How Packers GM Brian Gutekunst Views Free Agency

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst appeared on The MMQB Podcast with Peter King this week and offered insight into how he views free agency, his relationship with Ron Wolf and how he plans to build the roster.

“There’s no secret to this,” Gutekunst said when asked what it takes to be a successful general manager. “It’s a lot of long hours, it’s a lot of grinding. It’s not easy. It’s not as complicated as some people would make you think. You have to do the work to get to that decision point.

“I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve got to see it from a bunch of different angles. The best part is that we’ve kind of had the same process from a scouting perspective for a long time. You’ve seen guys go on to other places and implement that in different places and see them have success there.”

Free agency is “a little more risky and dangerous than the draft”

Gutekunst noted during his introductory press conference that the Packers will continue to use the draft to build their roster, but offered more insight into how he views free agency.

“The organization has to look at every avenue of player acquisition, and free agency is one of those,” Gutekunst said. “It’s a little more risky and dangerous than the draft, but the biggest thing to me is being prepared. You’re not going to be able to sign every player, and if you do, it’s going to have ramifications down the line. You have to be prepared to pull the trigger when the right opportunity comes.”

Until this past offseason under previous general manager Ted Thompson, the Packers seemed to have a near aversion to signing players from other teams.

Gutekunst calling free agency “a little more risky and dangerous than the draft” seems to be a departure from Thompson’s philosophy.

As far as how he’ll build a roster, Gutekunst believes “the more competitive the roster can be, the better.”

Gutekunst values decisiveness and work ethic

When asked what he learned from Wolf, Gutekunst mentioned two important traits he’s absorbed from working under Wolf: decisiveness and work ethic.

“I got about three years with Ron directly,” Gutekunst said. “Watching him go through his process and always knowing what he wanted and being able to get to that decision. I think being around Ron and Ted [Thompson] helped, watching them go through their process and work ethic and then never being afraid of the moment.”

Gutekunst describes decisiveness with a simple analogy.

“When you get a room full of scouts, you’ll get a room full of opinions on a player,” Gutekunst said. “Somebody’s gotta make that decision on where he’ll go on the [draft] board, or if you’re going to sign him [in free agency].”