Originally posted by Ronnie49Lott:
The NFL's Best GMs-
Being a good general manager can be as simple as finding the right quarterback. It can be as complicated as a meddlesome owner forcing you into picks and moves you don't want to make, picks and moves that come to define a reputation.
So we're not going to pretend this is a straightforward exercise. This is a league where coin flips can determine draft position. You don't always get a fair shake. But we still know what a good GM looks like. Perhaps more than in any other field, patience is a virtue. GMing like there's no tomorrow might net you the occasional Josh Gordon. More often, it saddles you with Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson. Even in a "what have you done for me lately?" business, the game is best played long.
When you boil it down, a GM can control:
— Who he hires.
— Who he drafts.
— Who he signs, and for how much.
— Who he lets walk, and when.
If you excel in these four areas, you're generally headed toward years of playoff contention. If not, regime change. Even in a sport with so many variables, it's almost always that simple. So as we embark on free agency, here are the league's top 32 GMs, with this year's three new hires written up separately at the end. Without further ado.
1. Bill Belichick - Patriots
2. Ozzie Newsome - Ravens
3. Ted Thompson - Packers
4. John Schneider - Seahawks
5. Trent Baalke - 49ers
Operating as the 49ers' de facto general manager in the 2010 draft, Baalke took Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati in the first round, and Navorro Bowman in the third. He's been on a largely uninterrupted winning streak ever since. Officially named GM in January 2011, Baalke's first move was hiring Jim Harbaugh, who's turned out to be the best coaching prospect since Belichick. Together, Baalke and Harbaugh cleaned up the 2011 draft, and have sent three straight teams to the NFC Championship Game. The paint is peeling in some places. Baalke's 2012 draft class was one of the worst you'll ever see, while his relationship with Harbaugh has reportedly seen better days. It's possible Baalke could eventually lose a power struggle. Until that day comes, he'll continue running circles around his colleagues.
Crazy, I didn't even know Bill Belichick was a GM.
My rankings would go like this:
1. Trent Baalke - 49ers
- On the scale of: Who he hires
(Harbaugh and resigns top internal coaches) — Who he drafts
(2012 isn't over yet and 2011/2013 may end up being epic) — Who he signs, and for how much
(the FA list last year was the best in the NFL and we barely spent a dime) — Who he lets walk, and when
(Goldson but restructures and resigns LT our young core of players; part of the best FO in the game on all these fronts). 2013 seemed like his first real draft. 2012 to me, still feels like one of those drafts he let every key coach pick their player (grades are still out on LaMichael James, Joe Looney, Darius Fleming & Jon Baldwin). Even in 2013, guys such as Cooper and Daniels were also great late picks who played very well for other teams. The fact that this team was so stacked in talent and depth from 2011 on, yet all players were given a fair chance to succeed and did in many cases (i.e. Ian Williams, T. Brock, Alex Boone, TJE, etc.) is incredible. Without a doubt, Baalke has a short-term and long-term approach to keeping us on top of the league for years and years to come. Stock-piling draft picks (most in the NFL every year), signing all the young core players, his eye for talent in the late rounds and as UDFA's and his ability to bring in 2nd and 3rd tier FA moves that pay off BIG TIME has been epic. Couple all of this with the salary cap management and this is the best FO in the game, bar none. My only concern is that at some point, he needs to step in and ensure this offense rises WELL above it's current 30th ranking and ensures the secondary is not smoked in the playoffs for the 3rd straight year. If that requires bringing in a real OC and handing that unit over and/or enforcing some philosophical changes on offense AND defense (i.e scheme), then so be it. But as far as talent, I'm not sure what more he can possibly bring in. The rest is on the coaches to use it and use it properly and the players to execute.
2. John Schneider - Seahawks
- The guy made 1,000 moves his first year and clearly brought in the defensive players Pete wanted to a T to fit his mold/scheme/philosophy and it paid off. He was also willing to mortage the future some with some bigger named FA's and it paid off in the end. His ranking can't be higher for now b/c the true test will come from this year on re: the salaray cap management with huge contracts due to be paid (i.e. Sherman, Wilson, etc.).
3. Ozzie Newsome - Ravens
- A top-notch GM but a GM's real strength is how he manages the team once you pay your QB big dollars. And so far?
4. Ted Thompson - Packers
- Seems to have no issues retooling the offense but every year, his defense is a joke...that's on talent and keeping it.
5. Bill Belichick - Patriots
- As a GM? I'm not sure about this one...as a COACH, he is able to plug-and-play guys better than anyone but if he was a stellar GM, he wouldn't have too.
[ Edited by NCommand on Mar 11, 2014 at 7:49 PM ]