Mike Sherman Out as GM
I heard on the radio this morning that Sherman is out. Here is an article that he about to be out.
Sherman may soon be out as Packers' GM
Harlan reportedly wants to hand off duties to Seahawks' Thompson
By TOM SILVERSTEIN
Posted: Jan. 12, 2005
Green Bay - Green Bay Packers president Bob Harlan is poised to strip coach Mike Sherman of his general manager duties and pursue Seattle vice president of football operations Ted Thompson as his next GM, two National Football League sources familiar with the Packers said
Neither could say for certain that Harlan had informed Sherman of the decision, but they said it was widely known in league circles that he was prepared to split the duties and make a run at Thompson, a former Packers personnel official.
Harlan returned from an NFL owners committee meeting in New York late Wednesday afternoon and didn't return a phone message left at his office.
Thompson was scouting the East-West Shrine game in the San Francisco Bay area and was unavailable for comment. Sherman has been in staff meetings all week and unavailable. He is scheduled to hold his season-ending news conference Friday.
Harlan's intention since the end of the season has been to speak with Sherman before making an announcement on whether to split the duties.
He has long been in favor of having a GM with full authority over the head coach and football operation, but when his first GM, Ron Wolf, retired in 2001, he allowed Sherman, the head coach, to assume both positions. Sherman has been in charge of the football department for four years.
He has a 53-27 regular-season mark as head coach. However, the Packers have a 2-4 playoff mark under Sherman and there have been a series of questionable moves in free agency and the draft that have marked his tenure as GM.
One of the sources said it was his belief that Harlan would immediately target Thompson, who is under contract with the Seahawks until June but probably would receive permission to interview for the position.
The other source said it seemed a foregone conclusion that Thompson was the top candidate given his previous ties to the Packers organization.
Thompson served as pro personnel director and director of player personnel under Wolf from 1992-'99. He worked with all three of the Packers' top personnel men - personnel analyst John Schneider, pro personnel director Reggie McKenzie and college scouting director John Dorsey - while in Green Bay and still has a close relationship with them.
Schneider and Dorsey also worked with Thompson in Seattle.
Though they aren't considered close, Thompson was with the Packers when Sherman was an assistant coach in '97 and '98 and shares a close relationship with Sherman's mentor, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren. Both Thompson and Sherman are considered to be committed primarily to doing what's right for the organization, and they could be a good fit together.
Harlan faces a difficult situation with Sherman because he will be hiring someone with authority to make a coaching change. Sherman has one year left on a contract that pays him roughly $3 million to be both coach and GM.
Sherman's agent, Bob LaMonte, has been pushing for a contract extension, but Harlan probably will have to wait until the new general manager can assess whether Sherman is the right man for the coaching job. If Sherman isn't signed to an extension, he would be a free agent after next season and might look for a new team to coach before then.
One NFL source said Harlan had no choice but to wait until the new GM is on board to discuss an extension. He said Harlan might have to forgo the extension and risk losing Sherman after the 2005 season.
One Packers source said he doubted Sherman would not accept his new role willingly and work as hard as he could to get along with the new GM. His future in Green Bay might depend on how well his personality meshes with the new GM, however.
It probably won't take long for Harlan to replace Sherman as GM.
Harlan would have to get permission from the Seahawks to interview Thompson, but as long as Harlan offers Thompson full authority over the football operation - including the ability to hire and fire the head coach - the Seahawks can't prevent him from interviewing or taking the job.
Much still has to happen before the front office is settled. Thompson would have to have a good interview with Harlan and agree to terms on a contract. If a deal couldn't be worked out, Harlan would have to either promote from within or open the job up to a league-wide search.
Since joining the Seahawks in January 2000, Thompson has run the draft and advised Holmgren on personnel matters. Among the players Thompson is responsible for bringing in through the draft are running back Shaun Alexander, guard Steve Hutchinson, receiver Darrell Jackson, cornerbacks Ken Lucas and Marcus Trufant and safeties Ken Hamlin and Michael Boulware.
Alexander, a first-round pick in 2000, led the NFC rushing with 1,696 yards and 16 touchdowns. Hutchinson, a first-round pick in 2001, has made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons. Jackson, Lucas, Trufant, Hamlin and Boulware are all players who were instant contributors.
Thompson believes strongly in building through the draft and is not a fan of free agency. He joined Holmgren in Seattle after the 1999 season and has run the personnel department the entire time.
Holmgren had authority to make his own draft picks and sign his own free agents, but sources familiar with the team said he generally followed Thompson's recommendations. Holmgren was stripped of his general manager's duties last year, but Thompson remained as vice president of football operations.
Sherman's tenure as Packers GM has been rocky.
He hit the draft jackpot with wide receiver Javon Walker in 2002, but there have been lots of misses in the three drafts in which he was completely in charge. He has made numerous mistakes in free agency (Joe Johnson, Hardy Nickerson, Tim Couch, Mark Roman, Cletidus Hunt) and put the Packers in a tight salary cap situation heading into next season.
His worst draft might turn out to be his last one.
Of his six picks in 2004, the only one who showed promise was seventh-round center Scott Wells.
It remains to be seen how Harlan's decision affects quarterback Brett Favre, who has not committed to playing next season yet. Assuming Sherman stays to fulfill the final year of his contract, Favre might be willing to stick around to see whether the new GM can fix the defense and make a run for the Super Bowl next season.
If the new GM decides to rebuild, it would probably have an impact on Favre's decision.