Report: Packers, Sherman talk contract

Confronted with the option of coaching as a lame duck or with job security, Packers coach Mike Sherman is seeking the latter.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday reported that Sherman's agent and new Packers general manager Ted Thompson have held preliminary discussions concerning a contract extension for the coach. Sherman is entering the final year of his contract.

The agent, Bob LaMonte, inquired about the extension during the season but was rebuffed by team president Bob Harlan. Harlan had made up his mind in October that he wanted to remove the general manager's tag from Sherman. On Jan. 14, Harlan announced the hiring of Thompson.

Harlan and Thompson made it clear that Sherman would be the coach in 2005 should he desire to stay, and Sherman made it clear he desired to at least fulfill his contract.

"I've never resigned from anything in my life," Sherman said in January. "I'm not about to do it over this. I still have the best job in the National Football League."

With job security at least for 2005, Sherman was faced with a decision. He could simply serve out his contract and be free to coach anywhere next season as a free agent of sorts, or he could seek job security. A coach with Sherman's track record — a 55-31 record surpassed by only a handful of current NFL coaches — likely would make Sherman a hot commodity in 11 months.

"Mike Sherman is an outstanding coach and his record speaks for itself," Thompson said during his introductory news conference. "Nobody needs to make apologies because everything that's happened here has been outstanding."

Coaching without a contract, however, is fraught with peril. The Packers started poorly last season but Sherman was able to lead the team out of the funk. It's questionable Sherman could repeat that feat with no job security, especially considering his off-season demotion may have lowered his status in the eyes of some in the locker room.

Sherman has never hidden his love of the franchise and its history, so it's no surprise he wants to stay. The question is, if the two sides can work out a deal, will Thompson award Sherman a long-term contract or a one- or two-year deal that frees Thompson to seek a new coach should the Packers spiral downward in the coming season or the new coach-GM combination simply does not mesh.

And would Sherman except a one- or two-year deal, with the connotation of being on a short leash?

According to the Journal Sentinel, LaMonte and Thompson might meet next week during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

"My sole purpose is to try and have him remain coach of the Green Bay Packers," LaMonte told the newspaper.

Sherman will make about $3.2 million in 2005. That's the amount he was slated to make as coach and general manager, with Harlan electing not to reduce the pay to go with Sherman's reduced workload.


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