The Green Bay Packers, one of the most stable franchises in football, are apparently ready to transition to a new era by shaking up their front office.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson wasn't expected to be on the hot seat, but on Monday night, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Thompson will transition to a new role with the team and the Packers will search for a new GM. Thompson has been the Packers' GM since 2005 and he's posted a 125-82-1 record, so the report comes as a shock.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the entire front office will be reorganized.
Ted Thompson will not return as the GM of the Green Bay Packers but will remain with the team. The front office will go through a reorganization with team president Mark Murphy defining new roles for current members of front office, per league and team sources.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 1, 2018
Russ Ball, Packers VP of football administration, player personnel director Brian Gutenkunst and possibly director of football ops Eliot Wolf are expected to have re-defined duties as Thompson moves to another role, per sources.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 1, 2018
Mortensen added that the Packers could replace Thompson with a current employee of the team.
Bottom line: The Packers will conduct a GM search and there are obvious in-house candidates.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 1, 2018
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora provided one name to watch:
As Green Bay Packers reshape their front office, some in that organization believe Brian Gutenkunst will emerge as top in-house GM candidate— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 2, 2018
It's rare to see the Packers make sweeping changes, but that's exactly what they're doing after a 7-9 season that was ruined by Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone. Earlier on Monday, they also .
Thompson deserves tons of credit for all that he accomplished as the Packers' GM. He secured one championship, went to the playoffs nine times, and won 60 percent of his games in 13 seasons. He drafted Rodgers at No. 24 overall, Jordy Nelson in the second round, Josh Sitton in the fourth round, Clay Matthews at No. 26 overall, T.J. Lang in the fourth round, Randall Cobb in the second round, David Bakhtiari in the fourth round, Greg Jennings in the second round, and so on. That's an amazing list.
But there's also an argument to be made that his Packers haven't won enough considering they've been quarterbacked by Brett Favre and Rodgers this entire time. To put it another way: if the Packers walk away from the Favre and Rodgers eras with only two Super Bowls, they'll be disappointed.
Thompson has often been reluctant to sign top-caliber free agents, and in recent years he hasn't given Rodgers a supporting staff that measures up to say, Tom Brady's in New England. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Packers' offense look dramatically different in the years to come, as receivers like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb approach uncertain futures with the team.
As long as the Packers have a healthy Rodgers, they'll remain a contender in the NFC, but that doesn't mean they'll avoid a period of transition. It also doesn't mean they can't strive to be more than a contender. With Rodgers, they should be striving to be a powerhouse. Rodgers is 34, so they don't have much time to waste.
Whoever lands the job will be one lucky person. What GM wouldn't want the chance to build around a quarterback like Rodgers?