Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and General Manager Ryan Grigson will have to learn to play nicely together next season. Instead of letting Pagano go, as it was expected all season long, Colts management decided to give the embattled coach an extension and retain him through the 2019 season.
The move was the right one for both sides. Pagano is well liked by his players and took the team to the 2014 AFC Title game. This season, injuries played a huge role in the franchise finishing 8-8 and in second place in the AFC South. You also have to wonder how much quarterback Andrew Luck had a say in Pagano staying with the team. Luck was injured for the most of this season, but has enjoyed much success under Pagano’s watch.
The Colts could have looked like it had egg on their faces. A story has surfaced that the team tried to lure Sean Payton away from New Orleans before it extended the olive branch to Pagano, when a formal announcement was made at 10:30 p.m. Monday night.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Pagano and Grigson are now “joined at the hip,” as team owner Jim Irsay said when announcing Pagano’s new deal. For the record, Grigson has a new contract of his own, so there is no reason to think the two cannot coexist and recapture the winning formula from two seasons ago. Don’t be surprised, however, if changes are made within the organization – a topic that was stressed in the Star’s article.
One thing that is for sure, is the fact the Colts did try to lure New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton up north. The Colts expressed interest in Payton on the same day they negotiated a contract extension with Pagano, according to ESPN and the Terre Haute Tribune Star.
While the Colts could not technically negotiate with Payton, who has two years remaining on his contract with the Saints, it was reported the two sides were in contact while the team was also talking to Pagano.
Will this be a topic that stirs the pot next season in Indianapolis? It shouldn’t if the team returns to its 2014 form.
While the New Orleans Saints are said to be negotiating with Payton and his agent to keep him in the Big Easy, there has been speculation he may want to leave the organization he helped win its only Super Bowl title.
Philadelphia and San Francisco are said to be interested as might the Miami Dolphins. The team will want compensation for Payton, should he leave. The talk amongst NFL media is the Saints would want a second round draft pick.
This is not the first time the NFL has seen a team “trade” for a coach or a team receive compensation for a coach changing teams. The Jon Gruden deal is the NFL coaching “trade” that people remember most. That makes sense, considering the blockbuster price the Bucs paid as compensation. But that’s not the norm.
Gruden then beat his former team, the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl after joining the Buccaneers.
It also happened with the Miami Dolphins and Don Shula, but under different circumstances.
After the 1969 season, Joe Robbie, owner of the Dolphins, signed Shula to a contract to become Miami’s second head coach. As a result of Shula’s signing the team was charged with tampering by the NFL, which forced the Dolphins to give their first round pick to the Colts.
The Saints will have to aim lower if they allow Sean Payton to leave with two years left on his contract.