Packers Rumors: Every Whisper About The Next Packers GM
Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy met with the media on Tuesday afternoon, and shared that he likes to “fire quickly, hire slowly.” Since it was formally announced that general manager Ted Thompson would be transitioning to a new role, speculation has gone wild about who will be named the team’s next general manager.
Thompson’s successor has been a hotly debated topic over the years. We’ve been keeping an ear to the ground and taking notes throughout.
Here’s the most interesting nuggets from the past few years:
February 2015: Thompson feels Wolf, Highsmith and Gutekunst can be GMs
When asked if front office staff like Eliot Wolf, Alonzo Highsmith and Brian Gutekunst could be general managers in the league, Thompson agreed.
“Oh, I would think so,” Thompson said to USA Today reporter Tom Pelissero. “There’s several guys, and some of the young guys -- it’ll be a longer time before they reach that point. But yeah, I think they will.”
February 2016: Mark Murphy has a succession plan in mind
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky wrote last February that he doesn’t know how much longer Thompson will be the team’s general manager, but “Murphy won’t be caught off guard when Thompson decides to step down.”
December 2016: Eliot Wolf likely to be promoted to GM
Then-Sports Illustrated writer Greg Bedard, a former Packers beat writer, speculated near the conclusion of the 2016 season that the Packers “have a succession plan in place, and it almost certainly involves the promotion of Eliot Wolf to Thompson’s position when he vacates it.”
Bedard also mentioned a rumor that Thompson will step aside for Wolf to take the reins “sooner rather than later.”
January 2017: Murphy may prefer Russ Ball for GM post
Beat writer Pete Dougherty tried to theorize why Thompson would have blocked Eliot Wolf from interviewing for the Lions’ open GM position in 2015 but allowed him to interview for the 49ers post in 2016.
One of the theories Dougherty brings up is that Murphy prefers Russ Ball, the Packers’ vice president of football administration and player finance, to succeed Thompson.
“Ball is highly respected in the Packers’ franchise and over the years has taken over almost all football operations outside player personnel,” Dougherty wrote. “Murphy has worked with him daily for nine years and based on Ball’s status in the organization, it’s clear Murphy thinks highly of him.”
Dougherty did state that the theory falls apart when considering that the Packers have had a personnel scout running football operations for the last 25 years, and a strong list of Ron Wolf’s proteges who may be interested in returning to Green Bay.
January 2017: Wolf may replace Thompson as GM in ‘17 offseason
Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole reported that Eliot Wolf’s decision to interview for the open general manager position with the 49ers may force the Packers to name him general manager.
“There’s potential for the Packers to make a change now with an eye toward the future,” Cole wrote, “even though Thompson is still viewed as an excellent executive.”
January 2017: Gutekunst the front-runner for 49ers job
The 49ers job brought even more light to the Packers front office, as both Wolf and Brian Gutekunst interviewed a second time for the job with head coach Kyle Shanahan.
NFL.com’s Mike Silver reported that Shanahan would have significant say in the team’s next GM, and that Gutekunst was likely the front-runner.
January 2017: Former 49ers GM Trent Baalke may join Green Bay
If you’ve ever driven through Rosendale, Wisconsin, you likely have been pulled over by a police officer for speeding. Another notable item about Rosendale is that it’s the hometown of former 49ers GM Trent Baalke.
Bob McGinn, then with the Journal Sentinel, reported that Baalke and Thompson are close, and Baalke may be a candidate if the team were to lose a key front office executive.
January 2017: John Dorsey is best bet to replace Thompson
Before John Dorsey was fired by the Kansas City Chiefs, Bob McGinn speculated that Dorsey would be the “best bet” to replace Thompson. McGinn pointed out that both Dorsey and Thompson’s contracts ran through the conclusion of the 2018 season, and that Dorsey is regarded as a “Green Bay guy.”
February 2017: Murphy has no successor in mind for Thompson
One year after Murphy said he has a succession plan in mind at general manager, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported the president and CEO of the Packers “hasn’t made a decision regarding who will eventually replace GM Ted Thompson.”
December 2017: Packers never contacted John Dorsey about return
Less than a year after Bob McGinn suggested Dorsey would be the best bet to replace Thompson, the Chiefs general manager was dismissed and spent the season waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.
When Dorsey was hired as general manager of the Cleveland Browns, McGinn reported that while several teams contacted him about front office jobs, the Packers did not.