As Green Bay Packers fans saw two members of the team’s front office interview for a General Manager job this January, most of the anxiety about losing one of them was focused on Eliot Wolf. Many view the Packers’ director of football operations and son of Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf as Ted Thompson’s heir apparent, as he has quickly risen up the ranks in the front office
However, it appears that he might not be the one we should be worried about.
Instead, director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst is the "leading candidate" to become the San Francisco 49ers’ GM, according to a report from NFL.com’s Michael Silver. Here’s the weird part about Silver’s report: the 49ers apparently plan to hire their head coach first, as Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is expected to take the job once the Falcons’ season concludes. Shanahan would then have input on the organization’s pick for the GM job, which is a stark contrast to how the balance of power would traditionally lie.
Other candidates for the GM and head coaching jobs have been dropping out recently, with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels pulling his name out of the ring. Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirschner apparently did the same recently once he found out that Shanahan was the likely pick for the head coaching job.
However, there is no guarantee that Gutekunst will be the pick, nor that the 49ers have ruled out Wolf either. Either one is seen as a potential fit with Shanahan as head coach. In fact, a report this morning from Ian Rapoport indicates that the 49ers will have second interviews with both men - plus Vikings assistant GM George Paton.
Gutekunst has made his name in the organization and around the NFL as a player evaluator, and spent the last 18 years with the Packers in various scouting roles. He was named director of college scouting in 2012, then received a promotion to his current position in March of 2016.