Eliot Wolf

Browns Rumors: Mayfield, Haley, Ward

While the Baker Mayfield/Browns noise didn’t intensify until draft week, the newly assembled front office viewed the Oklahoma product well independently before arriving in Cleveland. John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf and consultant Scot McCloughan all had Mayfield atop the quarterback class, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes, with Alonzo Highsmith subsequently joining them. Using the Packers’ grading system the Browns do now, Dorsey, Wolf and McCloughan — who has long praised the 2017 Heisman Trophy recipient — each put Mayfield atop their respective lists prior to coming to Cleveland. While a report emerged earlier this week indicating Sam Darnold may well have been more teams’ top-rated QB in this class, Cabot reports four teams — three AFC squads and one in the NFC — had Mayfield as this class’ No. 1 quarterback. Two other teams, per Cabot, provided strong indications he was their top QB choice.

Here’s the latest from Cleveland, including more about the Browns’ signal-caller situation.

  • While the Browns are certainly higher on Mayfield than they were on DeShone Kizer or Cody Kessler, the memories of neither rookie winning a game are still fresh with Hue Jackson. And he reiterated this weekend he’s not going to deviate from Tyrod Taylor atop the QB depth chart. “I’m not going to back off of this,” Jackson said, via Cabot. “We can keep writing this narrative, Tyrod Taylor’s the starting quarterback of this football team, and that won’t change. … Tyrod has demonstrated every day what it’s like to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. I want some of that to rub off on (Mayfield) so he can see firsthand what it means to play quarterback in the National Football League. Baker doesn’t know.”
  • The Browns had close to the same grade on Mayfield and Saquon Barkley, Pat McManamon of ESPN.com notes. While this could mean the Browns placed a slightly higher grade on the Penn State-produced running back, Dorsey felt the need at quarterback and the fact he could land a promising running back prospect in the second round (Nick Chubb went to Cleveland at No. 35) tipped the scales for Mayfield. Cleveland was long connected to a quarterback at No. 1, and Barkley was not believed to be a serious consideration.
  • Todd Haley‘s arrival in northeast Ohio will mean full autonomy of the Browns’ offense, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes. Both Jackson and Mayfield will spend time this summer learning Haley’s playbook. Jackson will be taking a CEO-style approach this year instead of calling plays, as he has the past two seasons. But it still sounds like some of the third-year HC’s concepts will be included in Haley’s offense.
  • The Browns had Denzel Ward and Bradley Chubb ranked equally on their board, and need won out, Dorsey said during a radio interview on 92.3 The Fan (via Cabot). Ward’s ability to play press coverage well made him DC Gregg Williams‘ preference, too.

Browns Hire Exec Eliot Wolf

The Browns are hiring Packers executive Eliot Wolf, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Browns confirmed that Wolf will be hired as the second-in-command under GM John Dorsey with the title of assistant GM. Eliot Wolf

Wolf was in the running for the Packers’ GM job following Ted Thompson‘s retirement, but the team opted to promote co-worker Brian Gutekunst instead. After Wolf was passed over, he found himself with three options – remain with the Packers (possibly with an improved title), join up with Jon Gruden‘s Raiders, or head to Cleveland to work under Dorsey. He ultimately chose the Browns – a team with just one win in the last two seasons, but tons of cap flexibility and draft capital to work with. Dorsey’s close relationship with Wolf’s father, Ron Wolf, also helped matters.

It’s a four-year deal for Wolf and the Browns, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). There’s no word yet on whether he’ll have the flexibility to leave if a GM position presents itself, but I would imagine that it does. Wolf was blocked from GM consideration by the Packers on multiple occasions and the 35-year-old does not want to get stonewalled again.

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Raiders To Interview Packers Exec Eliot Wolf

The Raiders have an interview scheduled for this week with Packers executive Eliot Wolf, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link). Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reported earlier today that Oakland has an offer on the table for Wolf, who’s also being courted by the Browns.Eliot Wolf (vertical)

Wolf is now being torn between Green Bay and two organizations where Packers ties run deep. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was a long-time Green Bay executive before coming to Oakland, while Browns GM John Dorsey also worked with the Packers and has already poached personnel man Alonzo Highsmith from Green Bay. McKenzie, who said he hopes to bring in Wolf Wednesday or Thursday, seemingly acknowledged Wolf’s leverage to Gehlken.

 “I know him,” McKenzie said. “Ain’t got to interview much. I want him to see what’s happening and see if he wants to be a part of what we’re doing.”

Wolf, 35, has a contract with Green Bay, meaning the club could technically block him from taking another job. But new Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said yesterday that he has no intention of doing so, even though he’d like to retain Wolf as his “right-hand man.” “We have a great relationship, Gutekunst said. “I’m very fond of the person, and the scout is excellent. I’ve told him that. I really want him to be here. But I also know he has other opportunities, and I wouldn’t hold him back from that because I care about him.”

