As with the coach-related page, I have made a centralized post for all 2024 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.
February 8, 2024
Patriots Hire Eliot Wolf as GM:
I saw this hiring yesterday, but it was announced as Wolf being “in charge of the personnel department”, so I wanted to get confirmation that was really becoming the de facto GM. The Pats’ director of scouting the last two seasons, either Wolf hasn’t been giving Bill Belichick good names to choose from, or Belichick has ignored his efforts. New England, to put it bluntly, has drafted very poorly. That’s why Belichick is out after all. What you might not know is that Wolf is the son of legendary Packers GM Ron Wolf and joined the Packers’ scouting department (a very good one I might add) all the way back in 2004, so he’s very experienced. Based on his work in Green Bay, I’m inclined to believe that he’s a good scout that hasn’t been listened to in Foxborough. With that in mind, I’ll give this a positive grade while knowing that he won’t be the sole person in charge of the role. I expect the GM duties to be split but with Wolf getting the lion’s share.
January 30, 2024
Chargers Hire Joe Hortiz as GM:
Of course the Chargers hired a Baltimore executive. Given that Jim Harbaugh got hired as the HC first, you knew he’d look to his brother John for a GM recommendation. It’s not a bad strategy in this case, as Hortiz was the director of player personnel for a team with a very strong roster. I don’t love how they’ve managed the QB situation, but the rest of the team is stacked. This line of executives was trained by the great Ozzie Newsome. Hortiz has only ever been with Ravens, starting there all the way back in 1998. That sort of stability should be welcomed by LA. Baltimore is also a model for cap management, which Tom Telesco had issues with in Los Angeles. You also know that I love hires plucked out of successful organizations, so this hire can’t be anything but well-regarded.
January 23, 2024
Raiders Hire Tom Telesco as GM:
Telesco wasn’t out of a job for too long! Recently fired midseason by the Chargers, he is immediately turning to the AFC West. I find it interesting that owner Mark Davis retained HC Antonio Pierce before selecting a GM. It’s usually done the other way around, with a few notable exceptions. SOMEBODY has to do a decent job drafting for the Raiders, particularly in the early rounds. They’ve interestingly been pretty good on days 2 and 3 of the draft, but their 1st-round picks have mostly been awful. The guy who picked Justin Herbert might be the one to fix the QB situation in Vegas, as I don’t think Aidan O’Connell is the guy, and bridges have been burnt with Jimmy Garoppolo. I wondered to myself: is the Chargers roster that Telesco left behind very good? A year or two ago, that would’ve been an easy “yes”. Now, I’m not so sure. The cap situation isn’t great, and much of the veteran talent didn’t blossom under the past regime. Still, he had a competitive team for most of his tenure in San Diego/LA. That’s more than the Raiders of recent years can say, so this is a definite upgrade.
Panthers Promote Dan Morgan to GM:
I don’t get this one at all. I knew that former GM Scott Fitterer was merely a scapegoat for owner David Tepper’s asinine decisions. Promoting his assistant certainly validates that narrative. Why not just keep Fitterer? That would’ve been the cheaper move for a guy paying 3 head coaches to NOT coach his team at the moment. Anyway, let’s judge Morgan on his merits. He’s a former LB who played for Carolina and has been an assistant GM for the past 3 seasons. Cynically, I could say that he knows exactly what NOT to do with a franchise. Morgan was around when the Panthers traded for multiple stopgap QBs, fired several coaches, and traded the farm to select QB Bryce Young #1 overall last year. Most of these moves were spearheaded by Tepper, so we don’t know if Morgan agrees with him. I worry that hiring a Panther insider was specifically done so that Tepper would get less pushback. Otherwise, he might be a perfectly good hire. Time will tell, but I’m not confident in any decision Tepper makes, especially one that appears this self-serving.
January 12, 2024
Commanders Hire Adam Peters as GM:
Curiously, I’m grading a GM hiring before a team fires the incumbent. As far as I’m aware, Martin Mayhew is still employed by the team, and Peters will get to decide what do with him. Fortunately for Peters, I’m grading his hire and not the hiring process, as the latter would drag this grade down. Peters has been the assistant GM to John Lynch in San Francisco. I don’t know why teams don’t poach from successful teams’ front offices the way they do with their coaching staffs. Peters has played a role in assembling the NFL’s best roster. The Niners consistently hit on late-round draft picks more often than other teams. They’re also the pinnacle of stability, which Washington has long lacked. As weirdly as this Commanders organization is being structured (by a basketball executive no less), so far I have nothing to complain about. This is a smart, sensible hire.
January 11, 2024
Patriots Part Ways with GM Bill Belichick:
Note: I’m grading this in two parts–for Belichick the coach and Belichick the GM. Please see the other page for the other grade. I’m doing the GM part first.
I chose to start with this side of things because it’s the one that is truly clear-cut. I never expected to feel this way, but GM Belichick had to go. His roster moves over the past decade have been very poor. Specifically, he repeatedly missed in the draft at the WR and CB positions. Those mistakes were covered up by some UDFA gems like Jonathan Jones and Tom Brady’s excellence. After Brady departed for Tampa Bay, those roster deficiencies became obvious. No more was that apparent than when Belichick had to do something that wasn’t required for 20 years: swing big on a rookie QB. His chosen option, Mac Jones, along with all the other options he tried in the post-Brady era, flopped. Losing seasons followed, despite great efforts from the defense. Someone else needs to take over roster duties. For as well as Belichick performed on that front in the 2000s, the 2010s and 2020s have been awful. It took a 4-13 season for a change to be made, but it has finally arrived.
January 8, 2024
Panthers Fire GM Scott Fitterer
This may be the toughest GM grade I do this year. The reason is that it’s nearly impossible to tell what exactly Fitterer is responsible for. Owner David Tepper is more meddlesome than any other owner in the league, and it was supposedly his call to trade up and draft QB Bryce Young. That is the worst move of Fitterer’s tenure, but I’m not sure I can assign him the blame for it. He’s also not the one who fired the last 3 Panthers coaches, nor is he necessarily the one who hired any of them. The resume looks terrible: a poor record, whiffed draft picks, and damaging trades. Would he have performed a lot differently in another organization? It’s possible, but I have to evaluate what I can see. His firing looks like a scapegoat situation, but he hasn’t helped himself. Pushing back or even resigning might have been better for his career. This grade stems from the uncertainty described above, and I definitely wouldn’t want his job.