Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has known director of player finance Russ Ball since 1993. In years past, McCarthy has praised Ball and talked about what a great general manager he would make.
Things have apparently soured in that relationship. Former Packers beat writer Bob McGinn wrote a lengthy piece on Friday detailing the relationship. In it, he suggests that if Ball is hired as the Packers’ general manager, McCarthy may consider leaving the Packers.
The point of contention seems to be that McCarthy believes Ball has stood in the way — and will continue to do so — of the Packers’ player acquisition efforts. That like Ted Thompson, Ball is adverse to free agency and McCarthy feels he hasn’t been given the right players to succeed.
Yet, everything we hear points toward Ball replacing Ted Thompson as the Packers’ general manager.
Now, we are going to take this with a grain of salt. McGinn is angry at the Packers for not giving him media credentials. Like us, McGinn now operates a strictly online news outlet. And like us, when we asked for media credentials, McGinn was told the Packers do not accredit online outlets. Only TV, radio and newspapers. So like us, McGinn will say whatever the hell he wants about the Packers because he doesn’t have to massage any egos.
So here it is.
Team president Mark Murphy has said that McCarthy is the team’s coach for 2018. McCarthy has said he loves his job and wants to coach the Packers, but he also noted there has to be a “fit” between him and the new general manager.
McCarthy has been involved in the general manager interviews. Murphy might be a dick, but he isn’t stupid. He no doubt knows how McCarthy feels. He probably knows how quarterback Aaron Rodgers feels as well.
No Russ Ball.
Yet, we keep hearing — from multiple people — that Russ Ball is the guy.
So where does this leave the Packers? If Murphy is going to be stubborn and hire Ball anyway and then try to sell the move to everyone, he risks alienating his coach and franchise player. That would be dumb and despite our distaste for him, Murphy is not that.
However, what if there’s a trade involved here?
If the Packers hire Ball and McCarthy, who is under contract for two more seasons, wanted out, the Packers could trade him. There are plenty of intriguing openings around the league — Arizona, Indianapolis, the Giants.
Things appear to be blowing up in New England and this could be Bill Belichick’s last year there. Coaches don’t get traded often and the Jon Gruden trade from the Raiders to the Buccaneers probably remains the most famous incident of such a move.
What did the Raiders get from the Bucs for Gruden? Look at this haul the Raiders got in 2002: first and second-round picks in 2002, a first-round pick in 2003 and a second-round pick in 2004, plus cash.
Do I think it will come to this? I wouldn’t bet on it.
But there’s definitely some shit going on at 1265 right now that’s very interesting.