After an uncommonly tumultuous week for the Green Bay Packers organization, the team has finally tabbed someone to replace Ted Thompson. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Packers have selected Brian Gutekunst as their next general manager.
Gutekunst has spent roughly two decades with the Packers, joining in the same position as other future general managers such as Ted Thompson, John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie, and others. Gutekunst comes from the Ron Wolf tree, a group that has spawned some of the NFL’s most successful GMs. Gutekunst received interest from other teams for GM positions, most recently the Houston Texans who scheduled an interview this weekend. According to Rapoport, Gutekunst will receive a five-year deal as part of his promotion to Green Bay’s general manager.
For much of the GM search, it appeared that chief negotiator Russ Ball would eventually win the job. Multiple reports indicated as much, with some suggesting Ball’s hiring could even come at the expense of head coach Mike McCarthy. Even in that case, the team supposedly viewed Gutekunst as a key piece of the front office moving forward, likely the top personnel man under Ball. Instead, Gutekunst has earned the top job, leaving open the possibility that the Packers could lose Ball and perhaps fellow personnel executive Eliot Wolf.
This likely comes as welcome news for McCarthy. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Ryan Wood, the coach preferred Gutekunst as the next general manager due to the strong relationship the two share. Gutekunst’s hiring likely closes the door on McCarthy leaving before next season and creates a path for Green Bay’s headman to continue with the team if 2018 proves successful.
In the post-Vince Lombardi era, the Packers have enjoyed their greatest success with a scout atop the organization with authority over all football operations. Gutekunst represents a continuation of that tradition.