With the miraculous news that the Snyders are selling Washington’s football team, it’s time to start thinking about how to re-build this franchise from the ground up. You see, with Dan Snyder in charge, the team’s options were limited. A strong man in “complete” charge of football operations - ala Ron Rivera’s current role - was the best possibility in a terrible situation. A younger, less experienced coach would have been completely run over by Snyder and whatever hack general manager he might have brought in as a mini-golf buddy.
Now, however, we’re at the dawn of a new day, when Washington’s new owner can build this team’s football operations properly, and that starts with hiring an accomplished general manager, who can hire his (or her) own head coach, and who can be instrumental in picking Washington’s next quarterback in the 2023 draft.
Current projections are that the new owner should be approved in March 2023, which leaves only about a month before the draft, so it will be critical for the new ownership group to start conversations with prospective employees in the coming month or so, lining up their team so that it is ready to hit the ground running once the purchase approval goes through.
The list below is an incomplete selection of some of the best general manager options that are currently in the league:
Malik Boyd, Bills Senior Director of Pro Scouting
Boyd began his NFL management career with the Colts in 2003, serving under Bill Polian as a scouting assistant for a couple of years. He then moved onto the Cardinals, serving as their Western Regional Scout for several years until being elevated to Assistant Director of Pro Scouting in 2014.
His current position, which he assumed in 2017, is the Director of Pro Scouting with the Buffalo Bills. He was the first executive that Bills’ GM Brandon Beane brought on when he was hired in Buffalo.
In my opinion, Beane is probably the best General Manager in the league at this point. His top lieutenant, Joe Schoen, was grabbed by the Giants last year - and absolutely should have been a target over Martin Mayhew - and Schoen is already enjoying success in New York.
Boyd is probably the next best option from that management tree, and could be a great foundation piece in DC.
The #Texans will be interviewing Malik Boyd for the GM opening and at first, he was a shock to me. But diving into the Bills front office and you'll see they operate in an almost anti-BOB fashion— Jordan Pun (@Texans_Thoughts) January 2, 2021
Read here to see what I mean, and Boyd's great case for GM: https://t.co/dTCfz5zemN pic.twitter.com/yhdnJN0F2Q
Brandon Brown, Giants Assistant General Manager
Brown is still young, having graduated from Fordham in 2010 and then receiving his law degree shortly thereafter. Like Boyd, his full-time NFL experience began with the Colts, starting in their scouting department in 2015.
In 2017, he was hired as the Eagles’ Assistant Director of Pro Scouting and was quickly promoted to Director two years later. By 2021, the Eagles had advanced him to Director of Player Personnel.
Earlier this season, the Giants - now led by Joe Schoen - snagged Brown from the Eagles as their new Assistant General Manager.
An in-depth interview with Brown can be found here, but a snippet is below:
Q: When you scout players, what do you look for?
A: Biggest thing first is guys are smart, tough, dependable. When I say smart, guys are instinctive. Guys, regardless of their physical traits, they’re assignment sound. They’re not having busts. When I say tough, guys that are finishing off plays; guys that are competing on special teams. When you talk about dependable, guys are available to you, one. Guys that have a known track record of not missing time. Guys – whether it’s offense, defense, special teams – they answer the bell on all three phases or all two phases, whatever they’re asked to play. So, that’s the ground layer. And then obviously, it’s the skillset, the attributes, the athleticism, the speed, the explosiveness – all the things– the size, the length, all those things that come together from the physical tools along with the mental components.
Eagles' Howie Roseman not pleased with losing Brandon Brown to Giants https://t.co/Kb1YGp4eps via @thegiantswir— david forgione (@forgioned24) September 7, 2022
Ryan Cowden, Titans VP of Player Personnel
Cowden’s name was actually thrown around during Washington’s last General Manager search, and he was considered one of the top talents available at the time.
He started out as a Scouting Assistant for the Panthers in 2000, eventually advancing to the position of Assistant Director of College Scouting by 2016. The Titans hired him as their Director of Player Personnel in 2016 and he was elevated to Vice President of Player Personnel in 2018.
