GREEN BAY, Wis. — Mark Murphy said he hasn’t made any promises to Eliot Wolf, Russ Ball or anyone else about who will succeed Ted Thompson as Green Bay Packers general manager.
The team president insisted this week that he has not settled on a successor for the 64-year-old Thompson.
“I don’t think you can make promises,” Murphy said during an extensive review of the season, “especially [because] the league changes so much year to year.”
Nearly a year ago, Murphy told ESPN.com that he had a good feel for how much longer Thompson would stay on as GM, and this week he reiterated that hasn’t changed, although he declined to reveal any timeline specifics.
At this point, there’s no indication that Thompson won’t finish out his current contract, but Murphy would not confirm whether Thompson’s contract runs out after the 2018 season or following the 2019 draft. He also wouldn’t say if he would offer Thompson an extension.
“I’d rather not get into that; those are personal contractual issues that I never, would rather not talk about,” Murphy said. “I will say this — and we can argue it — but Ted is an excellent general manager when you look at the consistency that we’ve had over his tenure. It’s pretty impressive. He and I have a great working relationship. I think he and Mike [McCarthy] do as well. I think that stability and continuity has served us well.”
Murphy would only say there will “be a plan in place for the process to find a successor.”
Wolf interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers general manager job last month but pulled out and agreed to a new contract with the Packers. He then interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts, who hired Chris Ballard of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Wolf, the 34-year-old son of former Packers GM Ron Wolf, does not have the GM-in-waiting title in his new contract. Nor does Ball, the team’s vice president of football operations/player finance, or anyone else, Murphy said. Wolf would make more sense in that he’s been a personnel evaluator his entire career, but Ball, whose main job is to negotiate contracts, has been devoting more and more time to studying the scouting aspect under Thompson.
“Things change so quickly I don’t want to tie the organization’s hands,” Murphy said. “And whether that would be permitted under the Rooney Rule, I’m not sure about that. But I don’t think it’s good business anyway.”
Few know how Murphy will operate when it comes to filling Thompson’s job because both the GM and head coach were already in place when Murphy came to the Packers in 2007. It’s possible he would try to lure back one of the Packers’ former scouts who have gone to GM jobs elsewhere — John Dorsey (Chiefs), Reggie McKenzie (Raiders) or John Schneider (Seahawks).
“I know there’s a lot obviously written about this year, but we’ve been in this situation before,” Murphy said. “Over the last four or five years, we lost John Schneider and John Dorsey and Reggie. We’ve got a good staff in place, and Ted’s assembled some really talented people. The success we’ve had over the last five to 10 years, people in the league notice. And the people that we’ve lost have had a lot of success now. So it’s a tribute to them.”