The Falcons announced on Thursday that their assistant GM Scott Pioli has stepped down from his role with the team.
In turn, another name is added to the Jets' GM search.
Pioli held the role with the Falcons since 2014, but his time in football spans all the way back to 1992 when he would drive 90 minutes to Giants training camp to help out then-defensive coordinator Bill Belichick. When Belichick moved onto the Browns as their head coach, he brought on Pioli as a pro personnel assistant, and it wouldn't be the only time he followed the coach.
Pioli made his way to the Jets in 1997, where he served as the team's director of pro personnel. He played a vital role in signing players like Kevin Mawae, Vinny Testaverde, and Bryan Cox among others. He would, then, move with Belichick again to the Patriots where he was a "pillar," as Belichick put it, in developing the team's championship success starting in 2000.
In 2009, Pioli would get his first shot at being a team GM with the Chiefs. He immediately began by firing former Jets head coach Herm Edwards, and hired Todd Haley as his replacement. Kansas City would go on to win an AFC West title with a 10-6 record in 2010, but then things started to go awry.
After a 7-9 record in 2011, the 2012 season would be a whirlwind for the Chiefs. Pioli valued secrecy to the point where Todd Haley thought his cell phone was bugged. There was also team security that made sure the blinds in the team offices were closed everywhere during practice. Then came the unfortunate event of Jovan Belcher taking his life in front of Arrowhead Stadium. Pioli was the first one to try to talk to Belcher, who thanked him for giving him a chance as an undrafted free agent before pulling the trigger.
So it was certainly a rollercoaster ride in his first stint as a GM, but the Jets could see Pioli's experience building championship rosters over the years as very valuable. He did it with the Patriots and Falcons, and that is exactly what the Jets are trying to do now.
Another top candidate out there appears to be Eagles current VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, who has a connection with new head coach Adam Gase.