Scott Fitterer

Extra Points: Jets, Lindsay, Eagles, Contracts

Carson Wentz‘s contract obviously won the NFL’s Thursday news cycle (and likely this week’s). Here is the latest from the non-Wentz corners of the league:

  • Joe Douglas probably remains the favorite for the Jets‘ GM job, but SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano cautions that a surprise hire is not out of the question. Adding to the Scott Fitterer buzz that formed this week, Vacchiano writes Douglas is not a “slam dunk” to land this job. Additionally, the follow-up phone conversations the Jets had with each of the four candidates centered around salary, staffing and the interviewees’ interest level in the position. A report Wednesday indicated some of the candidates were concerned about the team’s unusual ownership situation.
  • Nearly six months removed from the wrist injury that ended his season in Week 16, Phillip Lindsay remains limited in Broncos workouts. However, the expectation is the Pro Bowl running back will be full-go by training camp, per Vic Fangio (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter). Lindsay, who underwent surgery in December, was supposed to have a three- or four-month recovery timetable. But the second-year back has resumed catching passes — seemingly a sign he will be ready to go when Broncos camp begins July 17.
  • The Raiders’ Dwayne Joseph hire forced the Eagles to reorganize their pro scouting department. Previous Joseph deputy Brandon Brown will replace Joseph as the team’s pro scouting director, Zach Berman of Philly.com tweets. The Eagles hired Max Gruder to fill Brown’s former job, assistant director of pro scouting. Gruder previously served as a Dolphins scout.
  • Throughout this CBA’s now-nine-year duration, third-round picks have been slower to agree to their deals than most of their fellow draftees. Nineteen remain unsigned as of Thursday night. The CBA’s vague language applies to the second, third and fourth years of third-rounders’ contracts, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, adding that the amount teams and agents haggle over is usually between $3-$4K over the deal’s life. That’s quality minutia.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Mayo, Bills

While it is not known when the Jets will make their GM decision, they do appear to be done interviewing candidates. The four executives the Jets spoke toJoe Douglas (Eagles), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Champ Kelly (Bears) and Terry Fontenot (Saints) — remain in contention, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link) the team has since discussed salary expectations with the candidates. These follow-up talks occurred Tuesday night, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The favorite since this process started, Douglas has not done anything to remove himself from that perch, but Fitterer has gained steam after a strong interview, Rapoport adds.

These meetings may have also been for the benefit of the candidates, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeting multiple interviewees are concerned about the Jets’ atypical ownership situation. CEO Christopher Johnson is working in brother Woody Johnson‘s place, with the latter having accepted an ambassador position with the Trump administration. Woody Johnson will sign off on this GM pick, Mehta adds.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • A Patriots contingency plan for if presumptive left tackle Isaiah Wynn is not ready: perhaps Joe Thuney sliding over one spot. The Patriots’ fourth-year left guard worked with their first-string offense at left tackle Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (subscription required). Brian Schwenke and Ted Karras have been rotating at left guard during Pats minicamp. A 2016 third-round pick, Thuney has started every game at left guard since entering the league. Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder who tore his Achilles’ tendon during camp last year, is not yet ready for team drills.
  • Bill Belichick is expected to call Patriots defensive plays this season, but the team is using minicamp to try out some other possibilities. First-year full-time assistant Jerod Mayo was calling Pats plays for a second straight day at minicamp, according to Howe. The Patriots hired their former linebacker as assistant inside ‘backers coach this offseason, and Howe adds the 33-year-old calling plays during the season is now a “serious possibility.”
  • Quinnen Williams sustained a calf injury recently and will be limited for the rest of Jets minicamp, Adam Gase said (via Mehta), calling it a scare. However, the No. 3 overall pick is expected to resume full work when the team, interestingly, holds another OTA session next week.
  • Former Buccaneers seventh-round pick Stevie Tu’ikolovatu worked out for the Bills on Wednesday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The former USC defensive tackle has not played since being drafted, with injuries keeping him off the field.
  • One of the Dolphins‘ 18 priority free agent signings hit the waiver wire Tuesday. The Dolphins parted ways with cornerback Tyler Horton (Boise State) via left-squad designation, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer notes (on Twitter).

