Sources: NFL diversity hiring plan draws mixed feelings around league

A new plan to incentivize NFL teams to develop and hire minority candidates for head-coaching and general manager positions has not been met with the enthusiasm by the people it is supposed to help.

Multiple sources who are people of color told ESPN in recent days that there are, at best, mixed feelings about a plan approved this past week that will award two third-round compensatory draft picks to teams that have minority head coaches or general managers hired away from their organizations.

For starters, these sources were not pleased that many were not consulted about the plan and that it was passed swiftly, without any advance notice. These sources also did not approve of other people speaking for them when they were unable to provide input as to how the program would work.

"This will affect all of us, and we wanted to be involved in the process," one source said over the weekend. "We don't know whether it's lip service or real, and we just want to be judged on our own merits."

Another issue is how the plan could impact intradivisional hirings. One executive wondered whether the Dolphins would have been willing to hire Brian Flores away from the Patriots if it meant division rival New England would be compensated with two extra third-round picks.

"It's counterintuitive," one source said. "They're rewarding you for doing something that you should have been doing already."

NFL owners approved the resolution on Tuesday, finalizing a 10-month discussion aimed at boosting the likelihood that teams will seek out, consider and hire minority coaching and executive candidates.

Owners briefly considered a plan this past spring that would reward teams that made the hires. Ultimately, they decided to incentivize an expansion of the candidate pool.

When this season began, the NFL had only four minority head coaches and two minority general managers. Since then, the Falcons promoted Raheem Morris as their interim head coach, and the Texans made the same move with Romeo Crennel.