Because of how much the sport can captivate viewers, the NFL has become a world-leading entertainment offering, spanning the globe and dominating its colossal industry.
Intense athleticism, deep-level strategy, and inspiring team building create an on-the-field product that is essentially unmatched in the sports world. NFL franchises have built fan bases in every corner of the globe, with fans paying attention to their success by playing games like fantasy football or even monitoring the best NFL spreads.
It’s hard to match up to an NFL Sunday, and it’s even harder to create a consistent winning team on them. The NFL is now a machine that generates $17 billion in revenue annually, with each team worth over $4 billion. Overseeing an NFL product is arguably the most stressful job in the sports world.
We have broken down the top eight NFL general managers who work around the clock building teams, preparing for NFL Drafts, negotiating contracts, and more to build a winning product.
The Eagles have struggled in parts over the past decade, but Howie Roseman has turned the Philadelphia Eagles into perennial contenders over the past six years. No team has found better value in the draft; a good example is how they took Jalen Hurts later in the 2020 NFL Draft and let him develop before he became the starting quarterback in 2021.
Roseman has also not been scared to spend money where it counts and get exceptional value. An offensive line of Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Josh Sweat has been a fundamental pinning of their success, which saw them get back to the Super Bowl in 2023.
2. John Lynch, San Francisco 49ers
It’s hard to know how much Lynch knew when he took Brock Purdy in the seventh round, especially after Purdy came in as the third option and turned out to be a gem-in-the-rough, getting the 49ers all the way to the NFC Championship game. But even since joining the 49ers, Lynch has shown a propensity for building a stacked roster for the Niners.
Lynch deserves credit for building a vaunted defense, including Talanoa Hufanga, and an explosive offensive with stars like Christian McCaffery, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel. The Niners built a team where it almost does not matter who is behind center, and that is down to the brilliance of John Lynch.
Veach is a mastermind at building complementary tools for star players, and that has led to multiple Super Bowls over the past decade. Finding tools like Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for Patrick Mahomes allowed the Chiefs to capture the 2020 Super Bowl, and they returned to the game’s pinnacle in 2021 with almost the exact same roster in place.
Challenges like falling in the 2022 AFC Championship game and losing star weapon Tyreek Hill did not phase Veach, who found value in the seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco and added Kadarius Toney in a savvy trade with the New York Giants. These moves would lead to another Super Bowl title in 2023, as the success keeps rolling for the Chiefs.
The Bills have had the unfortunate curse of being unable to get over the hump despite having an incredibly talented roster. Brandon Beane has brought in a generational talent at quarterback in Josh Allen and has continued to assemble talent around him.
Whether finding smart free agent picks like Deonte Hary or Connor McGovern or finding talent like Greg Rosseau, Beane has proven his ability to combine talent. The biggest question now is whether they can get that certification of a Super Bowl title.
If consistency is a high barometer of being a top NFL GM, Duke Tobin passes with excellence. In the earlier years, the Bengals would be a lock for the playoffs and would have well-balanced rosters that maybe could not find that extra bit of talent to get past the early rounds.
Tobin found his star quarterback after upgrading from Andy Dalton to Joe Burrow. On top of this, Tobin has begun to add depth and talent, as well as protection for Burrow (who was one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league in his early years).
Going all-in is risky, and the NFL is as high stakes as it gets. The Rams did so in 2021, aiming to build on some lackluster years following 2018 to return to the Super Bowl. The offense seemed below par, and the defense relied on a one-man show in Aaron Donald to remain relevant.
Les Snead went to work, sending the future of the Rams in draft picks to the Lions for their star quarterback Matthew Stafford and adding veteran depth on the defense in the form of Von Miller. These and some other high-risk gambles paid off, giving the Rams a title in 2022. For how long they will pay the bill for it, time will tell…
If you want reasons why Bill Belichick is one of the best GMs in the league, he has six of them. Those six things are Super Bowls, and he has more titles and wins than any other NFL head coach. Topping that off is that he has been the de-facto GM of the New England Patriots since he built his reign of dominance in 2000.
Belichick’s biggest talent comes from finding undervalued players and putting them together on a winning team. He has shown the ability to find the best value in the free agent market and find late-round draft picks that become huge value players.
Case-in-point is the greatest NFL player ever, quarterback Tom Brady. Even though he just retired last year, Brady dropped to the sixth round of the NFL Draft before Belichick could not let him slide anymore. Belichick paired with Brady to build the best dynasty the sports world has ever seen.
Paired with one of the greatest head coaches of the modern era in, Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis has been one of the most consistent GMs in the NFL since 2005. A shrewd roster-builder, he gave Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees plenty of weapons to produce a high-level offense and always built strong defenses that led the Saints to the playoffs.
Loomis’ biggest skills have been expert talent recognition in the draft and some incredible cap management, allowing the Saints to be contenders until Sean Payton’s last year in 2021.