2023 NFL GM Hiring/Firing Grades

As with the coach-related page, I have made a centralized post for all 2023 GM move-related grades (most recent first) as well. Once again, these moves are typically made on or near Black Monday, the first Monday after the regular season concludes. Moves can occur midseason or after the draft, but these are rare and mean that a team is either in a bad state or being grossly mismanaged. Here, I provide hiring/firing grades for each GM change made. Teams that clean house often prefer to hire a GM first, who will then have a say in picking the coach. For those coaching changes, check out this page.

Titans Hire 49ers’ Ran Carthon as GM
See Arizona? You hire an executive from the staff of a team that’s SUCCEEDING. In this case, it’s SF’s director of player personnel Ran Carthon. He’s coming from a highly effective front office that has built the league’s best defense. The 49ers constructed their team the right way, building from the trenches. The experience Carthon has gained will be invaluable in Tennessee, and I like the fit with Mike Vrabel who also enjoys a rough-and-tumble style. I have just 2 gripes with this hire, but both may not matter. First, I hated the Trey Lance trade; it’s possible that Carthon had little to do with it, in which case it can be ignored. The other is that the 49ers get two 3rd-round compensatory picks because the Titans poached a minority candidate from them for a high-level position. If Carthon is the guy, then oh well because it’s totally worth it to give SF that competitive advantage. After all, the picks are given by the NFL, not Tennessee, and SF is an NFC team. I just am not a fan of giving an already elite team even more lottery picks in the draft. Once again though, if Carthon is everything the Titans hope, they won’t give that issue a second thought.
Grade: A-

Cardinals Hire Titans’ Monti Ossenfort as GM
Arizona didn’t wait too long to replace Steve Keim, opting for Titans’ director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort. This is fascinating, because Tennessee didn’t pick him to fill THEIR vacant GM role. It’s usually a red flag when an executive is passed over by his own team for the same position. I also wonder about the idea of poaching “talent” from a team who fired their GM during the season. Things obviously weren’t going well enough in Tennessee, but this is very much like Arizona. Remember, this is the same team that hired Kliff Kingsbury at coach right AFTER he was fired by Texas Tech. Ossenfort is well-regarded in league circles and was earning a bunch of interviews. However, his most recent draft, completed with the fired Jon Robinson, is not particularly inspiring. I understand though that certain quality candidates will shy away from this job. Michael Bidwill is an active owner, which many GMs do not like. You’re also stuck with Kyler Murray’s awful contract and an apparent mandate to trade DeAndre Hopkins. Thus, a young executive that teams think highly of is likely the best they could do, so I won’t grade the move too harshly.
Grade: C+

Cardinals GM Steve Keim “Stepping Down”
I’m grading this one and putting the term in quotes because I don’t believe it was a completely voluntary resignation. Keim has been in trouble the whole year due to Arizona’s poor performance, but he stepped away from the team last month due to unknown health issues. Saying that he’s stepping down allows him to save face and blame it on the health problems while enabling Arizona to save some cash. Otherwise, this is likely a firing. Keim, like coach Kliff Kingsbury, was extended through 2027 10 months ago. I have no idea why. He’s responsible for hiring coach Steve Wilks and firing him after just one season. Keim also spent a first rounder on QB Josh Rosen and then spent the #1 overall pick on Kyler Murray a year later. The diminutive Murray is not a franchise QB, but Keim paid him like one, and that contract is now an albatross. He also participated in the failed hiring of Kingsbury. Keim has not done a good job for several years now, and this team desperately needs a new leadership team.
Grade: A+

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