With the dust settling in NFL front offices, I thought it would be interesting to look at the general managers hired in the last three years. Where do they come from? What do they have in common? What do NFL teams seem to be looking for in the best candidates?
To answer these questions, we came up with this graphic comparing the 10 GMs hired in the last three years. The 10: Ray Farmer (Browns) and Jason Licht (Bucs) in 2014; Mike Maccagnan (Jets), Scot McCloughan (Redskins) and Ryan Pace (Bears) in 2015; and Sashi Brown (Browns), Chris Grier (Dolphins), Bob Quinn (Lions), Jon Robinson (Titans) and Howie Roseman (Eagles) this year.
Here’s what we came up with:
Finished at 50: The oldest GM hired in the last three years is Maccagnan at 47, and his hiring comes with a bit of an asterisk because his relationship to the man conducting the Jets’ search (former Texans and Redskins GM Charley Casserly) was central to his selection. Second-oldest is new Fins GM Grier, and like Maccagnan he’s a bit of an outlier because the real iron in Miami’s front office belongs to Mike Tannenbaum, the team’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Toss out those two, and average age of the last six GMs hired is 40. In fact, all four GMs hired this year (except Grier) have been 40.
Patriotic: Four of the 10 on the list had experience at New England on their respective resumes. Two others, Farmer and Pace, had the Belichick ‘scent’ as Farmer worked under ex-Pats executive Scott Pioli during his time in Kansas City while Pace was schooled in the Parcells way in New Orleans by head coach Sean Payton. The other four are outliers for different reasons. Brown and Roseman both earned the trust of ownership and worked their way into the GM position from within, while Maccagnan benefitted from his time with Casserly and McCloughan had a different, though substantial, pedigree from his status as a Ron Wolf protege.
Some experience necessary: Though all 10 could be considered experienced in league circles, none could be considered an old hand, per se. Only four (Grier, Licht, Maccagnan and McCloughan) had more than two decades in NFL front offices when they were hired. On the other end of the spectrum, the Browns hired not one, but two, GMs in the last three years who had 14 years or less in pro football management. Farmer and Brown combined for 26 years’ experience. That’s just two more years than Maccagnan and McCloughan each had (24) when they were hired.
There’s plenty more to know about the men who are being hired as general managers these days. We develop it a bit more in our Friday Wrap, a free weekly newsletter that goes out to more than 3,000 people all around the game. Want in? Register here.