It’s unclear exactly how much power either Wolf or McKenzie will have in Oakland in the near future. At his introductory press conference earlier today, new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden indicated he and McKenzie will share control of the club’s roster.

Raiders Make Offer To Eliot Wolf

Eliot Wolf didn’t get the Packers’ GM job, but he remains a popular man around the league. Wolf has an offer to join the Raiders’ front office, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Eliot Wolf (vertical)

Wolf is currently in Cleveland, where he is interviewing with GM John Dorsey. Meanwhile, the Packers and newly-promoted GM Brian Gutekunst want to retain the 35-year-old, but they will not stand in the way of him going elsewhere in the NFL.

Wolf is obviously blocked from taking the top job in Oakland or Cleveland, but he might be able to eek out a better salary from those clubs and exercise more authority over the scouting department than he would in Green Bay. If he does join either one of those teams, it’s a safe bet that he’ll demand a contract with the ability to interview for any GM opportunity that comes his way.

In the past, the Packers kept Wolf from opportunities with the Eagles and Lions. After being made to pass up those jobs only to get passed over, Wolf does not want to wind up in the same position again.

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Packers Won’t Stop Eliot Wolf From Leaving

Eliot Wolf missed out on the Packers’ GM job, but it sounds like the team won’t stop him from going elsewhere. During his introductory news conference on Monday, newly appointed GM Brian Gutekunst hinted that he will allow Wolf to pursue other jobs in the NFL, though he would prefer to keep him in Green Bay. 

I would envision him kind of being a right-hand man to me,” Gutekunst said. We have a great relationship. I’m very fond of the person, and the scout is excellent. I’ve told him that. I really want him to be here. But I also know he has other opportunities, and I wouldn’t hold him back from that because I care about him. But if he was here, I’d like to get him more involved in the college side of stuff and have a broader approach to what he’s been doing.”

The Browns, led by former Packers exec John Dorsey, are reportedly interested in adding Wolf to the front office. At the same time, the Packers appear to be offering him an improved title.


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Packers Rumors: Wolf, Gutekunst, FA

An offer for a prominent Packers job is on the table for Eliot Wolf, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (on Twitter), but it’s uncertain he accepts it at this point. Before the sides can progress on a deal, the 35-year-old exec must determine if he wants to stay in Green Bay. Wolf was bypassed for this job after withdrawing his name from consideration for the 49ers’ GM position last year, and the Browns are expected to pursue him. Wolf worked with John Dorsey for several years before Dorsey became the Chiefs’ GM in 2013. New Green Bay GM Brian Gutekunst said Monday (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com) he wants Wolf to remain on staff but acknowledged executive has other opportunities.

Here’s more from Green Bay and the latest from the North divisions.

  • What could change for the Packers is their offseason approach. The Ted Thompson years involved scant free agency participation, but Gutekunst looks to have a more modern approach to player procurement. Gutekunst said the Packers will be active in free agency, at least participating in bidding for players they covet, and (via Silverstein, on Twitter) the new GM said this announcement excited the Packers’ staff. “We’re not going to leave any stone unturned in every avenue of player acquisition,” Gutekunst said, via Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com (Twitter link). “… Our foundation is going to be the draft, but [free agency] is an absolute must as an accessory piece. We’re not going to be able to sign every player, [but] we want to be in the know of everything that’s going on. We have to be prepared to pull the trigger.”
  • Gutekunst may not be making a change at head coach anytime soon. Signed last week to an extension that runs through 2019, Mike McCarthy doesn’t look to have lost any support as a result of this front office change. “We have a great relationship,” Gutekunst said today. “I have a ton of respect for him as a football coach and as a man.”
  • Team president Mark Murphy said (via Demovsky), however, if a decision is made to ultimately fire McCarthy, he will make it and be responsible for hiring his successor. Other than that, Murphy said he will not meddle in football decisions. Silverstein notes (via Twitter) the previous arrangement involved all football parties answering to Thompson whereas this one could leave some uncertainty with Gutekunst, McCarthy and Russ Ball each reporting to Murphy. Ball has been given a title bump and now has a more direct line to Murphy.
  • McCarthy’s comments last week about the next GM being a “good fit” may have been a shot at Thompson’s free agency-phobic tendencies, Silverstein writes, adding they also may have induced the Packers to contact the Seahawks about a John Schneider interview. While Seattle blocked that move, Silverstein notes McCarthy’s comments may have prompted Murphy to hire Gutekunst in order to see the team take a more proactive approach to stocking the roster in free agency. Silverstein writes Ball was expected to approach free agency like Thompson, his mentor, so this decision could be interpreted as McCarthy getting his way. While Gutekunst worked under Thompson throughout the latter’s tenure, Silverstein writes that other execs who received opportunities elsewhere — Schneider, Dorsey and Reggie McKenzie — were not shy about signing free agents.

