Giants Add Joe Schoen Understudy to Stacked Front Office: Report

Joe Schoen

Getty Images Giants GM Joe Schoen's staff is even deeper after another big front office move.

The New York Giants’ most stacked position might be front office. 

Former Titans interim general manager Ryan Cowden is expected to join Big Blue as executive advisor to GM Joe Schoen, according to the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy and ProFootballTalk’s Charean Williams.

Cowden spent seven seasons in Tennessee and interviewed for GM roles with six teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, and Pittsburgh Steelers. That list also includes the Giants, who interviewed Cowden before hiring Joe Schoen in 2022.

Now New York is getting both. And Schoen is getting a longtime friend with him in New York.

Schoen and Cowden both joined the Panthers as entry-level scouts in the early 2000s. Per Dunleavy, they’ve remained close Cowden climbed the scouting ranks in Nashville, from director of player personnel to vice president of player personnel to interim GM.

Cowden hoped to remove the interim title in Tennessee this year. But the Titans hired Ran Carthon as GM instead — and opened the door for a reunion with Schoen in New York “expected since (Schoen’s) introductory press conference,” according to’s Art Stapleton.

Here’s what you need to know about the new man in the New York’s front office:

Joe Schoen’s New Understudy Helped Scout Cam Newton, AJ Brown

Cowden will be much more than a Schoen ally with the Giants.

He brings 23 seasons of experience with him, including advance scouting, free agency preparation, and player evaluation in the NFL and other leagues, according to a post-interview bio from in 2022. And that work had very real results for the Titans and Panthers during his time there.

Tennessee was above .500 in six of those seven seasons, per Pro Football Reference. Four of those seasons resulted in playoff berths with an AFC Championship game run in 2019.

Before that, the Cowden-era Panthers made two Super Bowl trips in 2003 and 2015.

“It tells you (Cowden) is very good at projecting these college prospects when they make it to the NFL level,” said’s Paul Dottino. 

It also foreshadows Cowden’s role at Schoen’s side. 

Cowden scouted potential Pro Football Hall of Fame prospects like quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly for the Panthers. In Nashville, he unearthed gems outside of the first round like running back Derrick Henry, receiver A.J. Brown, edge rusher Harold Landry, and safety Kevin Byrard.

That keen eye for talent could help Schoen’s great Giants draft classes become even greater, according to ex-Panthers offensive coordinator Dan Henning.

“Ryan and Joe bought into their study and thought process about players, and they weren’t always playing the middle of the road,” Henning told Dunleavy in 2022. “They had definite options. I was impressed that at 22 years old, they couldn’t be knocked off their (positions).”

Giants Front Office Stacked With Future GM Candidates?

Put simply: Schoen’s front office is stacked with expert talent evaluators.

His staff now includes two former GMs in Cowden and ex-Dolphins exec Dennis Hickey. It also includes a future top executive in 32-year-old assistant GM Brandon Brown, according to Stapleton.

League sources believe “it’s only a matter of time” before Brown gets a GM gig himself. Per Stapleton, Cowden’s arrival adds depth for that eventuality. 

Cowden could end up on a few GM shortlists himself, too. 

Williams believes Cowden’s experience will likely make him “a hot commodity in the 2024 hiring cycle.” And he’s been on national radars since 2018, when NFL Network’s Peter Schrager profiled him as an industry “one to watch” on Good Morning Football.

Said Schrager: “Ryan Cowden’s a name a lot of people are circling.”

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