The Green Bay Packers' search for the next general manager has just begun, but one of the presumed in-house candidates has left for another job. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Ryan Wood, senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith plans to join the front office of the Cleveland Browns.
Highsmith has spent nearly two decades in Green Bay as part of the personnel department, rising from a regional scout to one of the team's most trusted talent evaluators. Highsmith's connection with John Dorsey, a former Packers executive and current Browns GM, paved the way for him out of Green Bay and into Cleveland. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that Highsmith will receive a VP title with his new team.
Even with Highsmith's departure, the Packers have plenty of viable in-house candidates left to consider. Eliot Wolf, the son of Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf, currently holds one of the highest titles in the front office and has garnered consideration for other GM positions in recent years. Brian Gutekunst has also interviewed for vacant GM jobs and was nearly hired by the San Francisco 49ers last offseason. Green Bay could also consider Russ Ball, the team's chief negotiator with a background in finance. The Packers will also take a look at some candidates from outside the organization.
With Aaron Rodgers and a bevy of building blocks already on the roster, the Packers shouldn't have trouble hiring their choice of successor to Ted Thompson. Still, losing a talented talent evaluator like Highsmith hurts whoever the team ultimately selects for the job.