Plenty of G.M. jobs could open up after the season, too
It’s a given that plenty of coaching jobs will become available within the next two weeks. It’s also likely that several G.M. vacancies will arise.
Already, the Lions have an opening, and they’ll surely move quickly to fill it -- especially if the new G.M. will be determining as his first order of business whether to keep coach Jim Caldwell. If Caldwell will be replaced, the Lions need to enter the coaching market before all of the best candidates are claimed.
Here’s a look at the other potential hot spots where General Managers may get the specific news that their services are no longer needed.
Buffalo: A disconnect has lingered throughout the season between G.M. Doug Whaley and coach Rex Ryan. Since Ryan has the bigger buyout, he becomes more likely to survive any potential face off. While Ryan likely hasn’t done enough to secure final say with a G.M.-in-name-only to do Rex’s bidding, the Bills need someone who can identify players who will mesh with the systems Ryan wants to use. The situation becomes problematic for Rex if ownership decides to hire a G.M. who will supervise (and potentially hope to replace) the head coach.
Miami: Dennis Hickey has become a forgotten man with the Dolphins, and the thinking is that he has lost all of his power to Mike Tannenbaum. Look for Tannenbaum to replace Hickey -- possibly by pulling an Elway and becoming the G.M. himself.
Cleveland: At a time when many think owner Jimmy Haslam plans to hit the reset button, there’s a chance Ray Farmer survives. Some believe Haslam could hire an executive to oversee the football operations, which would make Farmer that person’s puppet instead of what Farmer possibly has been the last two years: Haslam’s puppet.
Indianapolis: It’s becoming more and more likely that coach Chuck Pagano will be gone. Some think G.M. Ryan Grigson definitely will join Pagano as former Colts employees, but others believe Grigson has sufficiently ingratiated himself to the Irsay family that he’ll stay. The final answer could depend on the next head coach; if Jim Irsay goes after a big-name coach, that big-name coach may not want Grigson getting in the way of the big-name coach’s desire to control the football operation.
Houston: When the team was struggled, G.M. Rick Smith was catching plenty of flak for it. Now that a playoff berth is within grasp, he’s most likely safe. Still, owner Bob McNair should give final say over the roster to Smith or coach Bill O’Brien.
Tennessee: With a coaching vacancy already in existence, the Titans could clear out G.M. Ruston Webster for the same reasons the Colts may fire Ryan Grigson. To attract the kind of coach who could turn the team around, the Titans may need to clear the decks and let the coach rebuild the front office from scratch.
San Diego: G.M. Tom Telesco quietly received a contract extension before the season started. Which suggests that he’s safe.
Philadelphia: Chip Kelly the head coach has struggled this season due in large part to the misadventures of Chip Kelly the de facto G.M. Would owner Jeffrey Lurie install someone to handle the personnel side of the business for Chip? Would Chip welcome that? Could the Eagles find someone who would work with Chip, given last year’s early-offseason wrestling match with Howie Roseman?
New York Giants: With the Giants now out of the playoffs, ownership can begin to decide on whether to changes the coach and/or the General Manager. The roster currently isn’t in very good shape, and that falls on the G.M. more than the coach.
Atlanta: Last year’s uncertainty surrounding G.M. Thomas Dimitroff has created speculation that he could be in trouble, if/when the Falcons fail to get back to the postseason. But owner Arthur Blank seems to be very fond of Dimitroff -- and owner Dan Quinn has said publicly (and presumably privately) that he wants to keep working with Dimitroff.
New Orleans: G.M. Mickey Loomis is sufficiently entrenched in the basketball team owned by Tom Benson to be inherently safe. The question becomes whether Loomis elevates to a higher level in the organization, with a new G.M. hired beneath Loomis.
St. Louis: Coach Jeff Fisher is reportedly safe. Is that same statement true for G.M. Les Snead? Some think that the team will need to do something to address another season of failed expectations. Still, Fisher has shown no indication to move on from Snead.
San Francisco: The news that G.M. Trent Baalke has been coaching defensive backs prompted speculation that coach Jim Tomsula is in trouble. It also could be a sign that Baalke is feeling the heat, and that he’s doing whatever he has to do to improve the team. Regardless, the surprise decision to demote Paraag Marathe has created a sense that anything can happen once the season ends. Something needs to happen, given the suddenly sparse attendance in Santa Clara.