In four weeks, the NFL’s regular season will end. At that point, the coaching carousel will spin.
This time, the league hopes to see an increase in representation of minority hires at both the coaching and G.M. positions. Toward that end, the league has maintained a “ready list” of candidates for both jobs, and for offensive and defensive coordinator positions.
PFT has obtained a copy of a version of the list generated last month.
The head-coaching candidates on the list printed on NFL Football Operations letterhead consist of, in alphabetical order, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, Penn State coach James Franklin, Bills defensive coordinator and former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Arizona State defensive coordinator and former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, 49ers coach Robert Saleh, and Michigan State coach Mel Tucker.
The G.M. candidates are Bills director of pro scouting Malik Boyd, former Eagles director of college scouting Trey Brown, Brown V.P. of football administration Chris Cooper, Bills assistant director of college scouting Lake Dawson, Rams player personnel consultant and former Browns G.M. Ray Farmer, Saints assistant G.M. Terry Fontenot, Raiders director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph, 49ers V.P. of player personnel and former Lions G.M. Martin Mayhew, Ravens senior personnel executive Vincent Newsome, former Giants G.M. Jerry Reese, former Eagles director of pro personnel Louis Riddick, former Texans G.M. Rick Smith, Cardinals director of pro scouting Adrian Wilson, and Chargers director of player personnel JoJo Wooden.
Curiously absent from the list are former Bills G.M. Doug Whaley and former Raiders G.M. Reggie McKenzie.
Omitted from the list of coaching candidates, but named on the list of offensive coordinator candidates, is former Raiders and Browns head coach Hue Jackson. Other minority coaches with head-coaching experience who aren’t mentioned on the current list include former Broncos coach Vance Joseph, former Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, former Rams and Buccaneers coach Love Smith, and Arizona State coach and former Jets and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards. Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel and Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris also aren’t expressly named as head-coaching candidates.
The league’s owners recently created an incentive for teams to develop minority candidates for head-coaching and G.M. jobs, providing a pair of third-round compensatory picks to a team that loses a lower-level employee to a coaching of G.M. position elsewhere.
A generation ago, under the clear threat of litigation from Cyrus Mehri and the late Johnnie Cochran, the NFL promulgated the Rooney Rule, which requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for every head-coaching position. It has been expanded to include G.M. jobs. As of 2021, it will further expand to other high-level positions.
UPDATE 12:50 p.m. ET: Chris Cooper, per a league source, accidentally was added to the list of minority candidates, even though he isn’t a minority. He will be on the broader list that includes all candidates regardless of race.