Four GM Candidates Emerge for Seahawks

NorthwestFootball.net
Posted Jan 11, 2010


With a Pete Carroll announcement looming, here's a look at the four general manager candidates who are set to interview with the Seattle Seahawks this week.

This week, the Seattle Seahawks are expected to intensify their search for a new general manager, with four NFL executives reportedly coming to the VMAC to interview for Seahawks’ vacant general manager’s position.

Here’s a look at the candidate’s resumes.

Floyd Reese, Senior Football Advisor, New England Patriots

The 61-year old Reese joined the Patriots as a consultant last January after spending two years as an analyst for ESPN.com.

Reese has worn many hats during his 30+ years in the National Football League, beginning as a strength coach with the Detroit Lions in 1975 all the way up to being the General Manager/Executive Vice-President of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1994-2006. That experience and versatility makes Reese a desirable candidate and valuable asset to every front office.

His role in New England isn’t officially defined, but Reese is believed to have handled the team’s contract negotiations in 2009, the team’s first season without Scott Pioli, who left the Patriots to take over the Kansas City Chiefs football operations after the 2008 season.

Notable moves during Reese’s tenure in Tennessee/New England

  1. Hired Jeff Fisher as head coach in 1994;
  2. Helped guide the franchise through a relocation to Tennessee;
  3. Under Reese, Titans won three division titles and one conference championship;
  4. From 1994-2006, the Titans had four winning seasons and posted a regular season record of 106-102. They were 5-4 in the post-season, making one trip to the Super Bowl (XXXIV);
  5. Drafted QB Steve McNair (1995), RB Eddie George (1996), WR Derrick Mason (1997), CB Samari Rolle (1998), DE Jevon Kearse and DT John Thornton (1999), LB Keith Bulluck (2000), DT Albert Haynesworth (2002), DE Antwan Odom (2004), OT Michael Roos and David Stewart (2005), CB Cortland Finnegan (2006);
  6. Also drafted Adam “Pacman” Jones, LenDale White, Tyrone Calico and frequently mismanaged the Titans’ salary cap;
  7. Was replaced in Tennessee by former Seahawks executive Mike Reinfeldt;
  8. Contracts for New England’s four second-round picks in ‘09 are very team-friendly, with base salary guarantees reducing the size of up-front bonuses. 

John Schneider, Director of Football Operations, Green Bay Packers

Schneider, 38, is in his 17th year in an NFL personnel department, including the 2000 season as the Seahawks’ Director of Player Personnel.

A personnel analyst for the Packers’ since 2002, Schneider had input on free agency, draft, the team’s long-term roster planning and salary cap management. He was elevated to his current position of Director of Football Operations in 2008.

Notable moves made during Schneider’s tenure in Green Bay’s front office:

  1. 14 of 22 starters entering season were drafted by team since 2002;
  2. Drafted Aaron Rodgers in 1st round of 2005 NFL Draft;
  3. Traded for running back Ryan Grant;
  4. Organization made bold move to trade franchise legend Brett Favre in 2008 to move ahead with their long-term plan;
  5. Packers consistently draft offensive tackles. (7 since 2006);
  6. Converted to 3-4 defense in 2009, improved from 20th to 2nd in total defense;

Marc Ross, Director of College Scouting, New York Giants

Ross began his NFL career in the Philadelphia Eagles’ personnel office in 1996, and was their Eastern Regional Scout from 1997-2000, working closely with Tom Modrak, who was the Eagles’ Director of Football Operations. Ross and Modrak are often credited with the Eagles’ decision to draft Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb, a move that was rather unpopular with Philadelphia’s fans at the time. (And still is, after playoff losses)

Ross, 35, became the Eagles’ Director of College Scouting in 2000. Four years later, he and Modrak were ousted from the organization, with both resurfacing with the Buffalo Bills, where Ross spent three seasons as a national scout. Ross re-joined an NFL front office in 2007 when he was named the Giants’ Director of College Scouting, a position that which placed him in charge of the team’s drafts.

Notable moves Ross has been associated with:

  1. 7 of the 22 starters on the Giants have been drafted since 2007, as well as key reserves WRs Mario Manningham and Ramses Barden, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, future starting left tackle Will Beatty, LB Clint Sintim, and part-time starting CB Aaron Ross
  2. Players drafted in Philadelphia: OT Tra Thomas and LB Jeremiah Trotter (1998), QB Donovan McNabb (1999), DT Corey Simon (2000), DE Derrick Burgess, RB Correll Buckhalter, QB A.J. Feeley (2001), DBs Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis, Sheldon Brown, RB Brian Westbrook (2002)

Omar Khan, Football & Business Administration Director, Pittsburgh Steelers       

Khan, 32, joined the Steelers in 2001 and has been in charge of the club’s contract negotiations and salary cap management. Though it’s unclear if Khan has had any say in the team’s personnel matters, Khan is often mentioned as Bill Cowher’s choice for general manager, should he return to an NFL sideline.

