Proposed Rooney Rule modifications include teams improving draft slots for hiring minority coaches, GMs

The NFL has tried various ways to improve its poor track record in hiring minority head coaches and general managers. It hasn’t worked.

The NFL continues to lag well behind in hiring minorities to the highest positions in the sport, so it’s proposing a dramatic incentive for teams.

According to’s Jim Trotter, proposed modifications to the Rooney Rule — which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for openings at head coach and general manager — include prohibiting teams from blocking assistants to interview for coordinator positions, and giving teams a better draft slot if they hire minorities to top positions.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talking publicly about underrepresentation in minority hirings didn’t work. That led to the new proposal that is sure to be controversial.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has acknowledged the lack of minorities in head coach and general manager positions. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, file)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has acknowledged the lack of minorities in head coach and general manager positions. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, file)

Proposed changes to the Rooney Rule

Trotter’s story on, which cites an anonymous source, details the unique plan. The league will present the ideas on Tuesday during a virtual owners’ meeting, Trotter said.

Trotter reported that if a team hires a minority head coach, that team will move up six spots in the third round of the draft after that coach’s second season. It would move up 10 spots if it hires a person of color as its primary football executive, which is usually the GM.

In addition, if a team hired minority candidates for both jobs in the same year, that team would jump 16 spots.

To incentivize giving those new hires more than just a year or two, a fourth-round pick would improve five spots after a coach or GM’s third year with a team.

It’s a proposal that will lead to a lot of discussion, among team owners and those who follow the NFL.

Many options include draft pick incentives

The other proposal, regarding allowing position coaches to interview for coordinator spots without being blocked, also involves draft picks. A majority of head-coaching hires come from coordinator positions, and in recent years the trend has skewed heavily toward offensive coordinators. By allowing teams to interview assistants on other teams for coordinator jobs without the chance of being blocked should theoretically help the upward mobility of position coaches.

Trotter reported that a club would receive a fifth-round compensatory pick if a minority assistant left to another team to be a coordinator. Trotter also said if a person of color leaves for a head coach or general manager job, his previous team would get a third-round compensatory pick.

There are other proposed modifications to the Rooney Rule, according to Trotter. A team that hires a minority quarterbacks coach — which is often the step before offensive coordinator — would get a fourth-round compensatory pick if that quarterbacks coach is retained past one season. Also, the requirement for teams to interview minorities would apply to coordinator positions for the first time.

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