Buccaneers Rumors

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Trade Candidate(s): Buccaneers’ O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate

To say that the Buccaneers are stacked at tight end would be a gross understatement. Even before the Bucs reunited Tom Brady with longtime teammate and bro Rob Gronkowski, they had the formidable 1-2 combo of O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Weeks after the draft, the Bucs still have that ludicrously talented TE trio in place. Logically, at least one of them probably has to go…and it obviously won’t be Gronk. 

The Buccaneers listened on trade offers for Brate and Howard towards the end of last month, but they didn’t get any offers to their liking. Publicly, the Bucs said they were okay with having all three TEs on the roster. Then, before the early May deadline, they exercised Howard’s fifth-year option for 2021. This doesn’t automatically mean that Brate is the odd man out, or that they’ll commit a total of ~$20MM to the position. Howard’s option – guaranteed for injury only – doesn’t hamper the Bucs’ ability to trade him. Also, this surplus of TEs would be opulent, even by Brady’s standards.

Howard, ostensibly, holds more trade value than Brate. The Alabama product hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing, but he’s flashed serious ability and uncommon athleticism for a 6’6″ receiver. The Bills saw that first-hand last year, as Howard went off for six catches, 98 yards, and two scores in Buffalo. And, roughly one year earlier against the Eagles, he got nearly as many yards, just with better efficiency – three catches for 96 yards, mostly thanks to a 75-yard connection with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Teams aren’t sleeping on Brate, either. It’s true that he’ll turn 29 in July (Howard won’t be 26 until November), but he’s a proven playmaker and blocker. Between 2016 and 2017, he averaged 52 catches for 625 yards and seven TDs. After that, the Bucs rewarded him with a six-year, $41MM deal, including $18MM guaranteed. He’s been slowed by a surgically-repaired hip, but he’s more than a year removed from the operating table. It also helps that the Bucs restructured his deal in January. The exact terms of the restructure aren’t clear, but he’s probably on the books for less than the $4.5MM in guaranteed dollars he was slated for.

Howard wouldn’t be especially pricey for other teams, either – his rookie deal calls for a 2020 cap hit of just $3.5MM. The Bucs, meanwhile, would carry a $1.5MM charge for trading him.

The Bucs didn’t find any worthwhile deals for them in April, but interest should pick up between now and September. Even after drafting Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara in the third round, the Packers could use a high-end TE to pair with Marcedes Lewis. The Bengals may also want to give the Bucs a call as they look to surround Joe Burrow with extra artillery. The list goes on. Depending on the asking price, the Bucs could have a market of 20+ teams for either Howard or Brate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/4/20

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Wells is returning to Tampa Bay on a one-year deal, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Wells spent the 2019 campaign with the Bucs, starting two of his 13 games. He previously spent five seasons with the Jaguars, appearing in 39 games (nine starts).

Murphy had a solid run with the Bills back in 2018, rushing for 250 yards on 52 carries. After getting cut by Buffalo prior to the 2019 regular season, Murphy didn’t find a deal until inking a futures contract with the Panthers in December.

McNichols, a 2017 fifth-round pick, has four career carries. He’s spent time with seven organizations during his career.

Buccaneers Sign 13 UDFAs

After adding seven rookies via the 2020 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers announced the signing of nine undrafted free agents today:

Sinnett is naturally one of the most notable name on the list, as the quarterback guided the University of San Diego to the FCS playoffs after tossing 3,528 yards and 32 touchdowns. While he’s unlikely to crack a roster that includes Tom BradyBlaine Gabbert, and Ryan Griffin, it sounds like the Bucs want to hang on to a developmental QB on their practice squad.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle previously reported (via Twitter) that Sinnett will earn $152K in guaranteed money.

Jonsen proved to be a Swiss Army Knife during his time at Montana State, as he finished the 2019 campaign with 580 receiving yards and 527 rushing yards. He also completed six of his seven pass attempts for 64 yards and one score.

