NFL to weigh plan rewarding teams for developing minority coaches, general managers hired elsewhere

NFL owners on Tuesday will consider another proposal aimed at strengthening diversity hiring practices on the head coach and general manager ranks. 

Under the proposal by the NFL's workplace diversity committee, a team that loses a minority staff member hired as a head coach or general manager by another organization would receive third-round compensatory picks in the two upcoming drafts, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal had not yet been presented to the owners.

If a team loses staffers to both a head coach and GM position in the same offseason, that team would receive third-round compensatory picks in the next three drafts.

The goal of the proposal is to reward teams for developing minority coaching and general manager staff members, putting them on the path to advancement in the league.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy watches warm ups before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photo: Denny Medley, Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

This resolution differs from last May’s unsuccessful proposal to reward teams for hiring a head coach or general manager of color. 

The NFL’s workplace diversity committee has intensified its efforts to improve the league’s long-standing imbalance in head coaching and front office ranks. 

This offseason, Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team coach) and Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns general manager) were the only two people of color to land head coaching or general manager positions.

Now, only four teams (Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers, and Miami Dolphins) have minority head coaches, and only Cleveland and Miami have Black general managers.

The NFL’s diversity committee proposed bolstering the Rooney Rule, which now requires teams to interview at least two minority candidates from outside the organization for head coach positions and at least one external option for coordinator roles as well general manger openings or other senior football operations positions. The owners also approved that measure as well as the new rule preventing teams from blocking an assistant coach from interviewing for a coordinator job with another team, or an assistant general manager with another team. 

For years, coaches and talent evaluators of color have found it challenging to advance in the NFL. The league’s owners and team presidents have frequently blamed the league’s poor diversity on a limited talent pool to choose from.

However, the pipeline has always existed, and it now appears stronger than ever thanks to a growing list compiled by NFL’s diversity workplace committee and forwarded onto owners and team presidents.

When it comes to coaching positions, the names of minority first-time head coaching candidates being discussed among NFL circles include Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot, Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. 

General manager candidates of color include Buffalo Bills director of pro scouting Malik Boyd, former Philadelphia Eagles director of college scouting Trey Brown, Browns VP of football administration Chris Cooper, Las Vegas Raiders director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph, former Eagles director of pro personnel and current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick and Chargers director of player personnel JoJo Wooden.

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