With no personnel moves or draft picks to his credit, looking at how the Steelers front office has operated during Khan’s time there may be the only way to know what sort of management philosophies he might bring with him to Seattle.

In nine seasons, the Steelers have made six trips to the playoffs and won a pair of Super Bowls. They’ve rarely broken the bank for unrestricted free agents, others or their own, and have remained competitive while maintaining a healthy salary cap situation.

2009 was a particularly busy year for Khan and the Steelers.

Extensions for Ben Roethlisberger (8-years, $102M) and James Harrison (6-years, $51.175M) put Pittsburgh in a tight cap situation in 2009, but they cleared room by granting linebacker Larry Foote his release (saved $2.9M) and by re-structuring Ike Taylor and Hines Ward’s contracts. The Steelers used that newfound cap room to sign extensions with offensive tackle Max Starks (4-years, $26.3M), tight end Heath Miller (6-years, $35.3M), defensive end Brett Keisel (5-years, $18.885M), as well as center Jeff Hartwig (4-years, $10M) just before the start of the season.

The Steelers’ policy, which isn't necessarily Khan's, has been to not extend contracts during the season.

Khan has a reputation of working very quickly to get Pittsburgh’s draft picks signed. Eight of their 9 draft picks in 2009 were signed before July 1, and first-round pick Ziggy Hood was signed in time for training camp. In fact, since 2001, when Khan began negotiating their contracts, the Steelers’ nine first-round picks have combined to miss just 10 days of training camp, with none of the holdouts lasting more than four days (Ben Roethlisberger, 2004). The Steelers’ last five first-round picks have been signed in time for camp.

One of the reasons the Steelers are able to get the first-round picks signed in time for training camp is that little time is spent negotiating the contracts for the mid-to-late round picks (rounds 3-7). Pittsburgh is one of the few clubs that still signs picks in those rounds to three-year deals, which are some of the most basic and straight-forward contracts in the NFL.

Most NFL teams currently opt to sign their picks from rounds 3-7 to four-year deals, essentially “buying out” the players’ restricted free agency options with a larger signing bonus, as playing-time incentives and team qualifiers escalate the base salary in the fourth year, usually to the low restricted free agent tender amount for that season, as spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement.

Two benefits to three-year deals are that busts can be ushered out the door a bit more painlessly, and less up-front cash is spent on signing bonuses. For a team like Seattle, operating cash isn't much of an issue, especially in the 7th round, where the difference in a signing bonus may be as little as $10,000. In round three, it's a bit more noticeable.

Example: Pittsburgh chose Oregon State cornerback Keenan Lewis five spots after the Seahawks chose Deon Butler, yet his signing bonus is $200,000 less than Butler’s.

Player

Keenan Lewis

Deon Butler

Round

3

3

Pick

32

27

SB

$480,000

$680,750

2009

$310,000

$310,000

2010

$395,000

$395,000

2011

$480,000

$480,000

2012

-

$565,000*

APY

$555,000

$607,688

’09 CAP

$470,000

$480,188

GTD APY

$160,000

$170,188

*-Can escalate to $1.308M or the low RFA tender in 2012 if Butler meets certain playing-time marks.  

The GTD APY (guaranteed average per year) is in line with each player's draft slot, and both players will have similar cap numbers from 2009-11, but the Steelers didn't spend the extra $200,000 to control that fourth year. They’ve chosen, as an organization, to cross that bridge when, or if, they get to it.

(Also, to show how quickly Khan works: Lewis was signed on June 12, when only the 4th and 35th picks of the 3rd round had signed. Butler signed on July 24.)

New Orleans, where Khan worked from 1997-2000 before joining Pittsburgh, operated the same way. There are certainly no guarantees to this, but the safe assumption is that if Khan were hired to run the Seahawks' front-office, they'd begin signing these picks to three-year contracts, as well.

Second-round picks in Pittsburgh are signed to four-year contracts.  

In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.


Related Stories
Pete Carroll Headed to Seattle
 -by SCPlaybook.com  Jan 11, 2010
Divisional Round NFL Transaction Wire Blog
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Jan 15, 2010
Carroll Resigns from USC, Heads to Seattle
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Jan 11, 2010

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES
> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from NorthwestFootball.net. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Seattle
[View My HotList]