Successful Bills Executive ‘Could Be in Mix’ For Lions GM Job

Buffalo Bills

Getty Buffalo Bills helmet on the sidelines before a game.

The Detroit Lions are putting together their list for general manager interviews in the coming days, and they will likely begin to look at others from successful organizations as it relates to bringing their genius to the Motor City.

While many names have yet to emerge officially, an interesting one was thrown into the mix over the weekend. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweeted that he expects Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen to be in the mix for the Lions job, due to the fact that Detroit has seen what Buffalo has been doing on the field and understands their success.

Schoen could be in high demand this offseason, as he has had a front row seat to the Bills’ renovation over the last few seasons while helping his boss Brandon Beane into the team being one of the most consistent in the AFC lately. Schoen and the Bills group have been phenomenal talent evaluators in Buffalo, and the team is 10-3 this season and making a run to the top of the AFC.

Detroit needs to find the type of consistency the Bills have the last few years, so it makes sense that Schoen would be on their radar. Last offseason, Schoen was rumored to be in the mix for the Cleveland GM job, and could also have ties that could land him interviews in Washington given Ron Rivera’s presence within that organization.

Joe Schoen Biography

After starting as a ticket intern with the Carolina Panthers in 2000, Schoen began his rise up the organization by serving as a scout for the Panthers before jumping to the Miami Dolphins where he became a national scout and then the team’s assistant director of college scouting. After that, he earned the title of director of player personnel. Beane then convinced him to join the Bills in 2017 as the team’s assistant general manager, a role he’s held since.

A native of Elkhart, Indiana, Schoen attended Depauw University where he played football. Interestingly, Schoen nearly re-located to Michigan to work for Stryker Medical out of college as this profile explains, but elected to gamble with a lower paid job to stay in football scouting. That looks to be a good decision given his meteoric rise with the Bills.

Obviously, a move to Detroit wouldn’t be that far from Schoen’s roots if it happened. If Schoen were to get the job, it would be interesting to see if he’d advocate for the hiring of Brian Daboll, Buffalo’s successful and high rising offensive coordinator.

Lions General Manager Search Updates

Detroit will likely begin the process of picking out who they wish to interview now, and those interviews will not be able to begin for a few more weeks in the case of successful executives from playoff franchises. Detroit has committed to change on a deep level for the future since the firing of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia a few weeks ago, and are looking for a new voice in the front office to help set the tone from the top down.

An experienced name could be what the Lions need the most considering the problems they have had on the field and with regard to roster construction the last handful of seasons. Thus it’s no surprise that early on, John Dorsey, Jerry Reese and Rick Smith have been the three experienced candidates with the most traction in terms of the general manager position, and it’s no surprise that both of them are veterans of the league. Look for those interviews to happen in the next few weeks before anyone else gets contacted. Detroit has completed interviews with three in-house candidates already.

Schoen is certainly a name to remember going forward from outside the experienced group, and it appears the Lions are going to give him a hard look when they get the chance in the coming weeks.

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