Yesterday, NFL reporter Gregg Rosenthal put out a list ranking every general manager in the NFL. While seeing General Managers like the Philadelphia Eagles’ Howie Roseman and Kansas City Chiefs’ Brett Veach at the top of the list makes sense, finding the NFL’s longest tenured GM, Mickey Loomis at 14 is a huge head scratcher.
The best in the business @greggrosenthal full power rankings: https://t.co/7vFqkp7lCn pic.twitter.com/Pw7S1AEwFn— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) April 13, 2023
Rosenthal ranked Loomis behind GMs such as Dallas’ Jerry Jones, Baltimore’s Eric DeCosta and Green Bay’s Brian Gutekust. You’re telling me the man who owns America’s team - the same ones who haven’t made an NFC Championship Game since 1996 - is a better GM than Mickey Loomis? Or the two guys who refused to put any real offensive talent behind their once-in-a-generation QBs? Yeah, okay.
The narrative that everyone holds over Loomis is that the New Orleans Saints are in ‘salary cap hell’. While this statement does carry a little bit of weight, people need to understand that they will and have always found a way out.
Sure, maybe one day the salary cap will catch up with the Saints, but that day won’t come until Loomis and the Saints decide it’s time to rebuild. For the past few seasons, the Saints have always ranked in the bottom of the league in salary cap at the end of the season, but somehow, they always find themselves in the green by the start of free agency.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, understands how to manipulate the salary cap quite like Loomis does. He is a wizard with the salary cap. As of February 14th, the Saints found themselves over 59 million dollars in the negative, the lowest in the NFL. As of today, they have just under 15 million dollars in cap to spend, the 12th most in the league.
So how does Loomis do it?
Restructure. Restructure. Restructure.
The Saints restructured a number of contracts, including stars such as Ryan Ramczyk, Marshon Lattimore, Demario Davis and Taysom Hill. By converting their base salary into a signing bonus, they are able push the money back a few years. By repeating this cycle every year, they have been able to find themselves in the green every season come free agency.
Now, this may sound like a recipe for disaster, but as I said earlier, they will face the consequences of this when they decide it’s time. And this season is not the time. With the NFC South as weak as it’ll be for a long time, Loomis and the Saints are going all in on winning now.
The way Loomis can manipulate the salary cap alone should put him well inside the league's top 10 GMs, and we haven’t even talked about how he is one of the best drafters in the NFL.
Loomis has put together two of the best draft class in NFL history in 2006 and 2017. The 2006 core was vital in the Saints winning their first ever Super Bowl, and the 2017 class features Pro Bowlers such as Ryan Ramczyk, Marshon Lattimore, Alvin Kamara, Marcus Williams and Trey Hendrickson. Drafting five Pro Bowlers over five years is considered successful, much less five in the same draft.
He has also drafted franchise cornerstones such as Cam Jordan, Marques Colston, Zach Strief, Mark Ingram, Will Smith and Jimmy Graham. And trust me, there are so many more.
From 2010-2020, 14.8% of the players the Saints drafted were Pro Bowlers. While that might not seem like a huge number, it’s good for the third best in the league over that period of time.
Loomis is one of the best in the business. There’s a reason he is the longest tenured GM in the NFL. He is one of the best drafters and the best in the league at understanding and maximizing his use of the cap. After reading through it, Rosenthal’s list isn’t that bad. He makes some good points in his power rankings, but it is inexcusable to have Loomis ranked as the 14th best GM in the league. I would take Loomis over anybody else in a heartbeat.
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