The Washington Commanders fired Head Coach Ron Rivera this morning, but haven’t booted GM Martin Mayhew...yet. Josh Harris has hired form NBA exec Bob Myers and former NFL exec Rick Spielman to lead their search for a new coach and head of football operations. There have already been four names linked to Washington for their head coaching search(Jim Harbaugh, Raheem Morris, Ben Johnson, Aaron Glenn), and now we’ve got our third GM candidate linked to the franchise. Washington already requested to interview Bears AGM Ian Cunningham, Browns AGM/VPoPP Glenn Cook, and 49ers AGM Adam Peters.
Tom Pelissero is reporting that Washington has also requested to interview Philadelphia Eagles AGM Alec Halaby. He started his NFL career as an intern in the Eagles football operations in 2007, and then again in 2009. He was then a player personnel analyst(2010-11) and a special assistant to the GM(2012-15). Halaby got a big promotion the following year to vice president of football operations and strategy, a job he held for five years. He was promoted to assistant GM in 2022, and has been in that position for two seasons.
Halaby is seen as an analytics guy, but there are reports that he has been involved in the player development side. Pelissero makes the distinction that Halaby would be interviewing for their head of football operations job. Adam Schefter’s reports of interview requests have all mentioned their general manager job.
It’ll take a gutsy owner willing to depart from football norms to hire Halaby—the Harvard alum’s background, as a Roseman protégé, is almost completely on the analytics side. He’s incredibly smart when it comes to integrating data into football evaluation, allocating resources and managing a roster. Can he lead a room filled with football scouts and find a coaching staff that’ll be all in on his approach? Fair or not, those will be the questions.
Roseman, the Eagles’ executive VP and general manager, already has an extensive executive tree around the league. Expect more branches to emerge this offseason. Of those still in the nest, the analytics-centric Halaby is considered the best bet to begin his own shop.
Closing in on two decades with the Eagles, the Harvard graduate began as a 20-year-old intern in 2007 and spent six seasons as Philadelphia’s VP of football operations and strategy. Not every organization has embraced analytics, but Halaby found a safe harbor for such analysis with Roseman and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie after sending all 32 teams an email about opportunities.
Halaby previously participated in the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, a gathering of analytical minds organized by Daryl Morey, president of basketball operations of the NBA’s 76ers, a franchise owned by Harris. If the personalities fit, Harris hiring Halaby would aggressively bring Washington into the modern data-gathering era.
“Not only are you getting someone who knows what they’re doing, you’re also hurting your division rivals. (Assistant GM) Alec Halaby is a Harvard guy who heads up the analytics side, but he’s really over the last five years he’s really come into the player development side. He’s a big reason why they started going for two and going for it on fourth down years ago when they had Doug Pederson.”