UPDATE

The Bucs announced the signing of four additional UDFAs:

  • John Hurst, WR (West Georgia)
  • Nick Leverett, G (Rice)
  • Parnell Motley, CB (Oklahoma)
  • Josh Pearson, WR (Jacksonville State)

Buccaneers Claim K Elliott Fry

Earlier this week, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said he planned to bring in competition for Matt Gay. The Bucs are doing so via the waiver wire, claiming recently cut Panthers kicker Elliott Fry, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Fry has not yet kicked in a regular-season game. He spent four years as South Carolina’s kicker, entering the NFL as a UDFA in 2018. The Bucs will be his fourth NFL team.

Fry, 25, kicked in the short-lived Alliance of American Football then caught on with the Bears and Ravens in 2019. He then participated in several workouts but did not land a deal. The Panthers signed him to a reserve/futures contract. At South Carolina, he made 66 of 88 field goals. The former walk-on earned second-team All-SEC acclaim in 2014.

Tampa Bay has not enjoyed two straight seasons of kicker continuity since Connor Barth served in this capacity from 2009-12. The Bucs drafted Roberto Aguayo in Round 2 in 2016, but after that investment bombed, the team used multiple kickers in 2017 and ’18. Last season, Gay missed eight field goals and five extra points.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Bucs, Brady

Despite the three Pro Bowl selections on his resume, Larry Warford‘s standing with the Saints is in flux. The Saints have been pondering his status throughout the offseason, according to Larry Holder of The Athletic.

Warford has started in every game he’s played throughout his career, including these last three Pro Bowl seasons with the Saints. Still, Sean Payton followed through on his promise to prioritize the interior line by drafting center Cesar Ruiz in the first round. He’s also indicated that Ruiz could be a first-stringer and that Warford will have to compete for his starting gig.

Warford is still on the right side of 30 (he turns 29 in June), but the Saints aren’t sold on him. It’s a situation to monitor as he enters the final year of the four-year, $34MM deal he inked as a free agent in 2017. If released, Warford would count for $5.125MM in dead money versus $7.75MM in cap savings.

The Saints are giving real thought to shedding that deal, especially with a combined $28MM committed to Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat in 2020. They also have an extension on the horizon for standout tackle Ryan Ramczyk, who just recently had his 2021 option exercised.

More from the NFC South:

  • When Tom Brady visited Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, he accidentally walked into the wrong house. He also triggered some questions regarding league rules, since the visit occurred during the league’s “dark period” prior to virtual offseason activities. However, the league looked into it and determined that there were no rule violations, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The NFL has also determined that the Saints‘ signing of Jameis Winston will not count against their compensatory formula (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of New Orleans Football). It’s not clear whether Winston’s signing was actually borderline in this regard – his deal was reportedly signed after the deadline for the compensatory pick formula, which should have made this an automatic. In any case, Winston is now set to watch and learn from Drew Brees on his one-year contract.
  • Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are hoping to finally figure out their kicking situation. They’re hopeful that Matt Gay will improve this year, GM Jason Licht says, but the Bucs are also “definitely planning on adding competition,” (via the Tampa Bay Times). Gay made only 27 of 35 field goals last year, but he did nail five of his tries from 50 yards out.

Buccaneers Eyeing Chris Godwin Extension

Chris Godwin put together one of 2019’s top breakout seasons and represented a key selling point for Tom Brady. Now, the Buccaneers would like to extend their third-round receiver find.

Tampa Bay is planning to discuss a long-term contract for Godwin, who is entering the final season of rookie deal.

First of all, we love Chris. Everybody and anybody in the organization can tell you that Chris is a huge piece of this team and and Chris is an impact player at the position,” Bucs GM Jason Licht said Wednesday (via the Tampa Bay Times). “I’ve personally told Chris we want him to be here long-term and be a Buccaneer for life.

In terms of when that happens? I can’t tell you right now when those talks will officially begin. But I do know that he is in our plans for the long-term.”

