Entering his 24th season overall with the Packers and fifth as the team's general manager, Brian Gutekunst was named to his position on Jan. 8, 2018. During his time with the club, he has helped lead the Packers to 16 playoff appearances, 12 division titles, six appearances in the NFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl title (XLV).
In his four seasons leading the Packers' personnel department, Gutekunst (GOO-tuh-kunst) has maintained an aggressive approach to building the roster, leading to immediate results the past three seasons. For the third consecutive year in 2021, Green Bay posted a 13-win season and captured the NFC North crown while also earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the second consecutive season. It marked the first time in NFL history a team recorded three consecutive 13-win seasons and the 39 wins since 2019 are the most in franchise history over a three-season span. The Packers were the only NFC team and one of only four NFL teams to make the playoffs each season from 2019 to 2021.
"We could not be more excited to elevate Brian to the position of general manager," said team President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Murphy at the time of Gutekunst's promotion. "He has earned this opportunity throughout his 19 years with the Packers, proving to not only be a skilled talent evaluator, but a trusted and collaborative leader. His time under the direction of former Packers general managers Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson will undoubtedly serve him well as we work toward our next Super Bowl championship. I am confident that he is the man that will help get us there."
Over his four seasons constructing the roster, Gutekunst has acquired 10 players who earned All-Pro honors from The Associated Press, were named to the Pro Bowl or were selected as Pro Bowl alternates. His first pick as Packers general manager, CB Jaire Alexander, earned a spot on the All-Rookie team in 2018 and in 2020 he was named to the Pro Bowl while also earning second-team All-Pro honors from AP. Drafted by Gutekunst in 2019, G/T Elgton Jenkins also garnered All-Rookie team honors and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2020. In 2021, LB Rashan Gary, a first-round selection by Gutekunst in 2019, was named a Pro Bowl alternate after he led the team with 9½ sacks and 28 QB hits (No. 7 in the NFL) and finished No. 5 among NFL LBs with 53 QB pressures (according to NFL Next Gen Stats).
While the draft will remain the most important avenue with which Gutekunst builds the roster, his free-agent signings and other roster maneuvers have been extremely effective in strengthening the Packers. This was again evident in 2021 as his June signing of sixth-year LB De'Vondre Campbell proved to be one of the most significant signings in team history as Campbell was named first-team AP All-Pro following the season, the first Green Bay inside LB to earn first-team AP All-Pro recognition since Ray Nitschke in 1966. Gutekunst also added fifth-year CB Rasul Douglas during the 2021 season, signing him off the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad in October. Douglas went on to play 12 games with nine starts for the Packers, posting a team-high five INTs and two INT TDs (tied for No. 1 in the NFL) on his way to being named a Pro Bowl alternate.
Following a trade that sent WR Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for their first- (No. 22 overall) and second-round (No. 53 overall) picks, Gutekunst entered the 2022 draft with 11 selections. His fifth draft was highlighted by a pair of defenders in the first round from the national champion Georgia Bulldogs. He used the first (No. 22 overall) of the two first-round picks on LB Quay Walker, the first Georgia linebacker to be drafted in the first round since Roquan Smith in 2018 (Chicago, No. 8 overall). Walker was part of a Georgia defense that ranked No. 1 in the country in points allowed (10.2 ppg), the top mark posted since Alabama (8.2 ppg) in 2011, and helped the Bulldogs win their first national championship since 1980. With the second pick in the first round (No. 28 overall), Gutekunst tabbed Walker's teammate, DL Devonte Wyatt. As a senior in 2021, Wyatt started all 14 games he played in and was named first-team All-SEC by the coaches and second-team All-SEC by AP. On the second day of the draft, Gutekunst packaged Green Bay's two second-round selections (Nos. 53 and 59 overall) in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 34 overall pick. With that selection, he picked WR Christian Watson from North Dakota State. Watson earned second-team All-America honors at wide receiver from AP as a senior in 2021, and as a junior in 2020, earned first-team AP All-America recognition at kickoff returner. He played for NDSU teams that won the FCS national championship in 2018, 2019 and 2021, with the Bison posting a 52-4 record during his four seasons.
Gutekunst's fourth draft in 2021 saw him make nine selections as he infused the roster with talent from major-college programs and addressed several needs. With the No. 29 pick in the first round, the Packers selected CB Eric Stokes from the University of Georgia. As a rookie last season, he played in 16 games with 14 starts and registered 55 tackles (43 solo), a team-high 14 PDs (tied for No. 11 in the NFL) and an INT. In the second round, Gutekunst turned to offense and selected C/G Josh Myers out of Ohio State. Myers opened the 2021 season as the Packers' starting center and went on to start six games on the season despite being sidelined for several weeks due to a knee injury. He returned to start in the season finale at Detroit and in the NFC Divisional game against San Francisco. All nine picks from the 2021 draft class appeared in at least one regular-season game as rookies, with six of the nine playing 13-plus games each. As a group, they combined to play in 108 games in 2021.