Latest On Jets’ GM Search

We have another update on the Jets’ search for a general manager as you’re hopefully enjoying Memorial Day, this time courtesy of Albert Breer of SI.com. So far, the Jets have requested interviews with four candidates. While the request part is often a formality, it sounds like the Jets might not actually get everybody on their list.

Breer was told that “it remains unclear if Minnesota exec George Paton will accept” his interview request. Paton has been a hot GM candidate in the past, though he has pulled his name from consideration multiple times, so it’s not too surprising he’s being selective here. Paton is clearly comfortably with the Vikings, and will only leave for the perfect opportunity.

While they might not end up interviewing Paton, Chicago’s Champ Kelly and Seattle’s Scott Fitterer are both going to meet with Jets brass. Breer reports that Fitterer’s interview is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Breer reiterates that Eagles exec Joe Douglas “remains the favorite,” and he writes that he’s “the one hire the Jets can make that could mitigate the public relations mess of the last few weeks,” citing his “sterling reputation as an evaluator” and “ability to assemble a loaded scouting staff.”

If the Jets do end up hiring Douglas, who has a longstanding relationship with Jets coach and interim GM Adam Gase, that doesn’t mean none of the other candidates will be joining the new front office. Breer notes that “there’s a belief in scouting circles that if Kelly doesn’t get the GM job, he could still land in Jersey working under Douglas.”

As of now, Douglas seems like a strong favorite. Gase has insisted that Jets owner/CEO Christopher Johnson will have final say, but everybody seems to believe Gase is calling the shots. Douglas was the Bears’ director of college scouting when Gase was the offensive coordinator in Chicago in 2015.

Jets To Interview Paton, Fitterer

The Jets have added two more names to their GM request list. The club has requested interviews with Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Seahawks co-Director of Player Personnel Scott Fitterer, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

[Poll: Who Should Jets Hire?]

Paton has been a prominent GM candidate in the last few offseason cycles, though he has also pulled his name from consideration on multiple occasions, including the Jets’ search that resulted in Mike Maccagnan‘s hire in 2015. In December, it was rumored that Paton was open to finally making a move, so he could be open to running the Jets’ front office.

Fitterer has been in the mix for GM jobs as well, including vacancies with the Chiefs, 49ers, and Colts a couple of years ago. Fitterer’s strength lies in talent evaluation, whereas Paton is viewed as more of a cap guru.

Fitterer and Paton join Eagles exec Joe Douglas and Bears exec Champ Kelly on the Jets’ interview docket.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Bengals, Saints, Rams

The Chiefs will interview Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer for their general manager position either today or early Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Fitterer, Seattle’s co-director of player personnel, is one of six candidates linked to the Kansas City vacancy (a total that includes the Vikings’ George Paton, who declined an interview). Earlier this year, Fitterer was an initial candidate for the 49ers’ GM job, but ultimately was not asked back for a second interview. Another candidate for the Chiefs gig — Tennessee staffer Ryan Cowden — will meet with Kansas City tomorrow, as Rapoport indicated earlier today.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Bengals told current Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby that he’d be their pick at No. 24 in the 2014 draft, but that changed after Roby was charged with OVI, as Roby explains to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Cincinnati instead chose Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a choice that — at least through three seasons — was clearly the incorrect choice. While Roby has played well as Denver’s third corner after being selected 31st overall in ’14, Dennard has struggled to get on the field in the Queen City. A fitting conclusion to the tale? Vance Joseph, now the Broncos head coach, was the Bengals defensive backs coach in 2014 who promised Roby he wouldn’t fall past pick No. 24.
  • Although Saints coaches are high on second-year defensive tackle David Onyemata, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to fill the hole vacated by the loss of veteran Nick Fairley, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. New Orleans placed Fairley on the non-football injury list Monday after doctors ruled a heart condition wouldn’t allow him to play in 2017. Onyemata, a fourt-round pick last year out of Manitoba, played on slightly more than a third of the Saints’ defensive snaps during his rookie campaign and posted 18 total tackles. Earlier today, I ran down a list of external options New Orleans could consider to help replace Fairley’s production.
  • Connor Barwin is not only playing a 3-4 scheme once again, but will see his second go-round under the tutelage of new Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, per Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. Barwin, who signed a one-year, $3.5MM with Los Angeles this spring, struggled in Philadelphia’s 4-3 defense last season (bottom-10 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus), but he’s excited about the shift back to a 3-4. “There’s certain things I can do and I can take advantage of that you can’t necessarily do being down in an even front every single play,” said Barwin. “This is really where I want to be playing, the system I want to be in and where I’m going to have the most success.”

