NFL: Potential New York Jets GM Candidates

After firing Mike Maccagnan as their General Manager, the New York Jets began the search for his replacement. A few names surfaced quickly, but after going through three GMs in the last seven years, they need to get this hire right.

Complicating matters is new Head Coach Adam Gase, who seems to be intent on controlling the roster. With a young Quarterback on his rookie deal, the Jets need to find someone that can manage not only the scouting and roster, but also the complex situation.

Media Personalities

In typical Jets’ headline-grabbing fashion, some of the early names that emerged were two media personalities, Peter Schrager and Daniel Jeremiah. After other recent media personality hires in John Lynch and Mike Mayock, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see other teams go a similar route. However, both men were quick to quell any possibility they would take the vacancy. Without a large roster-building role as the new GM, neither would have been a suitable fit either.

Interview Requests

Instead, the Jets have requested interviews with four current people involved in personnel roles: George Paton (Minnesota Vikings), Scott Fitterer (Seattle Seahawks), Champ Kelly (Chicago Bears), Joe Douglas (Philadelphia Eagles). Fitterer and Douglas both have won Super Bowls with their respective teams already, and Fitterer has previously been interviewed by teams for GM positions. Both would provide a stable eye on how to manage roster needs, while also understanding how to capitalize on having a QB on a rookie deal.

Of the other two candidates, Paton is the more experienced candidate but seems to be following the Eric DeCosta GM-in-waiting path. As Assistant GM for the Vikings, Paton has been offered interviews before, but has rarely accepted them. However, he has overseen the building of one of the best rosters in the league, and has contributed to shaping the Vikings into a perennial playoff team. Kelly, on the other hand, has been in multiple roles during his time in Chicago, but lacks the experience that the other three candidates possess. Kelly would also be more focused on personnel decisions, which could conflict with Gase’s designs.

Backup Candidates

If the Jets fail to land one of their preferred candidates, there is a good pool of other qualified candidates. However, some, such as the New England Patriots’ Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio, are virtually impossible – in this case because of the divisional rivalry. Others, like Omar Khan (Pittsburgh Steelers Vice President of Football and Business Administration) have been in their current position too long to leave for a potentially unstable situation.

This instead leaves only a handful of backup candidates. The Vikings could have a second potential candidate in Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski. Brzezinski has largely been responsible for the Vikings salary cap. He would potentially complement Gase’s control over the roster with managing the contracts. However, he has little experience in scouting and talent evaluation, making him a risky hire.

Alternatively, there are a few other names that have sparked interest in previous GM searches. Baltimore Ravens’ Vince Newsome and Cleveland Browns’ Eliot Wolf have been named as potential candidates before. Newsome is now the number two guy behind Ravens’ GM Eric DeCosta. While he may be happy with that role, he won’t have an opportunity to advance any time soon. Likewise, Wolf has interviewed for positions before but has been unsuccessful each time. Both men have been in successful organisations and have seen good roster development. It’s most likely only a matter of time before they become GMs somewhere.

Long Shots

The final two names that may be overlooked now, but will likely arise later this year, are the Atlanta Falcons’ Joel Collier and Los Angeles Rams Brian Xanders. The latter was formerly the GM in Denver, and helped amass a large degree of talent, including Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas and other Pro Bowlers, in addition to a Super Bowl victory. This was also the time when Gase was coaching in Denver, adding to the likelihood he lands an interview. Serving under Les Snead in LA, Xanders should have developed further experience to potentially return to a GM position somewhere.

As Director of Pro Personnel, Joel Collier has seen fairly steady improvements to the Falcons’ roster. Coupled with his experience as a coach at different levels, Collier provides a unique perspective to the position of GM. This could help him work with Gase to figure out how to build the roster, or result in conflict. Going against him though is his lack of recognition as a potential GM, and he may need more time to prove himself.

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