when I look at the top GMs, I have to go with guys who are established with their teams and have led their teams to sustained success while transitioning from different groups of players. This is what makes great GMs. You cant take a GM who got a crop of good players over a couple years and led his team to short-term success. When he doesnt have the money to re-sign all those players and has veteran players declining, how does he handle that? Can he do a good job of balancing handing out extensions to the players hes drafted, bringing in young talent, and going after FAs? Can he keep his cap number in good shape? Does he understand how to change gears in different years depending on situations? Can he make the tough decisions to not hand out that monster extension to a fan favorite thats not worth it? Will he be smart enough to pay the guy who is worth it? Can he consistently be a good talent evalauator over a long period of time? Can he find late round gems and UDFA who can contribute? Does he understand how to work in unision with his coaching staff, drafting players that work within the scheme his current coaching staff would like to run, and when there are coaching and scheme changes, can he adjust?
It just feels like so many people see this question and think "who has the most talented roster in the NFL?" and theres the answer to the question. I think theres so much more to it than that. The people who think like that are the same people who thought AJ Smith was one of the best GMs 5 years ago.
And to me, without question, Ozzie Newsome sets the bar. Yes, it has a lot to do with a guy named Ray Lewis, but the Ravens' sustained success over the past 15 years has been incredible, and they have had so many different players throughout the years, and he has made so many savvy moves in terms of which players hes kept and which players hes let go, and always keeping a great crop of young player ready to step in. I feel hes done a good job this offseason while facing the difficult task of being up against the cap and having a lot of FAs after winning a SB. If hes really smart, hell convince Ray Lewis to come and take on a role on the coaching staff in the near future. I know hes going into broadcasting for now, but I think he will become a great coach at some point in the future.