Now that Mike Holmgren is all-but-officially the man in charge of the Cleveland Browns and has rejected the Seahawks' offer to be a member of their front office, any analysis of his merits for the position have become moot.
But the team still has a vacancy up top.
Tom Heckert, a long-time member of the Philadelphia Eagles' staff, may be a decent candidate to take over that vacancy, though he doesn’t seem to be in any incredible hurry to change addresses.
Heckert, who presently serves as the general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles and has been in that position since 2006, is in a situation akin to what Scott Pioli’s situation was in Philadelphia. He is at least partially in charge of personnel for one of the most successful franchises of the past decade, but with the operative word being “partially,” the right opportunity could lure Heckert out of Philadelphia.
In his years leading up to working with Andy Reid, the Eagles' head coach who holds essentially veto power in terms of the Eagles personnel, Heckert received a lot of praise from Reid’s past and present peers.
Jimmy Johnson told Reid that Heckert would be atop his list of names to hire were he to return to coaching.
In the Eagles' media guide, Reid also praises Heckert’s propensity as a straight shooter and his lack of fear of expressing opinion, despite the type of high-profile coach he’s working with.
And with a recent contract extension signed by Reid, chances are Heckert won’t be taking over the complete personnel reigns in Philadelphia any time soon.
While many players grow up playing football and the sons of players grow up around professional football fields, locker rooms, etc., Heckert grew up spending time in the front office of several NFL teams, as his father, Tom Sr., was in the personnel ranks for 20 years.
While that experience, all be it extensive, could be far from material, there’s no doubt that Heckert is aware of how to conduct himself and familiar with the stresses that go into managing personnel in the NFL.
But he’s not a bad drafter either.
Again, acknowledging the fact that Reid has disproportionate control over personnel compared to other coaches, Heckert’s drafts as general manager have notably netted the Eagles guys like Broderick Bunkley, Kevin Kolb (who has looked impressive, and could follow Heckert to Seattle potentially), Brent Celek, DeSean Jackson, and LeSean McCoy.
That doesn’t include his first draft with the team, then the Eagles director of player personnel, which included Lito Sheppard and Brian Westbrook, among others.
And undrafted-free-agent signings of Greg Lewis and Quinton Mikell round out an already impressive value-conscious resume.
Heckert interviewed for the Browns job last year and withdrew his name from consideration for the job, and declined the Lions job, which would put him near his hometown of Adrian, Michigan, before interviewing.
But in both cases, Heckert would have faced massive rebuilding and a complete scheme overhaul. In Seattle, at least to some extent, he’s familiar with both the offensive and defensive schemes, and the players that thrive in each.
Noted for his scouting, Heckert would be a nice change from the “sign-rather-than-develop” approach that Tim Ruskell took to keep the Seahawks viable.
All-in-all, Heckert could probably make the easiest transition of any potentially available candidate and comes with considerably less baggage than some of the other candidates.