For the third time in as many drafts, Gutekunst made a first-round trade in 2020, swapping pick No. 30 and a fourth-round selection (No. 136) for the Miami Dolphins' pick at No. 26, and used that selection on Utah State QB Jordan Love. In the second round, Gutekunst fortified the Packers' backfield with the selection of Boston College RB AJ Dillon. In Week 16 against the Titans, Dillon saw his most significant action as a rookie and posted a career-best 124 yards rushing and a career-high two TDs on 21 carries (5.9 avg.) as he became the first rookie in franchise history to rush for 120-plus yards and two TDs in a game. In his second pro campaign in 2021, Dillon played in all 17 games with two starts, leading the team with 803 rushing yards and a team-high five TDs on 187 carries (4.3 avg.) with 34 receptions for 313 yards (9.2 avg.) and two TDs. He also ranked No. 3 on the team with 1,116 yards from scrimmage, teaming with RB Aaron Jones (1,190) as they became just the second RB duo in franchise history to both eclipse 1,100 yards from scrimmage in the same season (John Brockington/MacArthur Lane in 1972). G Jon Runyan (sixth round, Michigan) was the only Green Bay rookie to appear in every game in 2020, seeing time on offense and special teams, and also appeared in both postseason contests. His second season in 2021 saw him play in all 17 games with 16 starts at LG.
In his second offseason managing the Packers' roster in 2019, Gutekunst secured one the most successful free-agent classes in team history, signing four marquee players and immediate starters in LBs Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith, S Adrian Amos and G/T Billy Turner. The group proved instrumental in the Packers' run to three consecutive NFC North division titles and back-to-back appearances in the NFC Championship Game following the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Preston Smith, originally a second-round pick of the Washington Redskins, came to Green Bay after four seasons (2015-18) with Washington. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019 after ranking No. 8 in the NFL with a career-best 12 sacks and finishing No. 2 on the team with 29 QB hits and 43 QB pressures. Za'Darius Smith, who was originally selected in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, made his first career Pro Bowl in 2019 as an injury replacement and was again named to the Pro Bowl in 2020 while also earning second-team AP All-Pro honors. His 26 sacks from 2019-20 are the most by a Packer in his first two seasons with the team. Additionally, the Smiths became the first duo in NFL history to both register 12-plus sacks in their first season as teammates, the first tandem in team history (since 1982) to both register 12-plus sacks in the same season and only the second duo in Packers history (since 1982) to each have 10-plus sacks in a season (DE Reggie White with 13.0 and LB Bryce Paup with 11.0 in 1993).
Gutekunst entered the 2019 NFL Draft with 10 picks, including two first-round selections, and for the second consecutive draft maneuvered in the first round to get a player he wanted. At No. 12 overall, Gutekunst selected Gary out of the University of Michigan. Gutekunst then packaged the No. 30 pick with a pair of fourth-round selections in a trade with Seattle for the No. 21 overall pick that he used on University of Maryland S Darnell Savage. In his rookie campaign in 2019, Savage earned PFWA All-Rookie team honors after starting all 14 games and ranking tied for No. 2 on the team with two interceptions. In the second round, Gutekunst selected Jenkins out of Mississippi State, who played in all 16 games and started the final 14 contests of the season at left guard as a rookie in 2019. He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team, only the second Packers guard to be selected since 1974 (Daryn Colledge, 2006). Jenkins put together an even more impressive second campaign in 2020 as he started all 16 games, opening 12 at LG, three at C and one at RT en route to his first Pro Bowl selection. He became just the third offensive lineman in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl within his first two seasons in the NFL (Derel Teteak, 1952 as a rookie; Charley Brock, 1940 in his second season). Jenkins saw action at four different spots on the line in 2020 (LT, LG, C, RT) and became the first Green Bay offensive lineman to start games at guard, center and tackle in the same season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
Armed with a league-high 12 selections entering the 2018 NFL Draft, Gutekunst was active. The first round saw him trade the Packers' selection (No. 14) to New Orleans for the Saints' first-round pick (No. 27) and a fifth (No. 147) in 2018, and a first in 2019. Moments later, Gutekunst traded the No. 27 pick, a third (No. 76) and a sixth (No. 186) to Seattle for their first (No. 18) and a seventh (No. 248). With the No. 18 choice in the first round, Green Bay selected Alexander out of Louisville. Alexander was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team, becoming just the second Packers CB to be honored since 1974 (Casey Hayward, 2012). In 2019, Alexander was named a Pro Bowl alternate after starting all 16 games and leading the team with a career-high 23 passes defensed. The 2020 season saw Alexander post 15 passes defensed to lead the Packers for the third straight season en route to his first career Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro honors from AP.
Prior to his promotion, Gutekunst served as Green Bay's director of player personnel (2016-17) and director of college scouting (2012-15) after spending his first 13 seasons with the club as a college scout. He served as an East Coast regional scout for his first two years (1999-2000) before switching to the Southeast region (2001-11).
Possessor of prior professional scouting and college coaching experience upon joining Green Bay on a full-time basis late in 1998, Gutekunst gained his first NFL experience in the summer of 1995 when he assisted the coaching staff of the New Orleans Saints with the offensive line during training camp. Gutekunst's initial exposure to the Packers came in the summer of 1997 when he worked as an intern in the team's scouting department.
His first full-time appointment in professional scouting was in 1998 as a scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs. After one year with the Chiefs, Gutekunst returned to the Packers when he was named a college scout for the East Coast by Wolf on Dec. 30, 1998.
Gutekunst earlier had played two years of college football for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He then became an assistant coach for the team during his final two years at the school (1995-96) after a shoulder injury cut short his playing career. Serving as a linebackers coach during the 1995 season, he helped the school to the Division III national championship as the Eagles finished with an unblemished record of 14-0. Gutekunst has a degree in sports management.
He and his wife, Jen, reside in Hobart with their daughters, Marley, 17, Joie, 16, and Kacey, 11, and son, Michael, 13.