Ranking the 5 Best General Managers in the NFL
General Managers may have the toughest gig in the National Football League. Outside of having to make countless heavily-scrutinized player personnel and NFL Draft-related evaluations, they also have to make difficult decisions that will ultimately affect the livelihoods of their staff and players on a daily basis; they have to manage a hard salary cap; and they have to manage some of the biggest egos in professional sports. And they do all of this with little to no job security to fall back on.
With these rankings, we considered several factors such as draft picks, free agent signings, salary cap management, coaching hires, and team culture. Here is a look at the top five General Managers in the NFL.
5. Ted Thompson, Green Bay Packers
Regardless of how the rest of his tenure as the GM in Green Bay plays out, Thompson will always be remembered as the guy who not only drafted quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but who also knew when the time was right to turn to Rodgers and move on from Hall of Fame signal caller Brett Favre.
4. Ozzie Newsome, Baltimore Ravens
In all reality, we could make a solid argument that Newsome — who is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player — is the best GM in the league. He has run the Ravens personnel department since they moved to Baltimore in 1996, even if he wasn’t officially promoted to General Manager until 2002, when he became the first African American General Manager in league history.
During his reign in Baltimore, Newsome has built two Super Bowl-winning rosters; he has drafted 17 players and signed three undrafted free agents who have developed into Pro Bowlers; and he has hired two incredibly successful head coaches in Brian Billick and John Harbaugh.
3. John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks
Since taking over as the team’s General Manager in 2010, Schneider has built the Seahawks into a bona fide NFL juggernaut by establishing himself as the best GM in the business when it comes finding middle- and late-round draft steals and starting-caliber undrafted free agents.
He is responsible for drafting guys such as quarterback Russell Wilson (third round), cornerback Richard Sherman (fifth round), safety Kam Chancellor (fifth round), wide receiver Tyler Lockett (third round), cornerback Byron Maxwell (sixth round), and linebacker Malcolm Smith (seventh round). He’s also responsible for signing undrafted free agents such as running back Thomas Rawls, wide receivers Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Ricardo Lockette, and offensive lineman Garry Gilliam.
On top of his ability to find players who have slipped through the cracks, Schneider has also proven to be outstanding when it comes to handling the team’s salary cap. All said, with the roster foundation that Schneider has set, the Seahawks are going to be Super Bowl contenders for several years to come.