Further confirming the fact that Mark Davis will own, but not run, the Raiders, Albert Breer of NFL.com reported Tuesday that the team has commenced the process of looking for a General Manager. The model, as Breer explains it, would operate like the situation in Pittsburgh, where coach Mike Tomlin and G.M. (as of this season) Kevin Colbert work in concert.
Breer also reports that a football consultant could be hired to help the team through the balance of the 2011 campaign.
Raiders CEO Amy Trask separately said that she is not ready to talk publicly about the possibility of hiring a G.M. or a director of football operations, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Though the process of running a team during the season is less complex, plans need to be made for free agency in 2012 and the next college draft. Complicating a quick search is the fact that an overabundance of quality candidates aren’t immediately available, since most of the best choices currently have jobs. Also, given that the G.M. would have to work in concert with coach Hue Jackson, the search would need to happen at a time when Jackson has time to be involved with interviews and discussions with the finalists.
To the extent that the Raiders will gravitate toward folks with ties to the organization, names to watch could include John Madden, Matt Millen (who as Peter King reported over the weekend turned down an offer to work for the team after being fired by the Lions), and Sean Jones (whom we’re told was at one point under consideration for a front-office job).
Then there’s a topic that was raised during Tuesday’s PFT Live. With the Raiders under Al Davis never using contracts for anyone in the front office, it’s unlikely that Jackson’s contract stipulates that he reported to anyone but Al Davis. The next question becomes whether Jackson’s contract contains language that would require him to report to a G.M. or some other employee who may be hired upon the passing of Al Davis. If not, the coach and the G.M. would have separate straight-line reporting obligations to Mark Davis.
Eventually, there’s a good chance that Mark Davis will create a hierarchy like the one that Randy Lerner has crafted in Cleveland. Lerner, who inherited the Browns from his father (who also was named Al), has no interest in being a traditional owner. Thus, Lerner has hired Mike Holmgren to serve in that role as to all football matters. Though Jackson’s contract could be an impediment to that structure, it could be the best way for Davis to run the team, if he doesn’t truly want to run the team.