Trent Kirchner

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.

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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.

East Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Hackenberg, Jets

Jerry Jones offered a measured response to Roger Goodell‘s new extension when asked about it on Friday morning.

“No, I don’t really [have any comment],” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan (transcript via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News). “We’re having a very important [owners] meeting here in Dallas next week beginning Wednesday. That’s very meaningful. I’m looking forward to that. That’ll be very meaningful as we go forward. One of the things that I think that has been mentioned is any role that I might have had in the extension of Roger. As you know, I’ve been on both ends of it as far as any criticism. It’s been my experience in 30 years in the NFL that to make change and to make positive change — every time we all strive to make the NFL better, I include every owner with that — it’s hard. It’s very, very hard. If you really want to make some changes, you usually end up getting a lot of criticism along the way. It’s happened every time with me when we’ve had meaningful change. … We’ll see how it goes forward, but there’s nothing that has surprised me here.”

While Jones seethes behind closed doors, let’s take a look at the latest from the East divisions:

  • Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com spoke with people around the league to size up some potential candidates for the Giants‘ GM vacancy. The names he’s hearing include Eliot Wolf (Packers), Nick Caserio (Patriots), Scott Pioli (Falcons), Trent Kirchner (Seahawks), Dave Gettleman (ex-Panthers GM), Louis Riddick (currently with ESPN), and internal candidates Kevin Abrams and Marc Ross.
  • Can Christian Hackenberg still be the Jets‘ quarterback of the future? The former second round pick has yet to see the field, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News won’t rule out the possibility that he could be in the mix next season. For his part, Hackenberg admits that he is anxious to take an NFL snap. “In order to grow and learn, you need to get hit in your mouth,” Hackenberg said. “You need to fail. Then you grow from that. There’s really no intimidation. I got to experience things. I felt like I experienced a lot of really good things this preseason and some things I need to learn from. That’s all part of the process. If you don’t experience both ends of the spectrum, you’re not getting everything out of the adventure.”

Browns Eyeing Ex-Chiefs GM John Dorsey

The Browns’ GM search is underway and we already have word on a potential frontrunner for the job. The Browns are eyeing former Chiefs GM John Dorsey and he is expected to emerge as a leading contender for the job, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter and Dianna RussiniJohn Dorsey (vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Fire VP Sashi Brown]

Owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife Dee Haslam are expected to interview candidates as early as this week, sources tell the duo. The early interviews may also include Seahawks executive Trent Kirchner and Packers executive Eliot Wolf, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

In his statement announcing the firing of Sashi Brown, Haslam said that he would be looking for “someone with strong experience and success in drafting and building consistently winning football teams.” Dorsey fits the bill, though he is not without his critics. Dorsey was canned by Kansas City late last offseason, reportedly because of his overly loose management style. The Chiefs also did a poor job of managing the salary cap, though that supposedly did not factor heavily into Clark Hunt’s decision fire him.

Because of the team is making experience a requirement, it sounds like former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will not be considered for the job. Throughout the year, there were rumblings of Haslam working to lure Manning, potentially by offering a small stake in the team. Instead, it appears that the Browns will be making a more traditional hire.

Whoever takes over for Brown in Cleveland will have a lot going for them (in theory). In the 2018 draft, the Brows have an enviable stockpile including an extra first-round pick, two additional second round picks, a fourth-round choice, and a fifth-round selection. They could also have nearly $100MM in cap space, though it’s not a given that Haslam will spend it all.

Potential Candidates For Panthers GM Job

To the surprise of many, the Panthers are in search of a new general manager. It’s too early to know who will be in the mix for the job, but speculation is already rampant among those in the know. Here are the early potential candidates for Carolina:

  • Seahawks executive Trent Kirchner spent eight years in Carolina as a scout and could be among those considered, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. Kirchner interviewed for the Colts and 49ers GM positions earlier this offseason before they went to Chris Ballard and John Lynch, respectively.
  • Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden and Panthers director of player personnel Don Gregory are two names to watch, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Cowden was among those to interview for the Chiefs vacancy this summer and spent 16 years working for the Panthers before joining Tennessee.
  • The Panthers’ highest ranking personnel executive left in the building Mark Koncz, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. He was promoted to personnel director in May from pro director.
  • It’s “just a hunch,” but Alex Marvez of The Sporting News (on Twitter) wouldn’t be surprised if former Chiefs GM John Dorsey ultimately becomes the Panthers’ next GM.
  • The Panthers likely going to go with an interim GM rather than rush to a decision one month before the season starts, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets. With that in mind, former GM Marty Hurney makes some sense. Hurney, who was relieved of his post as GM during the 2012 season, currently works for ESPN Radio in Charlotte. Under his watch, the Panthers drafted some of the team’s biggest stars, including Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, and Thomas Davis.

