Chicago Bears: Jason Licht
Of course, he's also been in the Patriots' draft room too, despite what you've heard. Sources hint he was allowed to put his drink on the Draft Table without a coaster.
That's some serious swag. (Also, a joke.)
As most football fans know by now, New England does things the Bill Belichick Way, which has resulted in five Super Bowl appearances, one "Spygate," a handful of books, and a two-part NFL Network documentary.
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As we've written before, Emery is considered an extremely hard worker who has been well received by his peers during his various stints with Chicago, Atlanta and Kansas City.
But fellow finalist Jason Licht, the New England Patriots’ director of pro personnel, also possesses certain traits that no doubt stood out during his first interview last Monday with Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips.
When Licht was in Philadelphia from 2003-07, first as the assistant director of player personnel then later vice president of player personnel, Eagles employees who were privy to Licht's personnel reports called them "concise" and "convicted". Licht was heavily involved with Tom Hecket (now the current general manager of the Cleveland Browns) and Ryan Grigson (now the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts) in the Eagles’ draft preparations, and was considered one of several rising stars in the organization.
However, for reasons not completely clear, Licht was let go by Philadelphia in 2008, in a move that eventually paved the way for Howie Roseman (the current Eagles general manager) to rise through the ranks. Eagles scouts were said to have been baffled by the decision to fire Licht, but understood Roseman, the vice president of football administration with a salary cap background before Licht was pushed out, had considerable pull with Eagles president Joe Banner.
But Licht landed on his feet and joined the Arizona Cardinals in 2008, the year Arizona went to the Super Bowl. He left Arizona after one season, a move that raises eyebrows for some, but for whatever reason the Cardinals did not make Licht sign a contract, so he was able to jump to New England the following year after interviewing with Bill Belichick at the 2009 NFL Combine.
Licht previously worked for the Patriots as a college scout, national scout and assistant director of player personnel from 1999-2002 before heading to Philadelphia.
Those who understand the power structure in New England are adamant that Licht is a valued member of the front office who is involved in New England's personnel decisions, to an extent. That's because it's widely known Belichick has final say in all matters, and on draft day, only wants a select few bodies in the war room to limit distractions. Besides, according to sources, Licht's input on the draft is given before the event actually begins, so his actual presence in the Patriots’ war room during the draft isn't required by Belichick, who again, makes all the calls in New England.
Emery is no doubt qualified and would be a comfortable choice for the Bears to make because of his past history and understanding of how the McCaskey family operates the franchise. Licht, however, has spent the majority of his NFL career working alongside some of the most talented personnel evaluators in the game.
Licht wouldn't be an easy choice. But he wouldn't be a bad one, either.
Kansas City Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery, San Diego Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross and current Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell were all given a chance to state their case for the job last week at Halas Hall.
As of late Friday, the Bears did not expect to interview any additional candidates for the vacant general manager spot.
Given the Bears' methodical approach to the search process, Phillips could decide this week to whittle down the list of five candidates, and potentially conduct a second round of interviews if he deems it necessary.
However, Ross and Licht both saw their teams advance to the Super Bowl over the weekend, which could potentially complicate matters if the Bears are targeting either of the two.
Under league rules, the Bears would need written permission from either New England or New York to officially hire Ross or Licht before the Super Bowl is played on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. The decision to grant permission or veto the move would be entirely up to the Giants or Patriots, and completely out of the Bears' control.
Once the season ends following the Super Bowl, the candidates would be free to accept the Bears job if offered to them.
The Chicago Bears' search for a general manager to replace Jerry Angelo turned up a few names the club has scheduled to interview in the coming days, the team announced Wednesday on its website.
The team received permission to interview Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery, Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye and Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross.Read the full story.