On Tuesday night, the Detroit Lions reportedly flew in Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes for a second interview for the general manager vacancy. He becomes the first candidate to score a second interview and establish himself as a finalist for the job.
But according to MMQB’s Albert Breer, he is not alone. Breer says there are at least four more candidates the Lions are hoping to bring in for an in-person follow up: Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds, Saints VP/assistant GM of pro personnel Terry Fontenot, Saints VP/assistant GM of college personnel Jeff Ireland, and Vikings assistant GM George Paton.
Dodds, the most popular of the bunch, just completed his interview with the team on Tuesday. He is likely a serious candidate after he pulled himself from consideration from the Panthers job earlier in the week.
As for the Saints duo of Fontenot and Ireland, at least Fontenot is considered a finalist for the Atlanta Falcons job, who have reportedly narrowed their search to Fontenot, Holmes and former Texans GM Rick Smith. Ireland interviewed with the Panthers last week, but no follow up has occured as of yet.
The Lions will have competition for Paton, as well. The Vikings assistant general manager had a second interview with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday, as they close in on their search. Detroit may have a leg up with Paton’s familiarity with Chris Spielman, considering he works side-by-side with his brother, Rick, who is the Vikings GM.
One interesting note about these finalists is that the Lions will not be able to interview Fontenot and Ireland until the Saints are knocked out of the playoffs or until the week between the Conference Championship games and the Super Bowl, whichever comes first. Paton and Dodds, however, are available to bring in whenever.
The reason why the Lions were able to bring Holmes in for a second interview, even though the Rams are still in the playoffs, was explained by the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett on Tuesday:
Quick explainer at the bottom of this story: Brad Holmes can interview in person with the Lions because he is not in the Rams' building (lives in Atlanta). If the Lions want to interview one of the Saints guys again, in person, have to wait till they lose https://t.co/gu4NXU7mkW— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 12, 2021
So if the Lions truly view Fontenot or Ireland as a serious candidate, this search may not be over for another couple weeks. Last week, team president Rod Wood said if they had to wait for the right candidate, they would.
“We’d be willing to wait if that’s what it took to find the right person, yes. There’s no deadline in our process.”