Rob Lohman

Staff Notes: Newsome, Panthers, Lions

Despite ceding his post as Ravens GM to longtime lieutenant Eric DeCosta, Ozzie Newsome remains a central presence in Baltimore’s front office. He played a key role in the Ravens adding Earl Thomas, despite not having an official title. He does now. Amid a staff shakeup, the Ravens revealed (via Newsome will serve as their executive vice president. The Hall of Fame tight end and Super Bowl-winning executive will continue to advise DeCosta. This should help a Ravens team in a bit of a transition, considering Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco and C.J. Mosley are no longer with the franchise. Newsome, 63, sticking around will provide vital continuity.

Here is the latest on some front office situations around the league, staying first with more from the Ravens’ new-look staff:

  • The Ravens will now have co-directors of player personnel, moving former college scouting director Joe Horwitz and previous senior personnel assistant George Kokinis into the position. The Ravens brought in Kokinis in 2010, following a short stay as the Browns’ general manager. The Ravens promoted Mark Azevedo from his northeast area scout post to player personnel coordinator and made Chad Alexander their assistant director of pro and college personnel. Vincent Newsome will move from director of pro personnel into a senior player personnel executive position, and Nick Matteo will now oversee the Ravens’ salary cap. Matteo spent 10 years as an NFL management council exec.
  • While their staff changes were not as sweeping as the Ravens’, the Panthers have some key figures in new positions. A 22nd-year Panthers exec, Jeff Morrow will take over as Carolina’s player personnel director after heading the franchise’s college scouting department. Fourth-year Panthers staffer Eric Stokes will move into Morrow’s former role. Former Panthers wide receiver Mark Carrier, a ninth-year member of the team’s front office, will become executive director of the Panthers’ football staff.
  • Lastly, the Lions reshuffled a few roles. Dave Sears will rise from Detroit’s assistant director of college scouting to leading that department. Rob Lohman will make the same move on the pro side. Both Sears and Lohman have been with the Lions for 13 years.

NFC North Notes: Finley, Neal, Packers, Lions

In a piece on the best remaining free agents, former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley tops the 10 players named by Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. Of course, as agent Blake Baratz tells Marvez, it’s not 100% certain that Finley will even return from his spinal injury and play in the NFL again. While we do expect the tight end to sign somewhere, he could file for the collection of a $10MM insurance policy if he opts not continue his playing career.

As we wait to see if the Packers express interest in bringing Finley back into the fold, here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • Linebacker Mike Neal re-signed with the Packers early in free agency, but Green Bay wasn’t the only team interested in him. Neal tells Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that the Bears made him an offer, though he opted not sign with the Packers’ division rival. “In the long run, their offer, it wasn’t a bad deal,” Neal said of Chicago’s proposal. “The option for me to come back [to Green Bay] was better, in my opinion. I felt like this was a system that if I was kept in the same position, I could flourish in.” The Steelers also reportedly expressed interest in Neal before he re-upped with the Packers.
  • Although there are questions about how long Ted Thompson will continue on in his role as Green Bay’s general manager, Rob Demovsky of says Packers fans should hope that Thompson still has plenty of years left on the job. One person close to Thompson recently told Demovsky that he doesn’t think the GM will leave anytime soon unless the Packers win another Super Bowl, and that speculation about his retirement “got him going.”
  • The Lions have promoted Rob Lohman to assistant director of pro personnel and expanded their scouting department, as Tim Twentyman details at