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NFL coaching, GM searches: Seahawks figure to play heavily in rumors, interviews

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody would be happier about Tom Cable being hired as a head coach somewhere other than Seattle more than Seahawks fans. Not even Tom Cable. Well, you might get your wish ... or at least, might come close to it.

Cable, as well as coordinators Darrell Bevell and Kris Richard, could figure heavily in interviews for head coaches this year. USA Today’s Tom Pelissero reported over the weekend that Cable was a name that would come up in coaching searches, which are currently going to be held by six teams: LA Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Diego Chargers. Others may emerge, including a potential surprise in Houston if the Texans don’t do something of note in the playoffs, especially after losing in the season finale to Matt Cassel, though nothing was on the line.

Cable was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2008 to 2010, improving his record in each successive season before being fired after going 8-8. When Seattle picked him up to be their offensive line coach in 2011, I would guess that most fans were excited to get a former head coach of note to be an assistant, but fan support waned as the o-line began to struggle in the last couple of years. However, former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch also voiced support for Cable in Pelissero’s article and the truth is that he’s been an assistant head coach for a team that’s made the playoffs for five straight years. So there are plenty of reasons to see why other organizations might be interested in him and seeing if they could have similar success to what Dan Quinn is having with the Atlanta Falcons.

But not what Gus Bradley had for the Jaguars.

Speaking of which, current defensive coordinator Kris Richard, who succeeded Bradley and Quinn, may also get some interviews. After running the Seattle defense for each of the last two seasons, and being an assistant under Pete Carroll dating back to 2008 at USC, Richard could be enticing for defensive-minded organizations. The Broncos are rumored to be interested per ESPN, while Pelissero says that the Bills have done a lot of homework on Richard. If a team were to hire Richard away (something fans may not be worried about given the defensive struggles this season on third down and without Earl Thomas), the Seahawks could look to Bradley, or perhaps finally promote Rocky Seto. They could also go outside of the organization again as they did with Quinn in 2013, though Quinn had worked under Carroll in Seattle previously.

On Monday, it was reported that the Rams, 49ers, and Jaguars had all requested to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, while LA had also requested to interview Jacksonville interim head coach Doug Marrone and Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay. The Jags have reportedly setup an interview with Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for Friday. Larry Holder reports that the Rams will work this week to see if a trade for New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton would be possible.

Either way, the NFC West will see two new head coaches next season, and at least one new GM. San Francisco fired head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke on Friday following their loss to the Seahawks. As of now, Los Angeles still has GM Les Snead, but that could change depending on how the head coach search transpires; though it does seem unlikely that they would choose a head coach who would choose a GM, unless it went down the same way it went down for Carroll in 2010 with John Schneider.

The Indianapolis Colts may also choose to fire 2012 NFL Executive of the Year Ryan Grigson, and other teams may join the list, but as of now it appears to only be San Francisco. Would they or another team look to the Seattle front office for help? It could happen and that may hurt more than losing a coach.

Co-director of Player Personnel Scott Fitterer is a name that’s been thrown around a bit in the last couple of years. In 2015, Fitterer interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles about their GM position, but turned it down or didn’t get it. He’s been given a lot of credit for many of the great players on the Seahawks’ roster. He began his career in Seattle as a scout in 2001 before being promoted to Director of College Scouting in 2010 when the team drafted Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, and Kam Chancellor. The following year they found Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell and in 2012, it was Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson, among many others over the years, of course.

The Niners reportedly have interest in Fitterer, as well as Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, who previously interviewed with the New York Jets in 2015 and the Detroit Lions in 2016.

There is no way we could measure or predict the pain of losing either or both, but front offices being poached are a good way to start losing in the draft. Consider that the Green Bay Packers lost execs to the Seahawks (Schneider), Kansas City Chiefs (John Dorsey), and Oakland Raiders (Reggie McKenzie) within the span of a few years. Those organizations are all in the playoffs, while the Packers have struggled to put together great draft classes as of late.

The only exec that I can think of Seattle losing since 2010 is John Idzik, who the Jets hired to be their GM in 2013. Idzik was in charge of player contracts and the like, and his lack of experience in talent evaluation (or perceived lack, perhaps) got him fired after only two seasons. He oversaw New York drafts that ended up with Dee Milliner (ninth overall pick, now out of the NFL), Geno Smith, Brian Winters, Calvin Pryor, Jace Amaro (second round pick released after two seasons), and Dexter McDougle, all of whom were day one or day two picks. His best gets were Sheldon Richardson and Quincy Enunwa, but the Jets have certainly struggled in those and the following seasons.

Idzik is currently in the Jacksonville front office, though we’ll see how long that lasts.

If you’re looking for a GM candidate much further down the line, Dan Morgan will always draw some interest because of his famous name as a player who the Carolina Panthers drafted 11th overall in 2001. He is now director of pro personnel for Seattle.