Several months ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated a need for the NFL to be more diverse, particularly in the most coveted positions across the league, such as head coach and general manager, saying: “Clearly we are not where we want to be on this level. It’s clear we need to change. We have already begun discussing those changes, what stages we can take next to determine better outcomes.” And soon, he’ll try his best to follow through.
Next week, NFL owners will reportedly vote on a resolution that would improve a team’s draft position if it hires a person of color as either the head coach or general manager. As Trotter put it in the attendant article: “The call to action grew even louder after only one of the five coaching vacancies during the offseason was filled by a person of color, continuing a trend in which just three of the past 20 openings have gone to a minority.”
So what, exactly, do these proposals entail?
Here’s what Trotter had to share:
If a team hires a minority head coach, that team, in the draft preceding the coach’s second season, would move up six spots from where it is slotted to pick in the third round. A team would jump 10 spots under the same scenario for hiring a person of color as its primary football executive, a position more commonly known as general manager.
If a team were to fill both positions with diverse candidates in the same year, that club could jump 16 spots — six for the coach, 10 for the GM — and potentially move from the top of the third round to the middle of the second round. Another incentive: a team’s fourth-round pick would climb five spots in the draft preceding the coach’s or GM’s third year if he is still with the team. That is considered significant because Steve Wilks and Vance Joseph, two of the four African-American head coaches hired since 2017, were fired after one and two seasons, respectively.
In short, if you hire a person of color as head coach, your third round pick moves up 6 spots. If you hire a person of color as GM, your third round pick moves up 10 spots. If you do both in the same year, your third round pick moves up 16 spots (which could move you into the second round).
And finally, if either/both hires last three years in those positions with your organization, your team’s fourth-round pick would climb five spots – an understandable addition, given the example cited above.
That’s not all, however.
In addition to everything above, the proposal would also “remove the longstanding anti-tampering barrier that permits clubs to block assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator positions with other clubs.” Moreover, clubs would be prohibited from denying an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a “bona fide” coordinator position. Relatedly, teams will receive fifth-round compensatory pick if one of their minority coaches leaves to become a coordinator with another team and a compensatory third-round pick if the person leaves to become a head coach or general manager.
In short, hire more minorities to important positions at any level of your franchise and when they leave for bigger and better opportunities on the strengths of their own talent, your franchise will be rewarded.
One final proposal includes a compensatory fourth round pick for any team that hires a person of color as its quarterbacks coach and retains that employee beyond one season.
There is a little bit more to it than that – including potentially further enhancing the Rooney Rule by doubling the number of minority candidates a team must interview for head-coaching vacancies – but these are the main strokes.