With the great news that the Snyders are selling the Washington football team, it’s time to start thinking about how to rebuild this franchise from the ground up. You see, with Dan Snyder at the helm, the team’s options were limited. A strong man in “full” charge of football operations — ala Ron Rivera’s current role — was the best option in a dire situation. A younger, less experienced coach would have been completely overturned 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 properly rebuild this team’s football operations, and that starts with hiring an accomplished general manager who can hire his (or her) coach, and who could be instrumental in selecting Washington’s next quarterback in the 2023 draft.
Current projections are that a new owner must be approved in March 2023, which is only about a month before the draft, so it will be critical for the new ownership group to begin conversations with potential hires in the next month or so. lot, lining up the team so it’s ready to hit the ground running once the acquisition goes through.
The following list is a partial selection of some of the best general manager options 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 several years. He then moved on to the Cardinals, serving as their West Regional Scout for several years until being promoted to Assistant Director of Pro Scouting in 2014.
His current position, which he assumed in 2017, is Director of Pro Scouting with the Buffalo Bills. He was the first executive Bills GM Brandon Beane brought in 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 snapped up 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.
Brandon Brown, Giants Assistant General Manager
Brown is still young, having graduated from Fordham in 2010 and then received his law degree soon after. 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 promoted him to Director of Player Personnel.
Earlier this season, the Giants – now led by Joe Schoen – poached Brown from the Eagles as their new Assistant General Manager.
An in-depth interview with Brown can be found here, but an excerpt is below:
Q: When you scout players, what do you look for?
or: The biggest thing first is that the boys are smart, tough, reliable. When I say smart, guys are instinctive. Boys, regardless of their physical features, they are fat for duty. They don’t have busts. When I say tough, guys who are finishing games; boys competing on special teams. When you talk about reliable, guys are available for you, one. Guys who have a known history of not wasting time. Guys — whether it’s offense, defense, special teams — they answer the bell in all three phases or both phases, whatever they’re asked to play. So this is the soil layer. And then obviously, there’s the skills, the attributes, the athleticism, the speed, the explosiveness – all the things – the size, the height, all those things that come together from the physical tools along with the mental components.
Ryan Cowden, Titans VP of Player Personnel
Cowden’s name was actually floated during Washington’s recent GM search, and he was considered one of the top talents available at the time.
He started as an Assistant Scouting for the Panthers in 2000, eventually advancing to the position of Assistant Director of College Scouting by 2016. The Titans hired him as Director of Player Personnel in 2016 and he was promoted to Vice President of Player Personnel in 2018.
Cowden’s current role is broad and includes overseeing pro and college scouting, free agency and draft preparation. Any candidate who has been in a similar position over the past several years will likely walk into the new GM job with a very strong handle on both the veteran and rookie talent pool and fall into DC’s situation without missing a beat.
Ed Dodds, Colts Assistant GM
Dodds has been a top GM target for the past few years, but stuck with Colts GM Chris Ballard rather than take the wrong opportunity. Ballard’s star has faded a bit in recent months, but Dodds remains a coveted managerial talent in some circles.
Dodds began his NFL career as an intern for the Raiders in 2003 and joined the Seahawks’ scouting department in 2007. From 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 everybody got attacked, we’re on this streak, and I’m like, what does it matter?” Dodds said, via Athletics. “If we don’t go to a Super Bowl, then what? A few injuries, bombing a couple of drafts, no one waiting to replace the players you lost? You should be Merciless. You can’t stop. I do not.”
– Addresses Colts personnel department after winning wild card game in 2018
The reason Ed Dodds is so coveted? The Colts model with Chris Ballard & Frank Reich is one that Owners covet. Legitimate partnership, but even there the GM pushes the coach for 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 big part of that was future Hall of Fame General Manager Ozzie Newsome, but the team hasn’t lost once under “new” GM Eric DeCosta. Hortiz has been with the franchise for 24 years, and so is about as steeped in Newsome/DeCosta lore/culture as one could 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 deputy overseeing all aspects of college and professional recruiting for the Ravens.
Hortiz was considered for both the Giants and Steelers GM vacancies this past offseason.
A video of Hortiz is below:
NYG will interview 47-year-old Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz today.
He has been a Raven since 1998 and is a member of their famous 20/20 club.
What is this? BALT hires a group of young scouts in their 20s, pays $20,000 and goes all-in and develops for years.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) January 15, 2022
In the minds of some fans, steps like those outlined above cannot be put into motion until the ink on the contract between the new owner and Snyders is dry. In reality, billionaire businessmen are able to assemble their management teams to hit the ground running while their lawyers perform their due diligence on contract negotiations.
The new ownership group would be wise to start thinking about these fundamental management decisions now—if they haven’t already—to ensure they are able to provide the cream of general management income to secure the future of their football team.
Any of the above individuals would be a huge upgrade over 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 taking away (at least) a first pick, as the new coach will want a strong hand on that pick.
Who would you like to see the next ownership group select as its first GM?
Malik Boyd (Bills)
Brandon Brown (Giants)
Ryan Cowden (Titans)
Ed Dodds (Colts)
Joe Hortiz (Ravens)
24 votes in total