No negotiations have begun, however, Licht added. Prior to the start of this year’s free agency period, a Godwin re-up was not believed to be a front-burner item. But now that the Bucs have taken care of key 2020 UFAs and signed Brady, a Godwin deal likely resides as a higher priority.

Godwin is set to earn $2.33MM in 2020. That is up considerably from his $875K 2019 salary, but Godwin’s 1,333-yard season (in 14 games) elevated his value far beyond that price. Godwin showed considerable promise in 2018, totaling 842 yards on a Bucs team that still employed DeSean Jackson. After the Bucs traded Jackson last offseason, Godwin broke through and made his first Pro Bowl.

The Bucs have Mike Evans attached to a $16.5MM-per-year deal. With Brady in the fold, it certainly would point to the team extending Godwin’s deal beyond this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Pick Up O.J. Howard’s Fifth-Year Option

The subject of trade rumors this year and before the 2019 deadline, O.J. Howard‘s future in Tampa Bay is uncertain. But the Bucs will pick up Howard’s fifth-year option, per a team announcement.

This will keep Howard under Bucs control through the 2021 season. While the new CBA mandates fifth-year options become fully guaranteed, the 2017 first-round class will be grandfathered in under the old system. Howard’s 2021 salary will be guaranteed for injury only, giving the Bucs flexibility.

Howard’s option will be worth just more than $6MM. Even though Howard has not been a focal point in Bruce Arians‘ offense, that represents an affordable price. For the time being, Howard is part of one of the highest-profile tight end groups in modern NFL history. He, Cameron Brate and the recently acquired Rob Gronkowski comprise said group. Brate is set to make $4.25MM in 2020; Gronk will count $9.25MM toward Tampa Bay’s cap. Howard will count just $3.5MM in 2020.

Jason Licht said recently the Bucs plan to team up Howard and Gronkowski. This, however, came shortly after a report indicated the team nearly traded Howard for then-Redskins tackle Trent Williams. Considering Gronk retired largely because of health concerns 13 months ago, it would make sense the Bucs keep he and Brate for insurance purposes. But it remains possible either Howard or Brate is shipped out.

The former Alabama tight end caught 34 passes for 565 yards in just 10 games in 2018, looking like a budding standout in Dirk Koetter‘s final season in Tampa. But an injury cut his season short. While Howard matched that catch total last season, it took him 14 games to do so during an up-and-down campaign. He stands to be one of Tom Brady‘s weapons this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Realistic Trade Offers For O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate

The Buccaneers have about $20MM of salary cap space tied up at the tight end position between Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate, and there was plenty of speculation that the club could look to deal either Howard or Brate now that Gronk is in the fold.

However, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, no realistic trade options presented themselves to Tampa (Twitter link). We heard a few days ago that the team nearly dealt Howard to the Redskins in exchange for Trent Williams back in February, so Fowler’s report may simply mean that no viable trade proposals surfaced after the Gronk acquisition on April 21 and throughout this weekend’s draft. In any event, it looks as if Tom Brady will have all three players at his disposal in 2020.

Fowler adds that the Bucs never felt the need to trade a tight end and that they are comfortable with their significant financial investment in the position. But it’s not as though they really have a choice. It’s much more likely that an opposing team would pursue Howard instead of Brate, and Howard carries a 2020 cap charge of just $3.5MM, $1.5MM of which would remain on the Bucs’ cap even if he were traded. One way or another, the overall TE cap hit is significant, so it makes sense to simply give Brady as many options as possible and to see if he can help Howard start to realize his potential. GM Jason Licht acknowledged as much several hours before this year’s draft got underway.

It remains unclear if the Bucs will pick up Howard’s fifth-year option for 2021. Though the option would be guaranteed for injury only since Howard was a 2017 draft choice, the Alabama product has not lived up to his status as a first-round selection, so his future in Tampa remains up in the air.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.