If the Detroit Lions had their way, Eliot Wolf would be their general manager right now.
Instead, Wolf got a raise and promotion to director of football operations with the Green Bay Packers. He had no interview with the Lions because Packers general manager Ted Thompson denied the Lions permission to speak with Wolf.
The same goes for director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst and senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith.
Gutekunst was denied permission to interview for a front office role with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and for the job of director of player personnel with the Tennessee Titans, this offseason.
The Packers promoted Gutekunst to director of player personnel when they promoted Wolf to director of football operations, in March.
Similarly, the Redskins wanted Highsmith for their director of player personnel job in 2015. He didn’t get that shot and, unlike his counterparts in Green Bay, he didn’t get a promotion.
Or maybe he was offered one and refused it. We’ll get to that possibility in a bit.
First, it’s within Thompson’s rights to deny these interviews. These guys are under contract with the Packers.
However, denying someone the chance for a greater role, more responsibility and more money rarely makes that person a happy camper. While you’ll never hear of discord within the Packers’ front office, you can bet there’s some boiling under the surface.
Thompson has let John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey take jobs elsewhere. So why not these guys?
It’s possible Thompson doesn’t think he has adequate replacements.
As those guys left, the Packers always had someone capable to fill their roles. The very three guys we’re talking about right now.
Who’s up next?
Hard to say.
Realistically, if these guys want to be able to look at jobs elsewhere, they’re going to have to stop taking the Packers’ money each time it’s offered.
You can look at the coaching staff as evidence of that.
Mike McCarthy will also block his guys from interviewing elsewhere while they’re under contract with the Packers. The one McCarthy coach who’s now in a top spot is former quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo.
He let his contract with the Packers expire after the 2013 season. It was a strategic move with the goal of taking on a bigger role elsewhere. He found that when he got the job as the New York Giants offensive coordinator in 2014.
Two years later, he’s the team’s head coach.
As for the personnel guys, Wolf likely has the Packers general manager’s job to look forward to when Thompson retires.
If Gutekunst and Highsmith want to move up, they probably need to let their deals with the Packers expire.
Highsmith may already be taking that route.