GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers quietly reached contract extensions with general manager Brian Gutekunst, coach Matt LaFleur and executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball this offseason, a league source told ESPN on Monday.
Terms of the extensions were not immediately available.
Packers president Mark Murphy would not confirm the extensions earlier Monday, but said: “I’ll just say I’m confident not only Matt and Brian but Russ Ball will continue to be Packers’ employees for years to come.” Gutekunst was promoted to GM in 2018, and LaFleur was hired in 2019.
Both were nearing the ends of their original contracts as the 2022 season approached. Gutekunst initially signed a five-year contract that was set to expire after this season. LaFleur originally signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year option. Ball has been with the Packers since 2008, but was promoted to his current role — which includes managing the salary cap — in 2018, so he also was nearing the end of his deal.
Murphy praised the work of all three during his address Monday at the Packers’ shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field.
This is not the first time the Packers did not announce a contract extension for a key member of their football operation. They gave then-coach Mike McCarthy a one-year extension before the 2017 season ended but never acknowledged it (McCarthy was fired after the 2018 season).
The deals for Gutekunst, LaFleur and Ball were completed earlier this offseason, well before the Packers returned for training camp this week, the source said.
“I’d prefer to keep [contract extensions] internal, but obviously you can see from my comments [to the shareholders] that I feel like they’re doing an outstanding job,” Murphy said.
The Packers are 45-19-1 since Gutekunst replaced Ted Thompson. That includes a 39-10 record under LaFleur. That record passed George Seifert (who was 38-10 from 1989 to ’91) for the most wins by an NFL head coach in his first three seasons. The Packers have reached the NFC Championship Game twice and lost in the divisional round once but have not made a Super Bowl appearance in the Gutekunst-LaFleur era. Murphy hired both Gutekunst and LaFleur. Both report directly to him, but Gutekunst and Ball were part of the process to hire LaFleur.
Murphy publicly supported Gutekunst last offseason when the GM was at the center of quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ dissatisfaction with the organization. Rodgers and Gutekunst have since repaired their working relationship to the point where Rodgers praised Gutekunst unprompted on multiple occasions last season and this offseason.
One of Gutekunst’s biggest moves was trading up to draft quarterback Jordan Love at No. 26 overall in 2020. Love is entering his third season as Rodgers’ backup, and it remains unclear if Love will ever take over for Rodgers, who signed a three-year, $150 million extension in March.