Will McClay

2024 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

With the Patriots hiring Eliot Wolf as their de facto GM after having moved on from Bill Belichick, all five teams in need of a GM have filled their post this offseason. If other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list.

Updated 5-11-24 (4:35pm CT)

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Washington Commanders

Cowboys Exec Will McClay Withdraws From GM Consideration

One general manager position in the NFL has already been filled, but four other vacancies remain. Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay has been a top candidate in outside searches, but he will not be on the move in 2024.

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ESPN’s Todd Archer reports McClay has elected to withdraw from GM consideration for this year’s hiring cycle. He had been a sought-after executive in the early days of the search process of some teams, but he is content in his present situation. McClay is in his seventh season under his current title.

The 57-year-old joined the Cowboys in 2003 as a member of the team’s scouting department, and he has remained in Dallas ever since. McClay has worked on the scouting side of the organization, but also research and player personnel. His experience has made him a highly valuable member of the Cowboys’ front office, something which generated GM interest late in the 2010s.

After choosing to stay the course with Dallas, McClay witnessed a somewhat surprising drought of interview requests in recent years. That changed in 2024, however, with the Chargers and Commanders asking to meet with him. The Panthers were also floated as a potential suitor, but no formal interview request emerged. The market he would have had has now once again become a moot point given his decision to stand pat.

Adam Peters has been tapped as Washington’s new GM, but Carolina, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New England remain on the lookout for a hire to lead their teams’ respective front offices. Several strong candidates are under consideration, but – as has been the case before – McClay will not be one of them.

Chargers Request Seven GM Interviews

8:09pm: The Chargers also put in a request to interview another Bears exec. Co-director of player personnel Jeff King will meet with the Bolts, ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry tweets.

The former Panthers and Cardinals tight end has been with the Bears since 2015, being with the team throughout the Ryan Pace regime. Poles moved King, 40, to his current post in 2022. This will be King’s first GM interview; he met with the Panthers about their assistant GM job in 2021.

5:58pm: Add Ian Cunningham to this list. The Bears’ assistant GM also received an interview request from the Chargers, Rapoport tweets. Cunningham joined Brown as an Eagles staffer who became an assistant GM in 2022, becoming Ryan Poles‘ right-hand man. Set to to have an important say in Chicago’s decision on Justin Fields, Cunningham also turned down the Arizona GM job last year.

2:43pm: The Chargers will make a belated push out of the starting blocks on their general manager search. Seeking to fill the role Tom Telesco held for 11 years, the AFC West team has sent out five GM interview requests thus far.

Former Dolphins GM-turned-Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland is among them, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Also included here is Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins. 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters, Giants assistant GM Brandon Brown and Bills VP of player personnel Terrance Gray also received Bolts interview requests, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.

This marks Ireland’s first entrance onto this year’s GM carousel. An Ireland-Sean Payton reunion has been rumored, but after rumblings of embattled Broncos GM George Paton being on the chopping block, it is looking like the Payton-Paton setup will remain in place. This would hinder an Ireland Denver move. Ireland worked with Payton for seven years in New Orleans, helping revive the franchise after a mid-2010s lull.

Given considerable credit for a Saints impact 2017 draft class that included Marshon Lattimore, Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk and Trey Hendrickson, Ireland has been the Saints’ college scouting director since his arrival in 2015. Ireland, 53, is still better known for his Dolphins years. He spent six years as Miami’s GM, but after the team (during Matt Cassel‘s QB1 year in New England) won the 2008 AFC East title, no more playoff appearances commenced. Still, Ireland brings more experience to the table than most on this year’s GM market. He has also interviewed for a few jobs — the Panthers, Lions and Bears — from 2021-22.

Although Jerry and Stephen Jones still make the final calls, McClay has been indispensable for the Cowboys over the past several years. Dallas has continually hit on first-round picks, with fourth-rounder Dak Prescott quickly becoming the franchise’s centerpiece player. McClay, 57, has been with the Cowboys since 2003 and has not been a regular during GM hiring periods. His most recent connection to a GM job came when he turned down a Texans interview request in 2018; it will be interesting to see if McClay agrees to the Chargers meeting.

