Being a general manager in the NFL is no easy task, as we see countless teams cycle through GMs before finding the right guy for the job. It can be tricky finding the right guy, but most of the time, the best candidates are those who've been around the game before and know how the team dynamic truly works. Players know this better than anyone, making them intriguing options when a team is on the hunt for a new GM. There always seems to be vacant general manager positions around the league, and we'd love to see more former players step up into these roles. Here are five ex-players who could be great general managers given the opportunity.
5. Peyton Manning
Manning's name has already floated around for potential general manager positions, most notably with the New York Jets before they hired Joe Douglas this offseason. No. 18 was essentially a coach on the field, calling his own plays and running his offense to perfection for over a decade. He knows the game better than most, and always seemed to put his weapons in the best position to succeed. With such a pedigree, Peyton would have no trouble finding a GM job if he's ever up for it.
4. Ray Lewis
The Baltimore Ravens' Hall of Fame linebacker was one of the most intensely passionate players we've ever seen come through the league. His heart and nonstop work ethic led him to Canton, and we wouldn't be surprised if it eventually led him to an NFL front office as well. His team would surely put an emphasis on defense, something that we don't see as often in today's NFL. He would also probably give his team their pregame speech before every contest, and that's something we need to see.
3. Tony Romo
Tony Romo may have found his career after football in the booth as an announcer for CBS, but we wouldn't be shocked if an NFL team came calling if they were in need of a GM. He's clearly displayed his knowledge of the game through his broadcasting, essentially calling out plays before they even happen. For all intents and purposes, he's a football nerd, and would certainly have a solid team building philosophy if he were ever inserted into an NFL front office.
2. Jerry Rice
The former San Francisco 49er great Jerry Rice hasn't been too involved with the game since retiring in 2006, but that doesn't mean he couldn't get back in the league if he wanted to. He's widely considered as the best wideout to ever do it, and has clearly showcased the strong work ethic needed to be a successful GM during his playing days. He would be unanimously respected by his players if he ever took a general manager job, and he would probably lure an abundance of free agents to join his squad as well.
1. Deion Sanders
This one may be a bit far-fetched, but could you imagine how fun a Deion Sanders-run team would be?! He has the swagger, the smarts and the passion required to be a great general manager. He's stayed close to the game during his career after football, working as a pregame commentator for CBS, as well as appearing on NFL Network through the years. Prime Time would make any team a prime location for free agents, and we have a feeling he'd be a great trade negotiator as well, with his alpha personality.