My Personal Wish List for the Green Bay Packers' Next General Manager

With Ted Thompson officially transitioning out of the general manager role he has held for 13 seasons, the Green Bay Packers are in the process of looking for the next guy to lead the team.

I know there will be those who disagree with me, but I think Ted Thompson did an excellent job building the Packers'. Sure, he wasn't perfect (nobody is). But, Green Bay has been a perennial playoff contender, has one Super Bowl ring and came very close to returning on more than one occasion.

And, this came despite drafting toward the bottom on a regular basis, in part because of the un-drafted gems (like Sam Shields) Thompson found.

Of course, as I said, nobody is perfect. And, I'm keeping some of his weaknesses (as well as his strengths) in mind with this list.

1. The next GM needs to have a scouting background. Sure, there are plenty of teams with general managers that don't have that on their resume. But, as I said before, part of the team's long-term success has been finding young players who were able to play at a reasonably high level regardless of where they were drafted. And, considering a team is only as good as its players, I think this needs to be a strength of the person in charge of building that roster.

Yes, the team could potentially hire someone with more of a financial background (like Russ Ball) and supplement him with someone who serves as the head scout. However, if that scenario is successful, it opens them up to other teams signing that head scout away to fill their own GM vacancies, potentially resulting in regular turnover.

2. It would be nice to see the new GM use free agency more. This was a common complaint about Ted Thompson throughout his run and one his replacement will hopefully rectify going forward.

I'm not saying the new general manager should go after every big name free agent on the market or even necessarily pursue free agents every year. But, if there's someone available that is an upgrade over what the Packers already have on their roster, it's worth giving free agency more of a look, especially when trying to replace injured players during the season.

3. It would also be nice to see the general manager more. Another major complaint about Thompson is you never saw him during the season and, instead, he made Coach Mike McCarthy take the podium whenever there was a major roster move. We don't need to see the new GM all the time. But, if he is going to have the final say on the roster, then he (or she) should be the one standing in front of the media explaining every signing or cut.

4. Having a new general manager shouldn't make McCarthy a lame duck. The Packers have already taken the first step by signing him to an extension. But, ultimately, the new GM will have the final say on who the coach is. And, historically at least, a change at that position usually means an eventual change at coach as well.

McCarthy, much like Thompson, has flaws. However, he has been successful as a coach and many teams would love to have him. So, while I'm not saying the new general manager should be married to a guy he didn't hire, I also hope any decision to make a coaching change will be a true football decision rather than change just for the sake of change.


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