Ranking all 6 NFL GM openings; Where do the Lions land?

Detroit Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Detroit Lions will have some competition for GM candidates this offseason

The Detroit Lions are at a very critical crossroads in their franchises’ history after firing former general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia. You could say the most critical since their winless 2008 season when they fired general manager Matt Millen and head coach Rod Marinelli. But, all that just resulted in senior VP/assistant GM Martin Mayhew coming out of the rubble as the next general manager.

Instead, I would argue this is the most important hire since the Bill Tobin and Matt Millen experiment, who were hired as a combo-meal after the firing of former general manager Chuck Schmidt. You see how far back a bad hire can set you.

There was only one GM hired in the NFL in 2019, in 2020 there will be at least six as of the Sunday before black Monday. So what are some of the boxes that GM candidates are looking to check when on the interview trail looking for the best opportunity? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, if I’m GM I’m first taking a look at the ownership, draft capital, quarterback, roster, and cap space.

Based primarily on those five circumstances, here’s how I rank the six general manager openings in the NFL this 2021 offseason;

1)  Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)

  • owner: Shahid Khan
  • head coach: Doug Marrone (on his way out)
  • projected ’21 cap space: $77,612,992 (1st in NFL)
  • projected ’21 draft pick:  1st-overall pick

Jacksonville has (11) total picks in 2021 and three in the first (33). Based on that alone, if you throw in some good scouting – a new staff can really make a difference only hitting on 50% of their picks.

But, even more importantly, with the 1st-overall pick … they sit with the Trevor Lawrence golden ticket. Projected to be one of the highest-graded quarterback prospects to come out in our generation. The rest of their quarterback situation is really a non-factor. Gardner Minshew makes pennies or has a $95,442 dead cap in 2021, Mike Glennon is a free agent, and you have the rookie, Jake Luton.

The Jaguars already have some young talent to go with their massive 2021 draft class as well. On offense running back James Robinson, wide receivers DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault lead a promising young core. On the other side of the ball, they have Lions fan favorite, defensive end Josh Allen, defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, linebacker Myles Jack, and cornerback C.J. Henderson.

With the most projected cap room in the NFL next season, the No. 1 pick, and some good young players. This the No. 1 GM landing spot by a country mile.

Ownership: Then to top it all off – Shahid Khan is known to be a very patient and hands-off owner, the best kind you can ask for as a GM.

Update: It was reported on Monday that Khan had roster control in 2020 and will keep that control ‘for now’. Whether that was due to not trusting the former GM or an actual sign of things to come … it’s not ideal by any means. But, everything else about the job is too great to knock Jacksonville out of the No. 1.