The Washington Football Team’s search for a new GM is expanding quickly and we have three new names added to the list. They join the previously reported candidates Ryan Cowden and Martin Mayhew. Cowden was interviewed on Thursday, and Mayhew is expected to be interviewed on Saturday.
The first newly reported candidate is Atlanta Falcons Director of Football Operations Nick Polk. He has been the Director of Football Operations for over a decade, and according to his bio works closely with GM Thomas Dimitroff on contract proposals, negotiations, and salary cap management. He also has experience working in NFL Europe and the Arena League. Polk also has experience coaching at several colleges.
Nick Polk enters his 11th season as director of football operations in 2018. He spent five seasons as the club’s director of football administration and enters his 16th year overall with the team. He works closely with General Manager Thomas Dimitroff on all contract proposals, negotiations, and salary cap management. Polk also helps coordinate the Falcons compliance with the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement and labor-related issues. Aside from his football operations duties with the Falcons, Polk was responsible for all aspects of the football operations of the Georgia Force, namely; scouting, player selection and development, coach, and player contracts. The Force won the Southern Division title, the National Conference Championship and advanced to Arena Bowl XIX in 2005. Prior to arriving in Atlanta, Polk served as the director of football operations for NFL Europe for four years where he directed all of the NFL Europe League Football Operations.
Polk’s time at the League included serving on the NFL Diversity Committee, assisting in football operations at Super Bowl XXXVII and Super Bowl XXXVIII, as well as working as an NFL instant replay communicator for two seasons. He also participated in the inaugural class of the NFL Managers Training program at the Stanford Executive Education Graduate School of Business and in the NFL’s Career Development Symposium at Wharton Business school in 2014 . Polk was previously head football coach at his alma mater, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, for four years. He earned a degree in health and physical education and went on to gain a master’s degree in physical education/higher education from James Madison University. He spent five years at JMU as a graduate assistant/restricted earnings coach in the secondary, defensive line, and linebacker positions. He also served in different coaching roles at Brown University, Delaware State University and Southern Connecticut State University.
The second new candidate that has been reported is Los Angeles Chargers Director of Player Personnel JoJo Wooden who heads up the team’s pro and college scouting. He has been with them since 2013, and spent the previous 16 years with the New York Jets. Wooden’s started as a pro personnel scout/executive, but also handled college scouting during his last 6 years in New Jersey.
Wooden joined the Chargers in 2013 and oversees the team’s pro and college scouting departments.
Prior to Los Angeles, he spent 16 seasons with the New York Jets (1997-12), including the last six as their assistant director, player personnel. He originally joined the Jets in 1997 and served as a pro personnel assistant (1997-98), pro scout (1999-00), senior pro scout/AFC (2001-02), assistant director of pro scouting (2003) and director of pro scouting (2004-06).
A native of Hartford, Conn., Wooden started two seasons at outside linebacker at Syracuse. The Orangemen went to five bowl games during his time with the team and posted back-to-back 10-2 seasons during his junior and senior seasons, finishing both years ranked nationally in the Top-10. After graduating with a degree in sociology, he went to training camp with the Arizona Cardinals in 1993.
The third new name on the GM search list is a current employee of the Washington Football Team, but not the one that some fans have been wanting to get the job. Eric Stokes was hired in July a sexual harassments scandal led to Washington firing Director of Pro Personnel Alex Santos and Assistant Director of Pro Personnel Richard Mann II. Stokes was the Carolina Panthers Director of College Scouting, but was hired as Washington’s Director of Pro Scouting.
Kyle Smith has been a part of the Washington organization for 11 years, and has seen his star rise quickly over the last few years. He has been running the team’s drafts for the last three years, and got a promotion to Vice President of Player Personnel when Ron Rivera was hired. He has worked closely with Rivera to build the team the way the head coach wants it.
There have been mixed signals from Rivera regarding Smith’s future with the team, and possible promotion to GM. Now it appears that Smith isn’t even on the consideration list, but an executive who has been there for less than a year is. This is not a good sign for Smith, but doesn’t mean he is leaving the organization.
While Stokes is in the mix, there has been no indication that Washington’s vice president of player personnel, Kyle Smith, who ranks higher than Stokes in the department, will be interviewed.
A few names that have been rumored or speculated to be possibilities haven’t been contacted by Washington yet. John Keim said that Buffalo Bills Assistant GM Joe Schoen and Indianapolis Colts Director of College Scouting Morocco Brown would both make sense as outside hires. Brown was the Director of Pro Personnel for Washington, and was a respected member of the organization.
Another name that hasn’t received an interview request that has been reported is former Carolina Panthers GM Marty Hurney. He has an extensive history with Ron Rivera from his two stints with Carolina. Many people have speculated that he could be brought in as GM or as a senior executive/advisor.
Who will be Washington’s new GM?
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