EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The search for a general manager is underway for the New York Giants, and this time around, early returns show they’ll be casting a much wider net.
From deputy general managers to personnel executives to some off-the-beaten-path options, prepare for a very different approach to replacing retired general manager Dave Gettleman than there was to replacing Jerry Reese, who was fired before the end of the 2017 season.
In their previous GM search, the Giants consulted former GM Ernie Accorsi, and there was a clear preference to avoid stepping out of their comfort zone. Four candidates interviewed: Gettleman, Marc Ross, Kevin Abrams and Louis Riddick.
Only Riddick, an ESPN analyst, was considered outside the family — Abrams and Ross worked for the organization at the time, and Gettleman had been with the Giants before being hired and fired by the Carolina Panthers. Predictably, the job went to Gettleman, with Accorsi having the owner’s ear and the Giants preferring an experienced general manager.
It already looks different. According to sources, co-owner John Mara and the Giants have been preparing for this moment for the past few months, making phone calls and lining up their roster.
“It will be a full search for our next general manager,” Mara said in a statement after Gettleman retired on Monday after a dismal 4-13 campaign. “We are looking for someone who demonstrates exceptional leadership and communication skills, someone who will oversee all aspects of our football operations, including player personnel, college scouting and coaching.”
The way a source described the New York preference may be closer to the CEO than ever before. Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen and Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles were two of the names that came up most frequently in conversations with sources.
A look at some of the people (listed alphabetically) who would be in the mix:
Ran Carthon: The Giants have requested an interview with the Director of Player Personnel for the San Francisco 49ers, by NFL Network. The son of former Giants fullback Maurice Carthon, he has been on the professional staff side for most of his career. The general manager seems like a substantial leap – he was promoted to director of player personnel last year.
Ryan Cowden: He paid his dues with 22 years in the NFL, the last six with the Tennessee Titans. His current title is Vice President of Player Personnel, a role in which he oversees all scouting departments (pro and college) and free agency preps. It probably doesn’t hurt that the Titans are the No. 1 seed in the AFC and have made the playoffs four of the last five years. Already the Giants make a call.
Quentin Harris: The former NFL safety is the vice president of player personnel for the Arizona Cardinals. He works closely with Managing Director Steve Keim in almost every aspect of the operation. Harris comes from a military family and considered joining the FBI before going into scouting. He’s spent his entire postgame career with the Cardinals, and there’s a belief in the league that he’s ready to manage his own team.
Joe Hortiz: He is the director of player personnel for the highly respected Baltimore Ravens front office, where he has been since 1998. Hortiz managed the team’s draft preparations for years and has extensive personnel experience. Sources say his sense of talent caught the attention of the Giants.
Monti Ossenfort: The Titans director of player personnel previously worked for the New England Patriots and has extensive experience overseeing the draft. It’s never been more important than this year, with the Giants holding five picks in the first three rounds, including the fifth and seventh first-round selections.
Ryan Polish: Sources say the Giants have a very high opinion of the Poles. It is believed that he would bring a much more analytical and progressive approach to the organization as CEO rather than a scout.
Louis Ridick: He made a favorable impression on Giants ownership during the team’s previous GM search and has extensive experience working with Washington and Philadelphia Eagles staff.
Joe Schoen: Sources say the Bills’ assistant general manager is considered bright and versatile, and an interview request has been submitted. He spoke with the Giants (via Zoom) on Wednesday morning. Schoen has worked extensively with analytics, personnel and football operations, and he’s the kind of guy his colleagues have said ‘never stops working’. He is expected to be a hot candidate in this GM hiring cycle.
Adrian Wilson: Another former safety — an All-Pro to boot — with the Cardinals. His title is vice president of pro staff. Although he worked primarily on the professional staff side, he quickly rose through the Arizona organization and earned a good reputation in the league. He continues the trend of Giants candidates coming mostly from playoff teams.
Others to watch out for: Ed Dodds (Indianapolis Colts), Ryan Grigson (Cleveland Browns), Dan Morgan (Panthers), Catherine Raiche (Eagles) and Dave Ziegler (Patriots).