Ted Thompson just signed an extension, so he’ll be sticking around for at least a few more years. But at age 58, Green Bay’s Super Bowl-winning general manager and football lifer will more than likely walk away from the game once his contract expires following the 2015 season (if not sooner). With little actual news to write about due to the lockout, I decided to look into my crystal ball and take a shot at predicting who could be the next GM of the Packers. Here are some of the top candidates:
JOHN SCHNEIDER – Seattle’s current general manager would be the clear frontrunner for the job, but only if Mike McCarthy is still the head coach. The two have been close friends for many years and McCarthy’s voice would be impossible for team president Mark Murphy to ignore. Why would Schneider make what would appear to be a lateral move? Because he’s from Wisconsin and he’d have far more power with the Packers than he has under Pete Carroll in Seattle. The 39-year-old Schneider has long been considered one of the up-and-coming talent evaluators in the league and the idea of hiring a young GM would probably be very appealing to Murphy. Both Thompson and Ron Wold were already in their 50s when they took over in Green Bay.
JOHN DORSEY – The team’s current director of college scouting would probably be the favorite for the job if McCarthy leaves before Thompson. The 50-year-old turned down a number of chances to interview for GM positions around the league because he didn’t want to leave Green Bay (he regretted going to Seattle with Mike Holmgren in 1999 and returned after only 16 months). His loyalty to the organization has been appreciated through the years – as has been his keen eye for talent. Just remember, every time a member of the media praises Thompson for his recent drafts, that person is also praising Dorsey.
REGGIE MCKENZIE - The team’s current director of football operations interviewed for GM positions with two other teams (Atlanta and Tennessee) in recent years, but he failed to get either job. The 47-year-old has been in the Packers’ front office since 1994 – starting off as a pro personnel assistant. For whatever reason, McKenzie has never garnered the same level of league-wide respect that has been afforded to Schneider and Dorsey. Nevertheless, he’s highly regarded by both Wolf and Thompson and that, along with at least two Lombardi Trophies on his résumé, should make him a hot candidate in the next few years. In fact, I’d be surprised if he’s still in Green Bay when Thompson retires.
SCOT MCCLOUGHAN – San Francisco’s former GM and Seattles’s current senior personnel executive worked in Green Bay’s front office for six years in the 90s and has remained close to Thompson ever since. The 43-year-old parted ways with the 49ers last spring after three consecutive non-winning seasons, but many around the league are willing to give him a pass due to the dysfunction surrounding that once proud franchise. Plus, he did draft quite a few good players during his time in SF. McCloughan had a chance to return to the Packers a year ago, but he chose to stay on the West Coast in order to be closer to his family.
SHAUN HEROCK – The team’s current assistant director of college scouting would be a candidate if none of the aforementioned men were available. The 40-year-old started with the Packers as a scout in 1994 before being named to his current position in 2001. Herock’s father Ken was Atlanta’s director of player personnel in the 90s and remains one of Wolf’s closest friends. Shaun is considered to be a hard worker with a good eye for talent. Some of the best players drafted in recent years have come from the part of the country where he still scouts.
ELIOT WOLF – If the name sounds familiar, it should. The 29-year-old Eliot is Ron’s son and he’s been with the organization since 2004. The younger Wolf is probably about five years away from being seriously considered for GM jobs around the league – which is about the time the Packers might be looking to hire. Wolf may have gotten his foot in the door due to his famous dad, but his work has now impressed Mike Sherman, Thompson and McCarthy.