Scott Pioli and Dawn Aponte are strong candidates for the position of vice president of football operations position at the NFL office, and Merton Hanks is an internal candidate to replace Ray Anderson, sources say.
Ray Anderson is departing the position following the Super Bowl, and the NFL does not yet have finalists for the impending vacancy, but the process is ongoing and Pioli and Aponte are among those being evaluated for the position.
Pioli is a longtime former team executive, beginning with the Browns on the staff Bill Belichick assembled in the 1990s, and becoming well known for his work in personnel for Belichick in New England. Pioli ran the Kansas City Chiefs prior to his departure after the 2012 season and spent this season in broadcasting.
Aponte has a long record on the business side of NFL teams, and is currently with the Dolphins in an executive role. Miami's front office in under review from ownership -- general manager Jeff Ireland could be in jeopardy of losing his job, for instance -- and there could be a reshaping afoot there.
Hanks, a former standout defensive back, has risen through the ranks at the league office, was trained by Anderson and held in high regard there, handling many of the duties of the job -- on field player discipline, for instance -- already.