The Packers are conducting a wide search for their new General Manager in the wake of Ted Thompson's shocking removal, but one candidate they'll have to take off their list is Minnesota Vikings assistant GM, George Paton.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Friday that the Vikings declined the Packers request to interview Paton.
Packers requested permission to interview Vikings asst GM George Paton for their GM job, per source. Vikings declined request.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 5, 2018
Not long after, a report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport said the Lions were blocking defensive coordinator Teryl Austin from interviewing for the same position with the Packers.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 5, 2018
Paton has interviewed for GM jobs with the Colts and 49ers in the past and has turned down interviews from the Bears, Dolphins and Jets. He's reportedly very picky, but maybe Green Bay was his dream job. We'll never know.
The blockage is similar to the Packers Eliot Wolf situation in 2012 when he was blocked from interviewing with the Lions. The Vikings were able to block the Paton request because they are in the midst of a playoff run. If the Packers had waited until the end of the Vikings season, the Vikings would not have been able to block the request.
With Austin, the blockage is a bit different. Since Austin would not be receiving a promotion, the Lions are free to block him. If he was interviewing to be a head coach, that would be a different story.
Austin just completed his fourth season as the Lions defensive coordinator, and his until ranked 19th best in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. They further assessed the defense as 4 percent better than the average NFL defense using their popular DVOA (Defensive-adjusted Value Over Average) statistic.
The Packers pursuit of Austin isn't over, as Rapoport eluded to. When the Lions replace the vacancy left by Head Coach Jim Caldwell, the new coach could chose to part ways with Austin and bring in his own guy. So, this is a situation and name to monitor moving forward.
Some fans view all this blocking as the Packers finally getting a taste of their own medicine. They are notorious for blocking assistant coaches and front-office personnel from interviewing for other positions across the league.
In the past, Edgar Bennett, James Campen, Tom Clements, Ben McAdoo, Darren Perry, and Joe Whit were all blocked at least once from interviewing with another team.
Blocking is an incredibly common practice in the NFL, and frankly, it's a broken process.
Though Paton wouldn't have been a favorite for the position, with Russ Ball, Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst, all internal candidates, getting the first look, the fact he won't even get a chance to showcase what he could bring to the Packers is a bit of a shame.
However, Paton would have been less controversial than Ball. According to the famed columnist Bob McGinn, Packers coach, Mike McCarthy told his staff Thursday he "planned to leave Green Bay for another job" if Ball took over.
In the wake of all this, one name that has popped up in the GM search is Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta. He's worked under the Ravens Ozzie Newsome since 2012, and cannot be blocked from an interview.