The Washington Football Team has hired Martin Mayhew as its new general manager, the team announced Friday, adding another experienced voice to help coach Ron Rivera.
Mayhew, who most recently was an executive in the San Francisco 49ers' 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 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 2015 after eight years in the Lions' front office. Rivera has said he wanted someone who also could handle the administrative duties of the position.
"Martin is a proven general manager who will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organization," Rivera said in a statement. "He will be an integral part of running the daily football operations and will allow me the opportunity to focus more on coaching. He impressed both myself and Mr. Snyder during the interview process and we both believe he will be a tremendous fit here. He is a man of high character and integrity and was part of the rich history and tradition of this great franchise as a member of the Super Bowl championship team in 1991."
Washington also has hired former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney as the team's executive vice president of player personnel, it was announced Friday. ESPN had previously reported that Hurney was expected to become Washington's general manager 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 2017 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 general manager 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 2014, 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, levelheaded" 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.