Raiders Make Controversial Final Call on GM Hiring: Report

mark davis

Getty Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis.

Many signs were pointing to Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds and Champ Kelly as the likely finalists for the Las Vegas Raiders‘ general manager job but turns out neither will be the guy. According to a January 23 X post from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the team is hiring former Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco to take over.

Telesco was recently fired by the Chargers during the 2023 season along with head coach Brandon Staley. In 10 seasons as the general manager, the Chargers only made the playoffs three times but there’s no denying he’s put together a talented roster.

Six of Telesco’s last 11 first-round picks have made the Pro Bowl, including Justin Herbert, who is one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL. Though he’s been a general manager for a decade, Telesco is still only 51. It’s clear that owner Mark Davis wanted somebody with experience to run the front office after giving the head coaching job to Antonio Pierce. Telesco is also intimately familiar with the AFC West and the Raiders roster so it should be a smooth transition.

Tom Telesco an Unpopular Choice

Raiders fans aren’t necessarily thrilled with the Tom Telesco hiring. Notably, Telesco’s last came with the Chargers was the team’s 63-21 loss to the Raiders. He was fired shortly after that game.

Some fans thought that Telesco was the worst option behind Champ Kelly and Ed Dodds.

Others are concerned that Telesco wasn’t able to build a consistent playoff team despite having a decade to figure things out.

Sometimes a change of scenery is necessary and the Spanos family that owns the Chargers is notoriously hands-on when it comes to football operations. Raiders owner Mark Davis is much more hands-off so that could be a better situation for Telesco to thrive.

Why Go With Tom Telesco?

Had the Raiders hired a big-name head coach like Mike Vrabel or Jim Harbaugh, they may have been more open to hiring a first-time general manager like Ed Dodds or Champ Kelly. However, Mark Davis previously expressed a desire to have either the head coach or general manager be experienced in the position.

“It’s something that I learned over time, but it is something that I recognized immediately as well,” Davis told Tashan Reed of The Athletic in a December 13 interview. “I mean, if you think about it, when my dad passed away, there wasn’t a general manager on the team, so to speak. And the first person I hired was Reggie McKenzie as a GM to put somebody that’s had 17 years of experience in player personnel in charge of that. Now, he was a rookie GM, but he had the experience for many, many years in an organization (the Green Bay Packers) that was very good at player personnel. So, I knew to get that. I think with Reggie and I, where the issue with the situation was is Reggie hired a rookie head coach (Dennis Allen). So, I had a rookie GM and a rookie head coach. We didn’t have a great football mind in the building to help them. That’s something I’ve learned throughout the process.”

Once the Raiders hired Antonio Pierce to be the head coach, they committed to somebody with limited experience. With that in mind, it makes sense why Davis chose to go with somebody with years of experience as a general manager.

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