Cory’s Corner: Mike McCarthy is the Packers’ next priority

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy

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.

Name Overall record Playoff record Super Bowl record Average salary
Sean Payton 73-39 6-4 1-0 $8M
Bill Belichick 199-105 19-9 3-2 $7.5M
Mike Shanahan 170-138 8-6 2-0 $7M
Pete Carroll 71-57 6-4 1-0 $7M
Jeff Fisher 156-137 5-6 0-1 $7M
John Harbaugh 62-34 9-4 1-0 $7M
Tom Coughlin 158-130 12-7 2-0 $6.8M
Chip Kelly 10-6 0-1 0-0 $6.5M
Mike Tomlin 71-41 5-3 1-1 $6M
Andy Reid 141-98 10-10 0-1 $6M
Mike McCarthy 82-45-1 6-5 1-0 $5.5M

Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


10 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Mike McCarthy is the Packers’ next priority

  1. You give MM credit for what he’s done with Flynn, but you say he’s “blessed” to have Rodgers. I think MM deserves more credit for developing Rodgers! Certainly, Rodgers has amazing talent, but many QBs with talent have failed to grow. Obviously, Rogers’ brains and work ethic play a large role, but so does the work done by MM and his QB coaches.
    Also, I’m all for keeping MM. He is far from perfect, but no coach is flawless. Even Belichick has failed in some areas (I’ve always found it interesting that this defensive guru seems more adept at knowing how to pick apart defenses than developing one).

    1. Agreed about McCarthy and Rodgers. People may not remember M3 was the offensive coordinator for SF when they passed on Rodger to draft Alex Smith. McCarthy’s ability to quickly establish a relationship with Rodgers and provide the coaching that helped Rodgers elevate his game was one of the coach’s biggest successes in his first 3-4 years in GB. Rodgers basically rebuilt his game to become a far more effective, pro level QB in just the first full offseason (2nd NFL season) with McCarthy’s program, which you could see in Aaron’s performance at Dallas in 2007. Looking at the difference in Tolzien after the same ‘once through the QB school’ lesson track, McCarthy still has ‘the touch.’

      1. McCarthy also did a great job of reigning in Favre. Favre had reverted back to making poor decisions during the Sherman era. But McCarthy coached him back to being near the Holmgren years. McCarthy and Rodgers will be forever tied at the hip, one w/o the other may not succeed, much like Holmgren/Favre.

        McCarthy has been instrumental in Rodgers becoming the best QB in the NFL, and among the best to play in the NFL.

        Clearly McCarthy is the next priority among the coaching/personnel staff to get extended, and Cobb is the priority among the players.

        1. Agreed but I think Cobb wants to see what he is worth on the market after a full season. So I don’t expect to see that contract done this year.

          The good news is there are only 9 unrestricted FA next year, and only about half are starters: Cobb, Bulaga, Raji, Tramon Williams, and Kuhn.

          I think the only ‘must keeps’ there are Cobb and Bulaga.

          1. I don’t think the Packers will let him get near the open market. The closest he might get is like Shields, where the other teams can contact him, but not sign him and the Packers then get it done b4 he is actually on the open market. Even that seems unlikely IMO.

            I would like to see a contract done near the end of the regular season when the Packers have a larger sample size, but well before he would get near FA. Of course, both parties have to want to get something done tho.

  2. IMO, McCarthy is one of the top head coaches in the NFL and should be extended. He chooses and manages his staff well, gets the most out of his players, commands respect, deals well with adversity.

    1. Gets the most out of his players and commands respect… have to disagree with you on those 2.

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