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Keeping Coach Will Be Costly

With all the talk about general manager Ted Thompson’s future, it’s easy to forget that Mike McCarthy’s contract is up after the 2018 season. And since highly successful coaches almost never work on the last year of a deal, the Packers will have to make a decision sometime between now and next winter.

It’s easy to just assume McCarthy will be extended, but barring a trip to Super Bowl LII, I’m not so sure about that. Would team president Mark Murphy be willing to pay at least $8 million a year to a coach in his mid 50s whose last appearance in the big game – despite having one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history – was in 2010?

While Murphy seems far more interested in business than football, he might be tempted to hire his own GM and coach before leaving the job. Remember, he inherited both Thompson and McCarthy in 2007. And with the former likely to retire after the 2018 season, he may feel it’s time to move on from the latter as well.

Of course, moving on from McCarthy would then mean having to find a replacement. And with no obvious candidates on the current staff, that could be tricky since there are no John Schneiders, John Dorseys, Reggie McKenzies or even Scot McCloughans out there. McCarthy’s coaching tree consists of only Joe Philbin, who was a disaster in Miami and Ben McAdoo, who just finished a successful first season with the Giants.

And there’s always the possibility that McCarthy may want to move on. As happy as he seems to be in Green Bay, 12 years is an eternity for a coach to stay in one place, and he may want a fresh start – especially when you consider how many teams would offer him more control over personnel. Among the jobs that could be open next season include the Jets, Bengals, Redskins, Cardinals, Lions, Bears, Saints and Panthers.

Whatever happens, we should get a definitive answer about McCarthy’s future no later than next January. And while the odds are he’ll sign an extension, I wouldn’t bet the house on it. A lot of things can and will happen between now and then – any one of which could determine who’s coaching the Green Bay Packers in 2018.

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  • Crazy Ricardo

    I think they’ll just let him sign elsewhere and get some compensation for him. Then they’ll just promote Capers. /ducks from incoming rocks/

  • Sean

    On the bright side, that is one sure fire way to get rid of Capers

  • Todd

    This is a tough /complex decision. At some point do you have to make a change…just to make a change? If a coach is willing to tweak and improve, probably not. However, MM has not been very innovative for some time. Will MM ask for more control of his roster? That too could further complicate things. The only question that should matter…DO you believe he can coach this team to another SB. If the answer is yes…resign him…if maybe or no…move on.

  • Sean

    The key is defense, not offense. MM’s offense is good enough to win a SB with Roger running it. However they will never be able to win three or four in a row against playoff teams with that defense. Other than 2010, Caper’s defense just didn’t show up in any of the years. As stubborn as MM is at keeping his coaches, I think we probably need to let MM go just to have a chance at better defense.

  • TJV

    Would Murphy extend McCarthy’s contract knowing he isn’t going to extend Thompson’s? Wouldn’t a new GM want to pick his own HC, even if it turns out to be McCarthy? That’s not what Harlan did when he hired Thompson but Sherman’s deal was already in place at the time.

    My guess is Murphy’s public statements about Thompson and McCarthy aren’t just PR, they reflect what he really thinks so I won’t be surprised if he extends both of them. Even if he doesn’t extend Thompson I expect he will extend McCarthy and then we can hope the new GM tells McCarthy changes have to be made on his defensive staff.

  • NP40

    After Murphy’s confidence instilling interview of how he’s more than content to keep finishing second or third in the NFC, I’d be shocked if he didn’t sign McCarthy to a blockbuster deal.

    Nobody is more capable of securing playoff appearances by their fingernails, in a garbage division, with a HOF QB, with the added bonus of having complete championship game meltdowns. The Prez should be mighty satisfied with all those second place finishes.

    I say raises and extensions all around so we can make the “Final Four” once again.

  • Jeremy

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see MM leave if there’s no change at GM. He’s gotta be tired of getting absolutely no help from the FO. I think he wants to win another ring, and Thompson just doesn’t seem to have any urgency toward it.

About Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for close to 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2006. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey. He’s had numerous articles on the Packers published and he’s been featured on both television and radio over the years.