Chiefs Request Interviews With Two Execs

The Chiefs have requested permission to speak with Titans Director of Player Personnel Ryan Cowden and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer for their GM job, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). If permission is granted, then the executives will become the first outside candidates to interview for the vacancy.

On Monday morning, we learned that Vikings executive George Paton declined the opportunity to be considered for the Chiefs job. In theory, that means that Cowden and Fitterer will have a little less competition for the position, provided that they are actually looking to take the job.

Fitterer has been in the mix for multiple GM jobs, including the Colts and 49ers earlier this year. He was also being considered for a top job with the Eagles before removing himself from consideration. The Seahawks have enjoyed great success in recent years, particularly when it comes to building through the draft and discovering talented undrafted free agents. While John Schneider oversees the operation, Fitterer and Trent Kirchner have been instrumental in building the roster.

After 16 years with the Panthers, Cowden was hired by the Titans in 2016 to oversee all areas of the scouting department, including collegiate scouting, NFL scouting, advance scouting, and international scouting for the draft, free agency, and upcoming opponents. Titans GM Jon Robinson offered glowing praise of Cowden at the time of the hire.

When I was first hired by the Patriots, Ryan was promoted by Carolina to handle the Southeast and we cut our teeth together in that region scouting,” Robinson said. “We were both learning the ropes, going to many of the same places and had a lot of interaction through the years on the road. He has a strong eye for talent, he has developed good managerial skills over the years and in the team-building process it will be nice to get his take, as they have put together very good teams there in Carolina over the years.”

Colts Request Interviews With Trent Kirchner, Scott Fitterer, George Paton

The Colts are invading the 49ers’ turf after establishing a GM search party nearly three weeks later. The team has requested interviews with three candidates on the 49ers’ initial list, including one that’s believed to be a finalist for the San Francisco job.

Indianapolis has requested interviews with Vikings assistant GM George Paton and the Seahawks’ co-directors of player personnel — Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer — according to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter links).

Fitterer will interview for the position, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets, and the summit with the Colts is scheduled for Thursday.

This makes four known candidates for Indianapolis’ newly available GM job, with internal candidate Jimmy Raye III believed to be holding an early lead. However, the Colts are planning to interview four or five candidates, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, expecting some of these summits to occur in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl. Rapoport expects plenty of overlap in the two teams’ GM searches.

Paton remains in the running for the 49ers’ job after advancing through the first round of interviews. He joins Cardinals exec Terry McDonough as those considered to be finalists for the Bay Area vacancy. Kirchner bowed out of the 49ers’ GM race shortly after Tom Cable withdrew from the head coaching search, while Fitterer did not advance to the finalist stage, joining Raye in that regard. Fitterer dropped out of the running for an Eagles executive position last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Narrow General Manager Search

The 49ers have informed several candidates from their general manager search that they’re out of the running for the job, per a team announcement.

49ers Helmet (Featured)

“The 49ers pared down its list of general manager candidates (Wednesday) morning and thanked those who will not be included in the second round of interviews,” tweeted 49ers spokeman Bob Lange. “Upcoming interviews will be announced as they were in the first round.”

Specifically, the Niners will not invite Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane, Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Colts vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III or ESPN analyst Louis Riddick back for second interviews, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).

Even before San Francisco eliminated those four from its GM mix, each seemingly had slim odds to land the role. Packers director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst emerged as the favorite earlier this week, and the Niners will also reportedly hold second meetings with Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Vikings assistant GM George Paton next week. Those interviews will take place in Atlanta, where Kyle Shanahan coaches. The current Falcons offensive coordinator is the only candidate left for the 49ers’ head coaching position, and he’s set to help the team’s management pick a GM.