Peters has received requests from the Commanders and Raiders. It would not be surprising to see every team request a meeting with the 49ers’ assistant GM, given the success the team has achieved during the Kyle ShanahanJohn Lynch years. Gray is on the Raiders’ list as well, with Brown — following his second year as the Giants’ assistant GM — on the Panthers’ radar.

Commanders Request Will McClay Interview; Panthers Interested In Cowboys Exec

Will McClay has been with the Cowboys for over 20 years, coming up through the scouting ranks en route to holding a prominent position in the NFC East franchise’s front office. The veteran exec has been selective about GM interviews, but extensive interest has also eluded him in recent years. That looks to be changing.

In addition to the Chargers’ request to interview the Cowboys’ player personnel VP, the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins notes the Commanders have sent in an interview summons. The Panthers also have McClay on their GM radar, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, though no request has come in yet. That could be telling, considering how many requests Carolina already has out.

Based on McClay’s offseason history and his role in Dallas, it will be difficult to pry him from the Jerry– and Stephen Jones-led front office. McClay has not interviewed for a GM job in the 2020s, and he turned down requests from the Texans and Lions — and potentially other clubs — during the late 2010s. NFL teams have been aware of McClay’s impact for a while, but it looks like it will take a special offer to disrupt his current situation.

The Cowboys promoted McClay, 57, to current post in 2017. He has made an integral impact in Dallas, which has enjoyed great success with first-round picks over the past decade and change. Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb represent the latest such investments to hit big, but the Cowboys are still benefiting from the Tyron Smith (2011) and Zack Martin (2014) selections. Although the Joneses have final say, with Jerry Jones operating as the team’s nominal GM for decades, McClay holds considerable responsibility with the organization.

“I realize what my role and my structure is, what we do here,” McClay said in 2022. “I feel good about what we are doing. That is the job I am happy with now. If an opportunity comes up that makes sense, sure I will look at it. But I am happy where I am now. I am happy with the job, the role and how we do things.”

It will be interesting to see if McClay takes the Los Angeles or Washington meetings. The Commanders have kept GM Martin Mayhew on, along with executive VP Marty Hurney. The team is believed to be looking for a director of football operations-type hire. We heard recently the Commanders’ new ownership was interested in a football ops boss to oversee a GM, making it possible Mayhew and/or Hurney could stay on despite Ron Rivera‘s firing. The interviews for this new position are taking place at Josh Harris‘ home, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala.

Carolina’s situation, with David Tepper‘s reputation taking a slew of hits, would seem unlikely to be the one that pulls McClay out of Dallas. The Panthers also have already reached out to a number of candidates to replace Scott Fitterer.

Cowboys VP Of Player Personnel Will McClay Content With Current Role

Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay is widely regarded as a top GM candidate, but with owner Jerry Jones and son Stephen Jones at the top of the team’s unique hierarchy, McClay will never get a shot as a general manager in Dallas. However, his actions over the past few years have made it clear that he is happy right where he is, and he confirmed as much in a recent interview with Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

McClay, 55, joined the Cowboys as a scout in 2002. He took over the team’s scouting department as Assistant Director of Player Personnel in 2013, ran his first draft in 2014, and landed his current title in 2017. Since 2014, Dallas has drafted 10 Pro Bowlers, and while the Cowboys are generally restrained in free agency, McClay has had some success in finding contributors on modest FA contracts.

McClay, who is Black, has appeared on the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s list of recommended GM hires on multiple occasions, but he turned down interview requests in the 2016-18 hiring cycles. Though there have been no public reports of interview requests since 2018, that could be because other teams are aware of how difficult it would be to pry McClay from Dallas.

“I realize what my role and my structure is, what we do here,” McClay said. “I feel good about what we are doing. That is the job I am happy with now. If an opportunity comes up that makes sense, sure I will look at it. But I am happy where I am now. I am happy with the job, the role and how we do things.”

