Jones (Twitterlinks). Robinson hire Vrabel is set to see his role expand, confirming Wednesday he and interim GM Ryan Cowden will collaborate on the team’s decision-making for the rest of the season.
In an unexpected move, the Titans are moving on from one of their top executives. The team is firing general manager Jon Robinson, as reported (on Twitter) by Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Tennessee has confirmed the decision.
This comes across as a surprise given the success the the team has enjoyed under Robinson’s tenure, which began in 2016. The Titans have had a winning record during each of those campaigns, including four consecutive 9-7 records between 2016-19. Consecutive double-digit win seasons followed, and the team earned the No. 1 seed in the conference last year.
At 7-5 in 2022, Tennessee appears poised to win another AFC South title, something which would guarantee a fifth playoff appearance since Robinson took over as GM and fourth in as many years. That span includes a trip to the AFC title game in 2019, and has made Tennessee one of the most consistent organizations in the league in terms of sustained success in recent years. For that reason, it came as little surprise when Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabelsigned extensions this winter.
“I believe we have made significant progress both on and off the field through investments in leadership, personnel and new ideas,” owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. “This progress includes the core of our business, the football team itself, which is regularly evaluated both by results (wins and losses) and team construction/roster building. I am proud of what we have accomplished in my eight seasons of ownership, but I believe there is more to be done and higher aspirations to be met.
“I want to thank Jon for his dedicated work to set this organization on an upward trajectory and I wish him and his family the best.”
The team announced that VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden will assume Robinson’s duties on an interim basis. A search for a long-term successor will take place after the season is over. Cowden has drawn interest from other NFL teams in their respective GM searches, and interviewed twice with the Steelers this year for their vacancy. Meanwhile, Vrabel is expected to gain “significant power” within the organization as a result of this move (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of KPRC2).
Robinson and the front office made a number of sizeable moves this offseason, including the trade which sent wideout A.J. Brownto the Eagles after the sides were unable to agree on a long-term extension. A source of questions during the season has been the quarterback position; Ryan Tannehillremains the team’s starter for now, but he has one year remaining on his current contract. That will invite speculation that rookie Malik Williscould start on a permanent basis if Tannehill were to struggle down the stretch, or if the team were to move on from him in the offseason.
That question, amongst others, will need to be answered in the coming months, but Robinson will no longer have a part to play in them. His track record will likely earn him plenty of interest for future front office positions, barring an unforeseen matter having contributed to his sudden dismissal.
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:
Morocco Brown, college scouting director (Colts): Interviewed
Ran Carthon, director of player personnel (49ers): Interviewed
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)
KwesiAdofo-Mensah, vice president of football operations (Browns): Interviewed 1/13
With the draft over, longtime Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert’s tenure in that role has officially come to an end. As a result, the team’s search for his replacement is now front and center. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (on Twitter) that second interviews will be conducted with Ryan Cowden and John Spytek, among others.
Cowden has been with the Titans since 2016. After 16 years in Carolina, Tennessee hired him to work in the player personnel department, and he has played a key role in the team’s recent success. As a result, he has generated interest in recent GM searches, including an interview with the Giants earlier this year for their opening and his first meeting with Pittsburgh one month later.
Spytek has followed an almost identical recent career path to Cowden. He too was hired in 2016 (after spending time as a scout with the Browns and Broncos) and has served as first director, then vice president, of player personnel for the Buccaneers. Likewise, his contributions to the team’s success has caught the attention of other clubs. He interviewed with the Vikings and Raiders before doing so with the Steelers this offseason.
As Garafolo notes, the list of candidates to be interviewed a second time will grow longer than these two. For now, though, here is an updated look at Pittsburgh’s search:
Morocco Brown, college scouting director (Colts): Interviewed
Ran Carthon, director of player personnel (49ers): Interviewed
The 52-year-old began his front office career as a scout in Washington in 2001. He spent seven years there, then an additional six with the Eagles. The final four seasons of that time, in which he was Philadelphia’s director of pro personnel, represent his most senior job title. He has been out of the NFL since 2013, most recently working as an analyst on Monday Night Football. Last offseason, though, he received GM interest from the Lions, Texans and Jaguars.
A Pennsylvania native, Riddick played college football at Pitt, so he would certainly represent a hometown candidate to replace Kevin Colbert. He will be the fourth external candidate to interview for the role, though there are no details on when the sit-down will take place.
Here is where the Steelers’ GM search stands so far:
Although Kevin Colbert‘s lengthy Steelers GM tenure will not conclude until after the draft, the team is beginning to meet with potential replacements. Three external candidates interviewed for the job this week.
Titans VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden joined Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds and Chargers director of player personnel JoJo Wooden in meeting with Steelers president Art Rooney II in Mobile, Ala., during Senior Bowl week, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes.
All three came up in at least one other team’s GM search this year. Dodds met with two other teams — the Bears and Raiders — ahead of his Steelers interview, which also likely included Colbert and Mike Tomlin, who are also in Mobile. Cowden met with the Giants last month, while the Bears targeted Wooden before hiring Ryan Poles. Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan is also a candidate to succeed Colbert.
While Pittsburgh is in need of a starting quarterback for the first time in nearly 20 years, Colbert’s impending departure vacates the team’s GM chair for the first time in more than 20. Colbert, however, is open to staying with the Steelers in a reduced capacity, Dulac adds (on Twitter). Colbert has been with the Steelers since 2000.
With the Colts since 2017, Dodds withdrew from both the Bears’ 2022 GM search and the Panthers’ search process last year. The former Seahawks exec also pulled out of the Browns’ GM search in 2020. Cowden is in his sixth year with the Titans, coming to Tennessee after 16 years with the Panthers. Wooden has been with the Chargers since Tom Telesco‘s GM tenure began in 2013.