Life After Al: Who

The passing of Al Davis has the Raider Nation and the league wondering what will become of the team. Who will run the football operations?

Mark Davis and Amy Trask already have a list of candidates to fill the football operations and/or general manager roles, but what isn’t certain is who is on the list and how long the Raiders intend to go without a head football man. The search for new football executives could last until early in the offseason at the longest. Who is on the list? Here is a list of potential candidates.


Bill Parcells

Parcells knew Al Davis for 48 years and he’s close with the Davis family. Parcells is working for ESPN and has to be itching to get back into the game. He’s likely high on the list of candidates. He said the only reason he could never work for the Raiders is that he wouldn’t want to ruin his friendship with Al Davis and that he and Al would butt heads too much. With Al Davis’ passing Parcells could take over full football operations for his friend’s team. He’s one of the few candidates the Raiders could bring in that wouldn’t be haunted by the black cloud of Al Davis’ legacy. Parcells has his own legacy and he understands Raiders history. The only question is if the Raiders can afford what Parcells is likely to demand as compensation. Parcells is one candidate the Davis family could trust completely and that trust and total power over the football side of things could be appealing to him.


Ron Wolf

Wolf retired in 2001 from his General Manger position with the Packers. That leaves some doubt whether he’d even be interested in returning to football. He has a proven track record of success in football and with the Raiders. Wolf worked closely with Al Davis to build the Raiders in the 1970s and was the man who brought Brett Favre and Reggie White to the Packers in the 1990s. He’s familiar with the Raiders, if that is a quality that means something to Mark Davis is yet to be determined.


Jon Gruden

Plenty of people in the Raiders facility still love Gruden. He’s also familiar with Raiders coach Hue Jackson. While Gruden has a few things going for him, he’s not experienced at running a front office and he likely wants to coach again which would leave Hue Jackson out of the equation even if he continues to be successful. Gruden’s ideal location is one in which he gets control over the roster and is the head coach, similar to the role Pete Carrol has is Seattle. It would be hard to see Gruden accepting less and with Hue Jackson having success it would be hard to see the Raiders giving him everything he wants.


John Madden

Another good friend of Al Davis, but he’s retired now and hasn’t shown much interest in un-retiring. Madden doesn’t fly and he’s far removed from the daily grind required from a front office executive in the NFL. Mark Davis  and Amy Trask could use Madden as a consultant in the hiring process, but likely nothing more. That doesn’t mean Madden might not have an impact on the Raiders future, certainly Al Davis laid out a plan for his organization and it wouldn’t make much sense for Mark Davis  not to lean on his father’s most trusted football resources. Don’t expect Madden to get too involved outside of a supporting role for the organization.


John Herrera

Herrera has been Al Davis’ mouthpiece for many years. He’s been away from the player personnel side of football since he came back to the Raiders in 1985. He previously served as a scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as  director of player personnel for the CFL’s BC Lions and as general manager of the Saskatewan Roughriders. Herrera’s reputation as Al Davis’ personal slave wouldn’t make this a very inspiring hire and how close he is with Mark Davis and Amy Trask is not clear. Given the Raiders insistence that they would have interviews, hiring of Herrera doesn’t seem likely, but he is at least worth mentioning.


Bill Cowher

With Al Davis out of the picture would Cowher consider an opportunity with the Raiders? He could get the full control over the football operations he desires and he’s long been rumored as a big fish candidate. He’s yet to land a job or he’s turned down offers and he’s been out of the game for several years now. Like Gruden, Cowher may want full control as well as being the head coach and that may immediately disqualify Cowher. He doesn’t seem like a logical fit for the Raiders and his history with the Steelers could also play into the decision for both sides.


Matt Millen

He failed miserably as the GM of the Lions. Why would Mark Davis and Amy Trask even consider bringing Millen in to drive the Raiders ship into the ground? Color this one as the worst possible decision the Raiders could make, but he does have Raiders ties and experience even if that experience is terrible.


Tom Flores

He’s aging and he’s pretty far removed from the everyday grind. As one of the people Al Davis trusted he immediately becomes another advisor like John Madden. I’m sure Flores will consult the Raiders new brain trust on the coaching hire, but he’s not going to run the football operations anytime soon.


Bruce Allen

He’s already a general manager and he’s never had a lot of success without Al Davis. Why would he make a lateral move west? Will he be perceived as a backstabber to Mark Davis and Amy Trask the way he was to Al Davis? Allen left the Raiders to join Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay and hired Mike Shanahan in Washington. Those two men didn’t exactly leave Oakland on favorable terms and it would be a strange move for him to make a lateral transfer to come back to the Raiders.


Eric DeCosta

The current director of player personnel for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s spent his entire career with the Ravens working his way up in the ranks. With Ozzie Newsome as the GM there really isn’t a logical next step up for DeCosta in Baltimore. Could DeCosta be lured by the prospect of wearing the GM hat in Oakland? He’s been with the Ravens for 15 years, so he may have apprehension about making the switch. Still, he’s young and has a good track record and is certainly familiar with Hue Jackson. If DeCosta isn’t on the list Mark Davis and Amy Trask have put together, he should be.


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