Cowden’s current role is expansive and includes overseeing both pro and college scouting, free agency, and draft preparation. Any candidate who has been in a similar position for the past several years could likely roll into the new GM job with a very strong handle on both the veteran and rookie talent pools and drop into DC’s situation without missing a beat.
Here's the video of Ryan Cowden speaking about going beyond measurables when evaluating prospects. He was referencing Roger McCreary. Cowden was very impressive in his first media availability. His name should be on the short list of GM candidates.— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) July 27, 2022
@CoryCurtis2 #Titans https://t.co/jlNH6rjYnF pic.twitter.com/CbvqRuwEwA
Ed Dodds, Colts Assistant GM
Dodds has been a top GM target for the past several years, but has stuck with Colts’ GM Chris Ballard rather than take on the wrong opportunity. In recent months, Ballard’s star has dimmed a bit, but Dodds remains a coveted management talent in some circles.
Dodds began his NFL career as an intern for the Raiders in 2003, and was brought into the Seahawks scouting department in 2007. By 2014, he was Seattle’s National Scout, becoming their Senior Personnel Executive in 2015.
The Colts hired him as Vice President of Player Personnel in 2017, and he was named Assistant General Manager in 2018.
“I just felt like everyone was jacked, we’re on this win streak, and I’m kinda like, what the (expletive) does it matter?” Dodds said, via The Athletic. “If we don’t go to a Super Bowl, so what? A couple of injuries, bomb a couple of draft picks, no one in the pipeline to replace the players you lost? You gotta be relentless. You can’t stop. I don’t.”
— Dodds to the Colts personnel department after winning a wild-card game in 2018
Reason Ed Dodds so coveted? Colts model with Chris Ballard & Frank Reich is the one Owners covet. Legitimate Partnership, but even there the GM defers to the Coach on certain decisions (QB). Ballard might be the best GM in the league today.— Chad Forbes (@NFLDraftBites) January 12, 2022
Joe Hortiz, Ravens Director of Player Personnel
It’s no secret that over the past 20 years, the Baltimore Ravens have been one of the best run organizations in the NFL. A huge part of that was future Hall of Fame General Manager Ozzie Newsome, but the team hasn’t missed a beat under it’s “new” GM Eric DeCosta. Hortiz has been with the franchise for 24 years, and so is about as steeped in Newsome/DeCosta knowledge/culture as one could possibly hope to be.
Hortiz started with the Ravens in 1998 as a regional scout, rising to the role of Director of College Scouting in 2009.
Currently, Hortiz and George Kokinis, Baltimore’s other director of player personnel, work together as DeCosta’s deputies overseeing all aspects of college and pro scouting for the Ravens.
Hortiz was considered for both the vacant Giants and Steelers GM positions this past offseason.
A video of Hortiz is below:
NYG will interview 47-year-old Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz today.— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) January 15, 2022
He’s been a Raven since 1998, and is a member of their famed 20/20 club.
What’s that? BALT hires a bunch of young scouts in their 20’s, pays $20K, and goes all-in and develops for years.
In the minds of some fans, steps like those described above can’t be set in motion until the ink on the contract between the new owner and the Snyders is dry. In reality, billionaire businesspeople are capable of assembling their management teams in order to hit the ground running while their lawyers conduct their due diligence on the contract negotiations.
The new ownership group would be wise to start thinking about these foundational management decisions now - if they haven’t already - in order to assure they are able to secure the cream of the general management crop to secure their football team’s future.
Any of the individuals above would be a vast improvement upon Washington’s current situation, and would position the team well for a critical 2023 draft in which a quarterback is a must. Allowing the current front office to make that selection would, effectively, be throwing away (at least) one top round pick, as the new head coach will want a strong hand in that choice.
Who would you like to see the next ownership group select as its first GM?
This poll is closed
Malik Boyd (Bills)
Brandon Brown (Giants)
Ryan Cowden (Titans)
Ed Dodds (Colts)
Joe Hortiz (Ravens)