General Managers may have the toughest gig in the National Football League. Outside of having to make countless heavily-scrutinized player personnel and NFL Draft-related evaluations, they also have to make difficult decisions that will ultimately affect the livelihoods of their staff and players on a daily basis; they have to manage a hard salary cap; and they have to manage some of the biggest egos in professional sports. And they do all of this with little to no job security to fall back on.
Keeping in mind that no one knows exactly how the 2016 NFL season will ultimately pan out, we decided to evaluate and rank the top five GMs in the business. While pulling off splashy trades and making calculated picks on draft day may be the most glorified aspect of the GM position, there is actually a lot more that goes into being a top-notch General Manager than just putting together a solid draft class.
With these rankings, we considered several factors such as draft picks, free agent signings, salary cap management, coaching hires, and team culture. Here is a look at the top five General Managers in the NFL.
5. Ted Thompson, Green Bay Packers
Regardless of how the rest of his tenure as the GM in Green Bay plays out, Thompson will always be remembered as the guy who not only drafted quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but who also knew when the time was right to turn to Rodgers and move on from Hall of Fame signal caller Brett Favre.
Outside of that, Thompson put together the roster that won Super Bowl XLV; he and his staff have done an excellent job of managing the Packers’ salary cap situation; he hired head coach Mike McCarthy, who has won 104 regular season games, five NFC North championships, and one Super Bowl; and despite a bit of recent criticism, he has proven to be one of the best in the business when it comes to avoiding signing overpriced free-agent talent. Don’t be surprised if the Packers win another Super Bowl title while Thompson is still calling the shots.