While McClay does not currently have the full range of authority that he would as GM, his voice carries a great deal of weight in the club’s collaborative personnel process, which also includes input from both Joneses and head coach Mike McCarthy“I’m happy with the job and the role and the way it is here because of the way we work and do things together,” McClay said.

When asked if he feels pressure to accept a GM job in order to continue paving the way for other minority candidates, he replied, “I’m a grown man. I know I’m black. The pressure is from the outside saying, ‘oh, you have to do’…I don’t have to do anything. The thing that I have to do for any African-American person who is trying to get into personnel, what I’ve got to do is be the best at my job, then they can see. You’ve got to do your job first, so I’m doing my job to the best of my availability first.”

As noted above, McClay left open the possibility of taking a GM position if the right opportunity presents himself. When asked what such an opportunity would look like, he responded, “you want to make sure the top structure is right. How many picks do they have? What’s there? What’s the team? Got to have a quarterback. … So many different things you would consider. So when the time comes and I have the time to look at it and put that foot forward that I want to do that, then I will look at all the different factors. I don’t consider it because it’s here right now that’s most important.”

The Cowboys and McClay agreed to a three-year extension earlier this year, and Jerry Jones, who said he considers McClay as qualified as anyone he has ever been around in terms of GM potential, is happy to have one of his top lieutenants in the fold during the team’s current window of contention.

NFC East Rumors: Cowboys, McClay, Minshew, Eagles

Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones participated in an interview with a local Dallas radio station on Friday in which he aired out some of his frustrations with the team’s 2021 season. He vocalized some frustrations about one of the team’s top cap hits, wide receiver Amari Cooper, not playing up to his contract. Charean Williams of NBC Sports wrote a bit about how Jones’s views could affect Cooper’s future with the team.

Jones voiced some problems he’s had with how and when the coaching staff decides to deal with issues plaguing the team, frustrated that these issues aren’t normally addressed until the season is over. While the ESPN article by Todd Archer held some harsh words from Jones, it doesn’t appear at this point that head coach Mike McCarthy‘s job is in jeopardy this offseason.

Here are a few more notes on the NFC East, starting with another item out of the Lone Star state:

  • Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel Will McClay reached an agreement with the team, signing a three-year contract extension to remain with the Cowboys earlier this month. Those who follow the franchise know McClay plays a large part in the Dallas front office. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report it on Twitter, ending speculation that the longtime-Cowboy staffer may pursue one of the open general manager positions.
  • After the Eagles’ Week 18 loss in a meaningless game against the Cowboys, quarterback Gardner Minshew, who started the game as Philadelphia wanted to rest an ailing Hurts, gave an interview in which he detailed a meeting from earlier in the season that he had with head coach Nick Siranni. After leading the Eagles to a win over the Jets in Week 13, Minshew questioned Sirianni on what it would take to beat out Hurts for the starting job permanently. Mike Kaye, of NJ.com, reveals how Minshew gained some insight on his position with the team, as well as some perspective from being on the team to begin with.
  • Following the Eagles’ playoff loss in Tampa Bay, 11-year veteran and four-time first-team All-Pro Jason Kelce suggested that this past NFL season may be his last. As a guest on a Philadelphia sports-radio show Thursday, Sirianni gave a peek inside his own negotiations to keep Kelce active. “I sent him two kegs of beer yesterday,” Sirianni revealed. “As long as he wants to go, we want him to go. And I’ll be trying to convince him every single day that I can to come back and play.” In an NBC Sports article, Dan Roche detailed the rest of a very complimentary conversation with the Eagles’ head coach.

Texans Request Permission To Interview Nick Caserio

The Texans have requested permission to interview Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio for their vacant GM job, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 KRIV tweets. As has been reported previously, Berman confirms that Caserio is Houston’s top choice.

Houston was in the hunt for a new GM in early 2018 as well, but New England denied the Texans’ request to interview Caserio. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes, in order to hire away an executive under contract with a rival club, the hiring team must offer “the primary authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades, and related decisions; and . . . the primary responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach.” And, even if the hiring team offers those responsibilities, the incumbent club can still block the interview if its season has not yet ended.

