Oakland Raiders: 5 Likely Candidates for New Raiders GM
In the wake of the loss of one of the most influential owners in the NFL, the Raiders franchise looks to find a GM to step in and lead the Raiders through this difficult time of transition. Nobody could replace a man like Al Davis, but let's take a look at some likely candidates that the Raiders could pursue.
There are a couple of things that are certain. First and foremost, Hue Jackson will be instrumental in the selection process. The GM will have to be someone he trusts and someone who has a similar vision for the future of this team.
Also, the GM will be someone that reports to Mark Davis and with Hue Jackson's contract worded that he will report only to the managing general partner—formally Al Davis—it will be interesting to see how the contract of the new GM is worded. Will Hue Jackson's contract be reworked to include verbiage about his responsibility to answer to the new GM? That is anybody's guess.
Amy Trask, the Raiders CEO, will also be an integral part of the search. She was very close with Al Davis and is close with current head coach Hue Jackson.
The Raiders must make the right decision to avoid any backslide in the momentum-building of this team.
Eric DeCosta, Baltimore Ravens Director of Player Personnel
DeCosta joined the Ravens in 1996 and has seen a meteoric rise in his 15 years with the franchise. He began in an entry-level position and has ascended the ranks of the Ravens. He was an area scout before moving to director of college scouting and finally to director of player personnel.
In his tenure with the Ravens the team has selected some of the best talent in the draft and it has aided the team to becoming one of the dominant forces in the NFL. Some of the names that were added in his time with the Ravens are Pro Bowlers DE/NT Haloti Ngata, OLB Terrell Suggs and RB Ray Rice. Other notable acquisitions include trading for Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin and drafting talented players such as QB Joe Flacco, OT Michael Oher, CB Jimmy Smith and OG Ben Grubbs.
He served on the eight-man committee that selected head coach John Harbaugh and was also named one of the top stars in sports in 2005 by Sporting News. It's hard to argue with DeCosta's resume and he would be a vital piece for a franchise looking to build for the future.
Hue Jackson worked closely with DeCosta during his time with the Ravens. Hopefully during that time Coach Jackson built a relationship with DeCosta strong enough to pull him away from the only franchise he's ever worked for. Word on the street is that DeCosta is being groomed to replace current GM Ozzie Newsome when the time comes. It could be a great opportunity for DeCosta to join the Raiders and further his career in the NFL.
Bruce Allen, Washington Redskins GM
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Bruce Allen is currently the GM of the Washington Redskins. He was once a very critical piece of the Raiders organization.
He was a senior executive with the Raiders during his time with the Raiders from 1996-2003. He was the last person Al Davis had close to the role of a GM and the fact that he held such a high position for as long as he did shows that he was close with Davis.
He would surely have familiarity with new owner Mark Davis and could have fond memories of the time he spent with the organization. He is well schooled in the history of the Raiders and is also an excellent candidate for the position. He has experience running the day-to-day operations of a football team and would aid the Raiders moving forward.
Shortly after the Redskins signed Allen on to be the general manager they hired head coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan is not only the head coach but also the executive VP of football operations, meaning he shares much of the decision-making power with Allen. This is a critical factor as it would likely be a similar scenario if Allen were to defect to the Raiders. He and head coach Hue Jackson would likely have a similar share of decision-making power in Oakland.
If the Raiders were able to add Allen it would likely not be until the end of the season. In the interim, the team could bring in advisors such as John Madden to aid owner Mark Davis, CEO Amy Trask and head coach Hue Jackson through the end of the season.
Sean Jones, Former Raider DE and Player Representative
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Sean Jones was a little-known prospect coming out of Northeastern University that Al Davis noticed back in 1984. The Raiders drafted the 6'7" 270-pound defensive end in the second round. Al Davis was impressed by his physical attributes and his ability to run the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds.
Jones saw limited time in his rookie year before his career began to take off. In only six regular-season games in the 1985 season, Jones notched 8.5 sacks. In the Raiders' playoff loss to New England that year Jones added two more sacks.
