Two weeks ago, New England Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort was in Ohio to interview for the Cleveland Browns’ vacant general manager position. Ossenfort was one of three candidates to be interviewed for the role alongside the Minnesota Vikings’ George Paton and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Andrews Berry. And while neither he nor the others were initially offered a contract, a decision has now reportedly been made.
As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Browns will hire Berry as their new GM after Paton already withdrew his name from consideration last week. From the Patriots’ perspective, this development is good news as it basically ensures that Ossenfort will stay with the team through the pre-draft process. After all, only one general manager vacancy remains for now but the Washington Redskins will reportedly not fill it until after the draft.
At that point, of course, Ossenfort’s name might reemerge again. After all, his contract with the Patriots will expire in May and he should be a hot name on the general manager market in case a team decides to overhaul its front office at that point. The same goes for another member of New England’s front office: director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who was not interviewed by the Browns, is also scheduled to see his contract end after the draft.
As for Ossenfort, he is a well-respected figure in the NFL and brings an impressive résumé to the table. After starting his career as an intern with the Houston Texans in 2002, he joined the Patriots as a personnel assistant the following season. The Minnesota-Morris product returned to Houston in 2004 before again moving to New England as an area scout in 2006. Over the next few years, Ossenfort climbed up the organizational ladder.
He worked three seasons as a national scout, three seasons as the assistant director of college scouting and in 2014 succeeded the departed Jon Robinson as the Patriots’ director of college scouting — a role he has held ever since. While the Texans wanted to lure him away two years ago, New England blocked an interview back then. Now, the 41-year-old received another chance but the Browns have apparently moved in a different direction.
Ossenfort, of course, was not the only member of the Patriots organization targeted by the Browns this offseason: the team also interviewed offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for its open head coaching position before ultimately deciding to hire the Vikings’ Kevin Stefanski.