It sounds as though the Texans are prepared to offer Caserio full GM responsibilities rather than make him a “GM Light” who would cede significant power to head coach Bill O’Brien. As Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets, New England was able to prevent Caserio and director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort from interviewing for the Texans’ GM job last year only because the Pats’ season hadn’t ended yet. This time around, though, the Patriots cannot prevent their executives from hearing Houston’s pitch.

That is, of course, if they are even interested. It would be difficult for an exec to leave the friendly confines of Foxborough for uncharted waters elsewhere, and the quick and unexpected firing of former Houston GM Brian Gaine would certainly be cause for concern. On the other hand, the Texans do have a roster that looks capable of immediate contention, and with a young and promising QB in Deshaun Watson, a first-time GM could certainly do worse than land with Houston.

The Texans have already interviewed Ray Farmer and plan to interview Martin Mayhew. One name that is not on the agenda as of yet is Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay, as Calvin Watkins of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Watkins expects Houston to reach out to McClay, but he does not expect McClay to leave his current position.

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends GM Candidates

The Fritz Pollard Alliance has released its annual list of minority candidates for general manager vacancies. Much like the latest batch of recommended coaching hires, the suggested GM list is more than twice as long as last year’s. 

[RELATED: Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends Head Coaching Candidates]

Here’s the full rundown, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

  • Ray Agnew (Rams)
  • Joey Clinkscales (Raiders)
  • Quentin Harris (Cardinals)
  • Alonzo Highsmith (Browns)
  • Brad Holmes (Rams)
  • Champ Kelly (Bears)
  • Martin Mayhew (49ers, ex-Lions GM)
  • Will McClay (Cowboys)
  • Jimmy Raye III (Lions)
  • Jerry Reese (ex-Giants GM)
  • Doug Whaley (ex-Bills GM)
  • Doug Williams (Redskins)


Clinkscales, Highsmith, McClay, and Williams were all featured on last year’s list, but none of those executives landed GM jobs. The only executive from the last round of recommendations who did not carry over to this year was Ray Farmer, the former Browns GM who is currently serving as a senior consultant with the Rams.

Of the dozen suggested executives on this list, only three sat for GM interviews in the last cycle: Mayhew (Panthers), Raye (Texans), and Whaley (Packers). McClay was asked to interview for the Texans opening, but declined the opportunity and instead signed a two-year extension to stay with the Cowboys. McClay may garner consideration again this time around, but he might not be interested in leaving Dallas.

Cowboys Extend Exec Will McClay

The Cowboys are holding on to vice president of player personnel Will McClay. After the McClay declined an opportunity to interview with the Texans about their GM opening, the team rewarded him with a two-year extension, as ESPN.com’s Todd Archer writes. Will McClay (vertical)

The new deal, presumably, comes with a pay raise for his loyalty. The Cowboys wanted to keep McClay, a widely respected and highly sought after talent evaluator, even though he his blocked from the GM job with Jerry Jones in command.

As Archer notes, the Cowboys have drafted four Pro Bowl players – Zack Martin, Demarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott – since McClay took over the college and pro personnel departments in 2014. In that span they’ve also tapped 14 players who start or play key roles for the team.

Cowboys’ McClay Turns Down Texans Interview

Another Texans GM candidate bites the dust. On Wednesday morning, Cowboys exec Will McClay confirmed that he has turned down an opportunity to interview for the Texans’ GM vacancy (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer).Will McClay (vertical)

The Cowboys did right by McClay and granted him permission to speak with Houston. However, he is choosing to remain with Dallas as the leader of the personnel department. McClay has held the position since 2014 and built a reputation as one of the league’s best scouting talents.

So far, the Texans have been denied permission to interview the Eagles’ Joe Douglas and Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort of the Patriots. They were hoping to sit down with Brian Gutekunst, but the Packers took him off of the board by giving him their own GM job.

For a full rundown of Houston’s GM search (and a recap of Green Bay’s), check out PFR’s 2018 General Manger Search Tracker.