The Washington Football Team is hiring Martin Mayhew as its new general manager, a source told ESPN on Thursday, adding another experienced voice to help coach Ron Rivera.
Mayhew, who most recently was an executive in the Niners front office, interviewed with Rivera on Jan. 16 and had long been considered a strong candidate. Among the other known interviews, Washington also spoke with Ryan Cowden, Tennessee’s vice president of player personnel, Nick Polk, Atlanta’s director of football operations and JoJo Wooden, the Los Angeles Chargers‘ director of player personnel.
Mayhew had a longer track record in front offices and also had earned a reputation for knowing how to work with his head coaches. In Washington, Rivera has the power so the general manager will report to him. He and Mayhew share the same agent, but Mayhew also brings a wealth of experience. He served as Detroit‘s general manager from 2008 to ’15 — after eight years in the Lions’ front office. Rivera has said he wanted someone who also could handle the administrative duties of the position.
Washington also is expected to hire former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney, though his role was not yet specified, according to a source. Those details were still being worked out Thursday night. ESPN had previously reported that Hurney was expected to become Washington’s GM after he met Monday with Rivera, the main power broker on the football side. Hurney was part of the group that hired Rivera in Carolina; he was fired in 2012 but returned in ’17 for Rivera’s final three seasons. Hurney covered the Washington franchise for the Washington Times in the late 1980s before joining the organization’s public relations group.
Mayhew was named Detroit’s GM late in 2008 after the Lions finished that season 0-16. Detroit was 8-24 in his first two seasons. The Lions made the postseason in 2011 and ’14, the only two years in which they had a winning record during his tenure. Overall, Detroit went 41-63 in his seven-plus seasons.
Mayhew hired Jim Caldwell in 2014 to replace the first coach he had signed, Jim Schwartz. Detroit fired Mayhew midway through the 2015 season. But his hiring of Caldwell paid off: Detroit finished with three winning seasons in Caldwell’s four years with two playoff appearances. It was the first time Detroit had posted consecutive winning seasons since 1994-95.
One person who coached under Mayhew called him “smart, analytical, level-headed” and someone who stayed calm. He was able to have disagreements without it becoming divisive. He also said Mayhew sometimes lacked a gut feel for players, but felt that issue could be lessened if someone else on his staff offered that quality.
Mayhew was the New York Giants’ director of football operations in 2016 before joining San Francisco’s front office a year later. He spent two years as a senior executive and the past two as the vice president of player personnel.
Mayhew played four years as a defensive back in Washington, winning a Super Bowl in the 1991 season. His time in Washington was sandwiched between one season in Buffalo and four in Tampa Bay.