Now that general manager Ted Thompson has been rightly granted a contract extension, it’s time to start zeroing in on the next big signing.
And that’s head coach Mike McCarthy.
Some folks still may grumble about the job that he does, but he has led the Packers to the playoffs the last five seasons. That of course includes the unlikely Super Bowl in 2010 that exhibited his finest coaching effort during that playoff run.
But where does McCarthy rank among his NFL coaching peers?
Right now, McCarthy is 11th according to average salary. Obviously it doesn’t come down to just production. If it did, Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin would easily top the list. They have five combined Super Bowl wins and 31 playoff victories between them.
At 50 years old apiece, McCarthy and Sean Payton are the youngest proven winners in the NFL. Payton tops the list by averaging $8 million a year but McCarthy is $2.5 million south of that.
The biggest question about McCarthy’s worth was how he could survive without a top-flight quarterback manning the controls. He coached Brett Favre during his final two years in Green Bay and now he’s blessed with Aaron Rodgers, arguably the best and smartest signal caller in the league. But last year, McCarthy he proved that it’s not just the quarterback as Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn started in addition to Rodgers.
Of course, some guys like Belichick and Carroll also get to “shop for some of the groceries,” as told by Bill Parcells. But the Packers remember what happened after Ron Wolf. Mike Sherman was brought in to handle the X’s and O’s and also be the team’s general manager and four years later, he was fired.
It may work for coaches to be the team’s personnel and coaching mouthpiece concurrently. But how does a person know when to take off his general manager’s hat and put his coaching hat on or vice versa? Do one thing and do it well.
Besides, who would want to stand in the way of the Thompson-McCarthy Express? Those two have proven they understand each other well and respect the other and it has led to continuing the Packers’ NFC dominance.
McCarthy should at least be in the top five for average salary. Anything less than $7 million a season and the Packers are getting one heck of a value. McCarthy coached Flynn into a starting-caliber player before Russell Wilson snatched that job away in Seattle. So, Flynn came back to Green Bay and the former seventh rounder continues to get better with McCarthy’s intricate quarterback tutelage.
The Packers kick-off the season Sept. 4 in Seattle. Expect Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy to get McCarthy locked up before then.
This has been an offensive game for a few years now. It only makes sense to retain one of the premier out-of-the-box offensive thinkers in the NFL. It sure beats trying to go against him.
So, while Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and Jordy Nelson may get a lot of the credit when the Packers win, don’t forget about the puppet master. He isn’t just a punching bag to pin the losses on.
His upcoming extension could make his stay in Green Bay approach 15 seasons, making him the longest-tenured Packers coach since Curly Lambeau. I don’t think McCarthy will want to coach for 29 years, but having stability in a leadership position not only helps the rookies adjust but also makes the veterans a lot more comfortable.
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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn