Well, it's been 4-5 years since I wrote a post like this as I took the last HC hiring cycle off thinking it was obvious as to who top candidates were. We then ended up with Reich and his super staff that just haven't produced. So here we are again in misery and the only hope I have is writing about potential possibilities and crossing my fingers that something magical will happen even with Tepper as the owner. This first post will cover potential GMs and then will hit up the coaches.
Here are some potential GM candidates this year that the Panthers could look at:
Top Talent Evaluators:
Adam Peters (SF) - Given San Francisco's roster, anyone breathing in that FO could be considered a great candidate. Peters is currently the Asst. GM and came up through the scouting department with Denver and was part of the organization when the game that shall not be named was played against the Panthers. He did interview with the Giants and Titans last year and declined to interview with Arizona. Given the Cardinals mismanagement/ownership I'm curious if we could even get Peters in the door. Tepper will need to wave money and promise to step back for us to have a chance as many teams have Peters at the top of their list.
Glenn Cook (CLE) - Currently the Asst. GM with Cleveland, Cook rose to this position from the pro scouting department and was also the VP of Player Personnel. So, yes, the big elephant in the room is the Deshaun Watson deal, but if you take that out of the equation, what Cleveland has done recently to stabilize the organization and make them competitive is a model for the Panthers to follow. Cleveland has surprisingly built a deep and talented roster through both the draft and free agency. If Cook is game for the same challenges faced in Cleveland then welcome to the Panthers.
Champ Kelly (LV) - Champ may be off the market due to the recent firings in Las Vegas where he now has stepped into the interim GM role. Kelly came to the Raiders from the Bears where he was the Asst. Director of Player Personnel. Prior to that he was the Director of Pro Scouting. Back even before that he was with the Broncos as a college scout. Kelly is respected around the league and is deemed a rising star that has worked at almost every level in the football world.
Candidates from my previous posts that are still available:
Ed Dodds - Currently Asst GM with the Colts. Dodds has been Chris Ballards right hand man. He came to the Colts via the Seahawks where he handled their scouting department. With the Colts he has handled their pro and college scouting departments and remade their entire player evaluation process. That experience alone could transform the Panthers as our scouting hasn't been the best on either the pro or college side.That being said, the Colts haven't been fairing well recently and that's taken a bit of shine of Dodds but, hey, they probably drafted a better QB than we did last draft. We'll have to wait and see...
Mike Borgonzi (KC) - I had Borgonzi the last go around and he actually did interview with the Panthers but lost out to Fitterer. Given the Kansas City roster and their ability to adapt and still stay at a high-level, you have to give credit to that front office. Borgonzi has pretty much worked every position with the Chiefs for the past 14 years and is currently the Asst. GM. If you can bring any bit of the Chiefs philosophy and stability to the Carolinas, it would be a huge upgrade.
We'll just call this group the "Philly Connections":
Ian Cunningham (CHI) - Cunningham is currently the Bears Asst. GM. Ian was part of both the Ravens and Eagles front offices during their respective Super Bowls, so he comes with experience under two of the best GMs in the league (Newsome and Roseman). He was a scout with the Ravens and then moved to Philly as the Director of College Scouting and then move to Director of Player Personnel. Given his experience under these two organizations, he becomes a top candidate in my opinion.
Dave Caldwell (PHI) - Caldwell is currently the Senior Personnel Director with the Eagles. Prior to that he was the Jacksonville Jaguars GM from 2013-2020. His reign in Jacksonville wasn't great and the hope is that experience tied with sitting currently with one of the best run organizations in the league will make him an even better GM the next time around. Not sure I'm high on a retread candidate but if we did go for one, I'm thinking Caldwell could be one of the better options.
Trey Brown (CIN) - Brown, like Caldwell, is the Senior Personnel Executive for the Bengals. Although Cincy has been struggling a bit this year it's clear that they've built an explosive and talented roster on both sides of the ball. Brown started as a scout for the Patriots under Nick Caserio and then went to the Eagles under Roseman where he quickly rose the ranks to head their college scouting department. Seeking more experience he jumped to the XFL to run the whole personnel department for the Battlehawks.
Brandon Brown (NYG) - Brown is young at 34 years old but he has quickly become the Asst. GM in New York. He has experience in roster development and college & pro scouting. Before coming to New York he spent time under Roseman as the Director of Scouting. Brown has experience with roster development and college & pro scouting. If you want a fresh young voice then Brown is your man.
Brandon Hunt (PHI) - Brandon was on my list the last go arounds and is still and interesting name to consider. Back then he was with the Steelers as the Pro Scouting Coordinator. He interviewed for the Steelers GM position last year but was passed over. He then jumped to the Eagles as the Director of Scouting. With the shine of the Eagles and the link with the Steelers and Tepper, Brandon may have a shot at an interview with us. I'd probably like some more high-level of experience but on the other hand, if we retain Suleiman then Hunt can just focus on talent evaluating.
Andy Weidl (PIT) - Currently the Asst. GM in Pittsburgh, Weidl is another disciple of Ozzie Newsome spending a decade as an area scout before going to the Eagles in 2016 as their asst. director of player personnel. With the Eagles he move to VP of Player Personnel and then interviewed for the Steeler GM position. Losing out on the top job, he accepted the Asst. GM position. Weidl is one of the more intriguing candidates, like Ian Cunningham, as he has experiences with two great organizations and is now an Asst GM. Depending on who interviews better between the two and tells Tepper to get the F out of the football side of the business, I'd hire one of them.
Other Names to Consider:
JoJo Wooden (Dir. Player Personnel, Chargers), Louis Reddick, Catherine Raiche (Asst. GM, Cleveland Browns), Joe Hortiz (Dir. Player Personnel, Ravens), Brandt Tilis (VP Football Operations, KC)
Hit the comments and share your thoughts!