With the Green Bay Packers one win away from making Aaron Rodgers' "run the table" prediction a self-fulfilling prophecy, the focus has gone from potential offseason changes to planning for a possible playoff run.
That's not to say that the offseason changes are completely off the table for the Packers. Per a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport this morning, there is a possibility that Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson will step aside after the conclusion of the season and Eliot Wolf, currently the team's director of pro personnel, will take the reigns as the next Packers general manager. This echoes speculation from SI's Greg Bedard, which APC discussed earlier this week.
Wolf, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, has been blocked by Green Bay from interviewing with several teams in the past several years. With more front office openings along the league coming, it would make sense that the best way to keep him within the organization is to promote him to Thompson's current role. Thompson would then move into a senior adviser role with the team, much like Ron Wolf did when he retired after the end of the 2000 season.
The Packers can only block Eliot Wolf from interviewing with other teams if they still have him under contract. It is not known what his current contract situation is, but as APC's Jason Hirschhorn noted, Eliot Wolf was recently promoted to his current position and a contract extension very well could have been part of that promotion. The Packers rarely if ever announce contract terms for anyone in the front office aside from Thompson.
All of this only matters if Thompson chooses to step down after this year. He is under contract through the 2018 season, and the Packers are still in good shape despite how bleak things looked when the team was 4-6. Rapoport's report also noted that a sustained playoff run by the Packers will only increase the chances Thompson steps aside at the conclusion of the season.
As someone who famously keeps his cards close to the chest, Thompson will not tip his hand as to what he's planning to do. He is about to turn 64, which is a year older than Ron Wolf was when he stepped down. Still, all Thompson knows is football. He is not married and has no children. It's not clear what Thompson would do in a future "senior adviser" role to Eliot Wolf, but he may not quite be ready to fully step away from the game.
The 2016 challenge was a struggle for the Packers, with a four game losing streak responsible for the team having to "run the table" to have any chance of making a franchise record eighth-straight postseason appearance. Despite this, the Packers are still one of the most enviable franchises in the NFL and that's in no small part due to how Thompson has built the roster.
It's clear Thompson still has what it takes to be a successful general manager in the league, but perhaps he feels now is the time to step down and leave franchise in much better shape for his successor than when he was brought in before the 2005 season to clean up the mess former coach Mike Sherman made when he was the GM.
Time will tell, but this may not be a quiet offseason for the Packers. Green Bay is usually silent during the first few months of the offseason. Thompson has preferred it that way.
In an ironic twist, all eyes will be on Thompson. His choosing to step down will make for an interesting offseason as fans wait to see what style of roster building Eliot Wolf chooses to follow. If Thompson stays put, then it will be business as usual.
That being said, all this can wait. The Packers have a division title to win and a table to finish running. After all, this discussion would be much more fun and interesting to have with a fifth Lombardi Trophy resting at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.