Browns To Pursue Eliot Wolf

Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf lost out on the Packers GM job this week when Brian Gutekunst was given the promotion instead. If Wolf is feeling underappreciated, he may have opportunities to take his talents elsewhere. The Browns are planning to pursue the 35-year-old executive, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.comEliot Wolf

New Browns GM John Dorsey spent his playing career and much of his front office career with the Packers, so he has history with both Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf and his son. The younger Wolf grew up around the team and is said to have began writing scouting reports on players at the age of 14.

The Browns and Wolf sound like a natural fit, but that union can only come together with the blessing of the Packers since Wolf is under contract. The Packers reserve the right to refuse any offer put in front of Wolf, with the exception of GM offers. Since the Browns already have their GM in Dorsey, they’d need some professional courtesy out of Green Bay to make it happen.

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Packers Notes: Wolf, DeCosta, Perry, McCray

Now that the Packers have officially promoted incumbent executive Brian Gutekunst to general manager, Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf is unlikely to ever become GM of the Packers, as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes (Twitter links). Wolf is expected to garner a GM job elsewhere before the Green Bay position ever opens again, as he’s drawn interested from other clubs in the recent past. However, the Packers will attempt to convince Wolf to remain with the team, per Silverstein. One additional note on the Packers’ general manager search: although Green Bay had interest in meeting with Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, the Baltimore executive turned down an interview request on Saturday night, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Packers:

  • Incumbent safeties coach Darren Perry interviewed for the Packers’ defensive coordinator job on Saturday and is viewed as the favorite to land the position, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). That news conflicts with a recent report from Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who indicated last week that Green Bay cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt was the frontrunner to be promoted to DC. Perry, 49, began his Packers coaching career in 2009 after spending time in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Oakland.
  • While Perry could be given a promotion in Green Bay, former offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett appears to be moving on, tweets Silverstein. Bennett, who did not call offensive plays for the Packers, was re-assigned last week, but he should be able to find another coaching position given the level of turnover throughout the NFL, per Silverstein. Colts offensive line coach Joe Philbin is expected to be hired for a second stint in Green Bay, and although he may not take Bennett’s old title as OC, he’s likely to handle many of Bennett’s prior duties.
  • The Packers should be expected to add competition for backup quarterback Brett Hundley, writes Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. While Green Bay had originally planned to deal Hundley (and nearly did so during the draft), the former fifth-round pick’s lackluster production while filling in for Aaron Rodgers is likely to hinder those intentions. Indeed, the Packers attempted to sign veteran signal-caller Brian Hoyer in November as the club was trying to keep its postseason hopes alive.
  • Green Bay recently worked out offensive lineman Jordan McCray, the brother of Packers guard Justin McCray, reports Demovsky. Both McCrays were undrafted free agents out of UCF in 2014, but Jordan has yet to appear in an NFL game.

Packers Interview Eliot Wolf

The Packers are interviewing Director of Football Operations Eliot Wolf for their GM vacancy on Thursday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Wolf is one of three strong in-house possibilities for the position. Eliot Wolf (vertical)

The Packers are starting the process with their internal candidates. After Wolf, the next two interviews should be with Russ Ball and Brian Gutekunst, though not necessarily in that order. Knowing the culture of the Packers, it would be a bit surprising to see them go out-of-house for the GM hire when there are three qualified execs already in the building. However, the team could reportedly consider ex-Bills GM Doug Whaley.

Wolf was connected to the 49ers and Colts GM vacancies a year ago and was recently linked to the Giants GM gig before the team hired Dave Gettleman. He’s reportedly getting antsy in Green Bay and he may consider leaving if he does not become the successor to Ted Thompson. There is a scenario in which Gutekunst becomes the GM and he stays, but the feeling is that both Wolf and Gutekunst will bail if Ball gets the job. No matter what decision he makes, it sounds like it will be tough for Packers president Mark Murphy to keep the band together.

I think it goes back to just getting the best man, best person for the job,” Murphy said this week. “We’ve got some good people here and you don’t want to lose them, but I also think the most important thing is getting the right person.”

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Packers Hope To Hire GM Next Week

The Packers are expected to start their GM interviews on Thursday with an eye on making a hire next week, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). They’ll likely start by interviewing their trio of internal candidates: Russ Ball, Eliot Wolf, and Brian GutekunstEliot Wolf

Ball, the team’s vice president of football administration, is said to have a strong rapport with Packers president Mark Murphy. Promoting him to the GM post would likely lead Wolf and Gutekunst to go elsewhere, but if either Wolf or Gutekunst gets the job, the other exec will likely stay in Green Bay. That could weigh heavily on the decision made by Packers president Mark Murphy, who will be working with search firm Korn Ferry to make the determination.

Wolf and Gutekunst have been in the running for GM jobs in each of the last few offseasons. If they decide to leave the nest, it would not be surprising to see both men running teams in 2018.

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