Packers' Murphy Beginning GM Search; Scouting Background Not Required
Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy said that he is "beginning his search for a new GM immediately," after Ted Thompson decided to step down and move to an advisory position, according to Pete Dougherty of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. Among Murphy's "most important statements was that the new GM will have the same authority the team has been giving its GMs" since former CEO Bob Harlan hired Ron Wolf in late '91. That means "total control over football operations, including hiring and firing the head coach." Murphy also confirmed that late in the season the Packers "extended coach Mike McCarthy’s contract" through '19. The Packers had to give McCarthy a "fighting chance, and the contract extension helps accomplish that, even if a new GM moves on from McCarthy next year." Murphy confirmed he has hired Korn Ferry Vice Chair Jed Hughes to "help with the search." Hughes "ran the Packers’ search that landed Murphy" in '07. But Murphy "acknowledged the hiring of the next GM is solely on him." Murphy: "The search firm doesn’t make the decision. I will make the decision on who the next general manager is." Murphy made it sound like he is going to "conduct a thorough search for his next GM." If that is the case, it "makes sense" that he would check into whether Seahawks Exec VP & GM John Schneider or Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie is "interested and available, because both worked with the Packers during Murphy’s tenure and have had measurable success in the GM hot seat since" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/3). ESPN's Rob Demovsky said of the Packers extending McCarthy, "It's a little bit of an unusual situation." Demovsky: "They're going to ... hire a general manager, whether it's somebody from the inside or somebody from the outside and whoever that GM is will have a longer contract than coach Mike McCarthy does. They always like to mirror those two contracts so they run concurrently, but that's not going to be the case right now" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/2).
WHAT YOU LOOKING FOR? In Milwaukee, Tom Silverstein in a front-page piece notes Murphy yesterday "made it clear" that candidates "don’t need to have a scouting background to be considered." It was a public acknowledgment that Packers VP/Football Administration & Player Finance Russ Ball -- whom "many people in the organization expect to get the job -- won’t be hindered by the fact he has held only administrative positions." Only nine people in the history of the franchise have carried the GM title and "only three did not double as the head coach." Ball and Thompson have "worked closely together on managing the roster and deciding which players they can afford to sign" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/3). ESPN's Wendi Nix said of Thompson taking a new role, "All good things eventually come to an end." ESPN's Adam Schefter: "At this particular time the Packers felt it was the best thing for this organization to go in a new direction, to go with a younger face, a fresher look." ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck said the Packers will probably try to replace Thompson "from within." ESPN's Louis Riddick: "I don't think the Packers feel as though their system and their philosophy is broken and/or needs any kind of overhaul from a base standpoint. I think they just want someone else making decisions" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 1/2).
MAKING A BIG DECISION: In Madison, Tom Oates notes the onus is on Murphy to "make the most important call in his 10 years with the team." Murphy "can’t afford to whiff" because QB Aaron Rodgers just turned 34 and the organization needs a GM who can "maximize the final years of his remarkable career." Oates: "It’ll be interesting to see what direction Murphy goes since his biggest decisions to date have been in non-football areas." Hiring a search firm is "curious." Murphy has been an NFL exec for a decade and has "discussed this move with Thompson for a year, so he already should have a good idea of what’s out there." And while an outside search firm "might know candidates, it won’t necessarily understand what the Packers need in a GM" (WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, 1/3). Also in Madison, Jason Wilde writes under the header, "GM Search Gives Mark Murphy Chance To Show His Football Chops" (WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, 1/3). CBSSN's Adam Schein said, "We've been ranting for years that Ted Thompson was wasting Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is the most talented quarterback ever but Thompson never gave him enough talent. He had no idea historically what he was doing in free agency. Thompson's ego got in the way of the draft." Schein added, "Today is a great day for the franchise. Today has a chance to be the day the Packers and Aaron Rodgers get back on track to go to the Super Bowl" ('Time to Schein," CBSSN, 1/2).
SCRATCH ONE CANDIDATE OFF: ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky noted Packers Senior Personnel Exec Alonzo Highsmith announced he "will join" the Browns as VP/Football Operations. Highsmith said that he "did not think he would be considered as a replacement" for Thompson (ESPN.com, 1/2).