NFL GMs Whose Jobs Are on the Line in 2021 Offseason

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2021

NFL GMs Whose Jobs Are on the Line in 2021 Offseason

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    Nam Huh/Associated Press

    While it doesn't get as much attention as the head coach or quarterback carousel, the NFL general manager carousel has spun at a rapid pace over the course of the last year. 

    Teams like the Houston Texans (Bill O'Brien) and Detroit Lions (Bob Quinn) fired general managers, while the Denver Broncos (John Elway) had one step aside. 

    While general managers aren't as front-facing as head coaches, they are responsible for putting together the rosters those coaches use. Often, their jobs are tied to one or two critical decisions, with the most important being the quarterback position. 

    While some teams demonstrate more patience than others when a GM appears to underperform, the following general managers are entering the 2021 offseason on the hot seat.

    The way they have lived up to—or could live up to—their teams' varying expectations factored in along with their past track records. All are facing critical decisions that will shape the future of their franchises.             

Joe Douglas, New York Jets

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas doesn't seem to have long to turn the team around alongside new head coach Robert Saleh. 

    Douglas joined the Jets in 2019 and oversaw a seven-win team in Adam Gase's first year as head coach. It was New York's highest win total since 2015. But the team regressed to 2-14 in 2020 and lost hold of the No. 1 draft pick thanks to two wins over its final three games. 

    It was another mark against a franchise that has been above .500 once since 2010. Since arriving, Douglas has turned his attention to rebuilding the trenches with first-rounders like defensive end Quinnen Williams and offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, but the Jets have stuck with 2018 third overall pick Sam Darnold, who is flirting with bust territory under center. 

    Douglas' fate could be decided quickly by how he handles the No. 2 draft selection in 2021 and the quarterback spot—along with Saleh's ability to fix New York's bottom-10 defense—especially with it seeming like the window in the AFC East is open behind the Buffalo Bills.         

Dave Gettleman, New York Giants

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The discussion about Dave Gettleman's tenure as general manager of the New York Giants centers on two critical decisions and the team's bumbling record. 

    First, he decided to take running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 in the 2018 draft, passing on quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen and talents like guard Quenton Nelson and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Barkley is good, of course, but in the age of devalued running backs, it was a blunder. 

    Another potential mistake was using the sixth pick in 2019 on Duke's Daniel Jones, who has completed 62.2 percent of his career passes with 35 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He is 8-18 as a starter. 

    The Giants have gone 5-11, 4-12 and 6-10 in three seasons with Gettleman calling the shots. The team hasn't made a playoff appearance since 2016, when it went 11-5.

    Overall, Gettleman's roster hasn't shown signs of a dramatic turnaround, and with Barkley eligible for an extension, the GM is potentially looking at an Ezekiel Elliott-level contract dilemma. There's also a long-term question mark under center.     

    How Gettleman plays his hand, plus whether the team can sniff .500 in 2021, could decide his fate.    

Howie Roseman, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Howie Roseman has seemed lost over the last few seasons. 

    While he joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000 as a salary-cap counsel, he's long been in charge of player personnel decisions, which is notably what has held the team back since the 2017 Super Bowl win.

    ESPN's Louis Riddick put it bluntly last November during an interview with NBC Sports' Dave Zangaro: "Let's just go back and look at the past 5-7 drafts. Tell me where the impact players are. Tell me where the Pro Bowlers are. Tell me where the guys are that are making the difference around Carson [Wentz]."

    The Eagles have been abysmal at drafting for a while. Derek Barnett, a first-round pick in 2017, for example, has played more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps in a season just once. 

    Issues at quarterback reign, though.

    Roseman and Co. let Nick Foles walk in free agency after he stepped in for an injured Wentz and helped lead the team to a championship. The Eagles threw their support behind Wentz, who has imploded, throwing 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last year. The 28-year-old quarterback is expected to be traded soon, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen

    Philadelphia hit the reset button this offseason, firing Doug Pederson and hiring Nick Sirianni as head coach. Roseman's handling of the quarterback situation and whether the Eagles can get competitive quickly in a weak NFC East could determine how long the GM has in Philadelphia.            

Nick Caserio, Houston Texans

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    Stew Milne/Associated Press

    It might seem a little odd to suggest a first-year general manager is already on the hot seat. 

    But things are not normal in Houston. 

    The Texans dragged their feet on firing head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien after a series of baffling moves, and star quarterback Deshaun Watson is apparently fed up with the way the organization does things.

    According to Schefter, the 25-year-old has requested a trade. Star defender J.J. Watt is likely on his way out too, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo. On top of that, the Texans don't have a pick in the upcoming draft until the third round. What would be the team's third overall selection belongs to the Miami Dolphins because of the Laremy Tunsil trade. 

    Now, it might sound like former New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio is inheriting a mess he didn't create. But according to Schefter, Texans owner Cal McNair ignored two recommendations from a search firm to hire Caserio, which upset Watson—who was not involved in the process after being told he would be—and others within the organization.

    Caserio has since said the team won't trade Watson. Should he not improve upon last year's 4-12 mark and get the team out of being in the red in salary-cap space, ownership might decide keeping him isn't worth it after the unpopular hire.

    Caserio is reportedly on a costly six-year deal, per Schefter, which was likely a requirement just to get him in the door. But the Texans might not blink at cutting him loose if he doesn't shine while working through these franchise-changing decisions throughout the offseason. 

Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace made some big moves that looked questionable at the time and didn't age well.

    He sent four picks to the San Francisco 49ers to trade up one spot to select Mitchell Trubisky at second overall in the 2017 draft. Both Patrick Mahomes and Watson were still on the board.

    Trubisky has been a game manager at best and a liability at worst. During last offseason, Pace gave up a fourth-round pick in a trade for Nick Foles, who went on to throw 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions in nine appearances (seven starts).  

    Were the Bears consistently contending, Pace's issues at quarterback would be easier to gloss over. But the 12-win campaign in 2018 was clearly an anomaly and the only time Pace's teams have cracked above .500. 

    With troubling uses of high-value assets, limited returns on premium picks, two botched quarterback situations and seemingly an inability to solve it, Pace might have just one more offseason to get it right.