Colts’ GM Candidates List Includes Kirchner, Excludes DeCosta

The Colts have a list of six names they will interview for their vacant GM position. Jim Irsay confirmed Seahawks co-player personnel director Trent Kirchner as one of the six candidates, joining the remainder of a sextet that was each connected to the 49ers’ GM job.

The lone name connected to the Colts’ search the 49ers didn’t pursue, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, doesn’t appear among the candidates. So, it’s relatively safe to assume DeCosta’s trend of turning down interview requests continued despite his friendship with Chuck Pagano. DeCosta looks set to begin a 22nd season with the Ravens and a sixth as Ozzie Newsome‘s right-hand man. He’s viewed as a potential successor to Newsome when the Hall of Famer decides to step down.

Kirchner withdrew from the 49ers’ search last week but will see if the Colts’ job appeals to him. The seven-year Seahawks staffer will have some company, the remainder of whom we previously heard would interview for the latest NFL GM vacancy.

Kirchner’s co-player personnel director mate in Seattle, Scott Fitterer, will interview for the job. Vikings assistant GM George Paton, Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf, Chiefs player personnel director Chris Ballard and Colts interim GM/vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III comprise the rest of the list. Paton is the only name in this group who is a finalist for the 49ers’ job. He will meet with the 49ers for a second time on Saturday, joining Cardinals exec Terry McDonough in doing so.

Ballard is set to interview for the Colts’ job today, with Paton expected to follow suit either today or Thursday. Wolf’s interview will occur later this week as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

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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.

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No Guarantee Shanahan Accepts 49ers Job?

Now that Tom Cable and Josh McDaniels have each dropped out of the 49ers’ head coaching search, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is the last man standing and is fully expected to be offered the position. However, Shanahan is not a lock to accept the job, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links), who notes that an upcoming meeting between the two parties could play a key role in Shanahan’s decision.Kyle Shanahan (Vertical)

[RELATED: 2017 Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Shanahan will reportedly discuss potential general manager candidates with San Francisco management during his second interview, and the 49ers are now narrowing down their list of executives, tweets Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner withdrew his name from the search earlier today, but four other candidates — Brian Gutekunst (Packers), Terry McDonough (Cardinals), George Paton (Vikings) and Eliot Wolf (Packers) — all had “strong” initial interviews, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

According to Barrows, Kirchner believed that he and Cable were being used as something of pawns in order to drive Shanahan’s contract demands down. Shanahan does have tremendous leverage, as La Canfora adds (Twitter link), and would certainly be in high demand as a head coach in 2018. But the 49ers job is his last chance to land a head coaching gig during this hiring cycle, as every other vacancy has been filled.

If Shanahan does turn down the 49ers, San Francisco would truly return to square one. Outside of Cable and McDaniels, every other coaching candidate the club interviewed (or had planned to interview), including Doug Marrone, Vance Joseph, Sean McVay, Sean McDermott, and Anthony Lynn, has been hired elsewhere.

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Kirchner Withdraws From 49ers’ GM Search

A day after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels took himself out of the running for the 49ers’ head coaching vacancy, Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner has withdrawn from their general manager search, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Kirchner interviewed with the Niners on Monday, but he’s content to remain with NFC West rival Seattle and continue working under GM John Schneider.

49ers Helmet (Featured)

Kirchner is one of nine candidates the 49ers have spoken with regarding their GM position. Scott Fitterer, Kirchner’s fellow director of player personnel with the Seahawks, has also met with San Francisco brass. Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst is reportedly the front-runner for the position, however, so it appears Seattle will keep its front office intact. That could bode poorly for Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable‘s chances of landing the Niners’ head coaching job, for which he and Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan are the finalists.

Niners CEO Jed York and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe have admitted during head coaching interviews that their roster is “in shambles,” but both that gig and the franchise’s GM role carry appeal. York and Marathe have promised to exercise patience and spend money to improve the roster, and the 49ers are set to enter the offseason with an NFC-high $77MM-plus in cap space. They’re also armed with the second overall pick in the draft. We now know that Kirchner won’t be the one making that selection.

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