In 1986 he had arrived and led the league in sacks with 15.5. He was named the Raiders' players union representative at just 23 years old. He went on to have a solid career before it was cut short in a weightlifting accident that left him with a ruptured disc in his spine.
Off the field, Jones was a very intelligent business mind. He became the vice president of the NFL players union where he created a finance committee that regularly met with the owners and GMs. During that time he gained intimate knowledge of the contract negotiation process.
Jones is not without his blemishes though. He has been in and out of trouble with the NFL, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI.
In 2003 he was given a two-year suspension by the NFL for violating the National Football League Players Association rules. It was in response to financial dealings with player Ebenezer Ekuban. He was banned from contact with players. He was also sued by former NFL player Cris Dishman surrounding bad investments.
The SEC charged him with failing to turn over records from his investment advisory company, Amaroq Asset Management.
In 2007 he was arrested by the FBI for mortgage fraud but the charges were later dismissed.
Where there's smoke, there's fire. I hope the Raiders stay away from Sean Jones.
Michael Lombardi, NFL Network Analyst and Former Raiders Executive
Michael Lombardi was the Raiders senior personnel executive from 1999-2007. He worked hand in hand with Al Davis throughout his tenure with the Raiders and has intimate knowledge of the operations of the franchise.
He is currently an analyst with NFL Network and is very versed in the dealings of contract negotiations and personnel decisions. He is not my favorite candidate of the people on this list, but he has a history in the NFL in a similar role to that which the Raiders would require from the GM.
I have questions about how he and Hue Jackson would work together, but I truly don't know enough about him for it to be anything more than speculation at this point.
He also spent time with the Cleveland Browns working with Bill Belichick on personnel moves. He is very knowledgeable with regards to the executive branch of NFL teams, but I still have my reservations whether his vision and personality would align with that of head coach Hue Jackson.
Scot McCloughan, Seattle Seahawks Senior Personnel Executive
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This one seems to make a lot of sense as Scot's father, Kent McCloughan, is currently part of the Oakland Raiders' front office in the scouting department.
During that time, the 49ers drafted such players as Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis and Joe Staley. He left the 49ers rather abruptly citing personal reasons, leaving some to doubt his ability to be an effective GM for a franchise as highly scrutinized as the Oakland Raiders.
Thankfully he would have his father around to advise him on personal matters and mentor him in the ways of the Raider. Kent McCloughan was a cornerback for the Raiders when they were a part of the AFL from 1965-69 and in 1970 as a part of the NFL.
With family history in the Raiders organization, an organization traditionally loyal to their former players under Al Davis, it would be yet another Al-like move to bring in a young person with blood ties to the team.
Advisors and Other News
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It may be tough for the Raiders to find a long-term fit for GM while the 2011 season still rages on. It may be necessary for the Raiders to enlist the help of some people that Al Davis helped when he was still with us.
Starting with John Madden, who recently said Al Davis was his best friend. He would absolutely help the Raiders if they asked. Right now he is focused on the mourning of his friend but what better way to pay tribute to the man than to help keep the legacy of his vision alive?
I don't believe John Madden is a viable candidate for the GM position. He is too old and too far removed from the current NFL to be in a key position with the franchise.
I feel similarly about Bill Parcells. I don't feel that Parcells is too old; I feel that Parcells is too stubborn. He has historically been a person who wanted more than a fair share of power, and he is solid in his belief that it's his way or the highway. I don't believe his personality would be very compatible with the Raiders' current head coach and visionary Hue Jackson.
Ron Wolf was rumored to be a possible adviser and even an outside candidate to lure from retirement to become the GM of the Raiders. Per a story from Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, Wolf is one person the Raiders can't count on in any capacity.
Hue Jackson has the Raiders team headed in the right direction. The Raiders need to be very methodical in selecting who will step in and assume the role of GM. Personally, I hope for DeCosta but he might be too entrenched in the Ravens organization to be lured away.