Along with Gutekunst, Wolf and Paton, Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is still in play, per Barrows. However, the 49ers have not yet requested another sitdown with him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kyle Shanahan Likely To Become 49ers’ HC

As of Tuesday evening, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan wasn’t a lock to accept the 49ers’ forthcoming offer to become their head coach. However, Shanahan’s now “almost certain” to take the job, reports Mike Silver of NFL.com.

Kyle Shanahan

With Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable having withdrawn from the race this week, Shanahan is the last man standing among the eight candidates the 49ers have interviewed. The rest have accepted head coaching positions elsewhere. Thus, in the unlikely event Shanahan turns San Francisco down, it would send CEO Jed York and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe scrambling to hit the reset button on their search to replace Chip Kelly.

The 49ers are also on the hunt for a new general manager, of course, and lost one candidate when Cable’s Seattle colleague, co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, took himself out of consideration Tuesday. Of the GM possibilities the Niners have considered, Kirchner, fellow Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer and Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard would have preferred to work with Cable, according to Silver. The Chiefs prevented Ballard from talking to the 49ers, though, and awarded him a pay raise as compensation, Silver writes.

Cable has another fan in defensive coordinator-to-be Gus Bradley, who would have gone to San Francisco had it hired Cable. Instead, after Cable dropped out of contention Tuesday, Bradley spurned the 49ers when they asked if he’d be interested in teaming with Shanahan. It appears, then, that Bradley will become the Chargers’ D-coordinator.

Shanahan is currently preparing for Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Falcons and Packers. If Atlanta advances to Super Bowl LI, the 49ers wouldn’t be able to hire him until after Feb. 5. Regardless, he’ll have a second interview with the Niners next week and will discuss GM choices with team brass. Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst remains the favorite, relays Silver, who adds that Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Vikings assistant GM George Paton are also strong contenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: 49ers, Rams, Joseph, Raiders

The only team with GM and head coaching vacancies, the 49ers have several interviews on the east coast forthcoming in the next few days. On Monday, San Francisco’s brass will meet with Redskins OC Sean McVay for the HC job and conduct an interview with Panthers assistant general manager Brandon Beane for the GM position, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports.

Panthers DC Sean McDermott will follow Beane by meeting with the 49ers about their HC gig on Tuesday, and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick will interview for the GM position during the day as well. The 49ers may not be in a rush, being scheduled to interview Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable next Sunday. The following Monday, the team will meet with more GM candidates. Both of the Seahawks’ co-directors of player personnel, Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner, will interview then in what’s become quite the expansive search.

CEO Jed York and fellow high-ranking 49ers staffer Paraag Marathe are leading this search, one that may come down to whether or not the team is willing to wait on Patriots OC Josh McDaniels to conclude his 2016-season responsibilities. The 49ers have already interviewed three for the HC position and four execs for the GM job.

Here’s more from some of the Western-division franchises.

  • Vance Joseph‘s long-rumored Broncos interview will be on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Joseph will follow Chiefs ST coordinator Dave Toub and Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan in interviewing for this position. The Colorado alum and current Miami DC has been most connected with the Denver job and was viewed as the favorite going into the weekend.
  • Despite deploying defensive player of the year candidate Khalil Mack and signing Bruce Irvin in free agency, the Raiders finished with a league-low 25 sacks. Jack Del Rio singled out the team’s inside pass-rushers as a culprit for this shortcoming. “Interior pass rush, it’s critical for us to get that going,” Del Rio said, via Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News. “I think Stacy McGee had 2.5 sacks, we got Mario Edwards Jr. back and he wasn’t a huge factor, and (Jihad Ward) wasn’t a huge factor. I didn’t feel we got that inside push.” The Raiders have several young players under contract here, including Denico Autry and full-time defensive tackles Dan Williams and Justin Ellis, but Mack and Irvin combined to record 18 of the team’s sacks.
  • Derek Carr, who said he would have played in the Super Bowl had the Raiders miraculously qualified without him, said he will be ready for the beginning of offseason workouts in April, Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area reports.
  • Teryl Austin has set up an interview time with the Chargers, with a Tuesday summit on tap. But the Rams‘ meeting the sides have been attached to remains in the to-be-determined category, ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson tweets. A Rams-Kyle Shanahan interview hasn’t been officially rescheduled, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link), after weather interrupted the team’s contingent after a McDaniels meeting in New England.