The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached out to several executives around the league in the search for their next GM, and the favorite has seemingly been Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital ever since the Kansas City Chiefs rejected the Buccaneers desire to go after Chris Ballard. Vital has a vast working knowledge of the NFC South, so that’s a nice benefit for the Buccaneers. But Vital also has plenty of talent and NFL experience overall, making him one of the top execs in the NFL. The Falcons director of player personnel position underneath top-notch GM Thomas Dimitroff is a big-time stepping stone for GM jobs, as the previous director of personnel, David Caldwell, was hired last offseason as the Jacksonville Jaguars general manager.
CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora reports, citing league sources, that Lionel Vital is still the favorite to win the Buccaneers GM job, but there are still other finalists worth watching closely. None of the finalists named in the report are surprising, as Tennessee Titans VP of Player Personnel Lake Dawson, Arizona Cardinals Jason Licht, and New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross have been mentioned in Buccaneers rumors for quite some time. All three of them are also among the top execs in the league and have flirted with either GM openings in the past or, in the case of Dawson, this offseason (the Miami Dolphins have shown plenty of interest in Dawson).
The Buccaneers also showed interest in Tom Gamble, but he has always been viewed as an exec unwilling to leave the Philadelphia Eagles. Gamble would have been the dream candidate for either the Bucs or Dolphins, but he’s an unrealistic candidate and is thus no longer viewed as being in the running for either gig.