Scott Fitterer

Browns To Interview Ed Dodds For GM Opening

We’ve got our first known candidate for the Browns’ general manager vacancy. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the organization has requested permission to interview Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds. Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets that the Colts have granted the Browns permission to interview the executive.

Perhaps even more notably, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Browns head coaching candidate (and current 49ers defensive coordinator) Robert Saleh showed interest in being paired with Dodds in Cleveland. Saleh and Dodds both worked together during their stint in Seattle. Rapoport adds that

Dodds was considered one of the top scouts in the NFL during his 10 seasons in Seattle. During his time with the Seahawks, he served in a variety of roles, including senior personnel executive. Dodds joined the Colts back in 2017, and he was promoted to assistant GM the following year.

We heard earlier today that the organization was starting to ramp up their efforts to find a replacement for John Dorsey, who the team parted ways with in late December. While the order of operations may sound a bit weird, the Browns had always planned to complete their head coaching search before hiring a GM.

Dodds is the first known contender for the GM opening, and it sounds like the Browns organization has an affinity for former Seahawks executives. We previously heard that Seattle’s co-directors of player personnel, Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, are two well-respected executives who could emerge as leading candidates for the GM gig. Rapoport tweets that the duo could also be paired with Saleh, as could 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Notes: GM Search, DePodesta, McCarthy, Saleh, Daboll

While the primary focus in Cleveland remains on their search for a new head coach, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the Browns could have their eyes on a pair of front-office employees with the Seahawks for their general managerial opening. Via Garafolo’s report, Seattle’s co-directors of player personnel, Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, are two well-respected executives that could emerge as leading candidates.

Here’s more notes from the Browns organization:

  • NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport noted that two head coaching candidates in the Browns search that align with Kirchner and Fitterer are former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. McCarthy’s connection to the two Seattle executives is unclear, but Saleh started his coaching career in Seattle and has built his defensive scheme upon the Seahawks 4-3 at the peak of the “Legion of Boom.”
  • The Browns pushed back their interview with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for Cleveland’s head coaching position, according to Ian Rapaport of NFL.com. Daboll remains a candidate, but since the Bills were eliminated from the playoffs in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Texans, the team decided to delay his interview to this week so he could meet more of the team’s current front office staff.
  • Browns chief strategist Paul DePodesta has been the center of a lot of coverage surrounding the power struggle in Cleveland. The onetime assistant general manager of the Oakland Athletics is spearheading the Browns head coach search, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, but is not under contract with the team beyond next week. With that said, DePodesta is still wanted in Cleveland and the team may want to extend the executive at the same time of the team’s general manager and head coaching hires to put the organization on the same page.

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.