The Indianapolis Colts re-signed both GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano’s contracts last January after an abysmal eight-win season. Today, many still questions whether or not the contract extensions were deserved or not.
The Indianapolis Colts had a rough season in 2015. After being heavily favored to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50, the team had a complete meltdown — winning only half of their games and missing out on the playoffs for the first time in the Andrew Luck-era.
There had been much speculation regarding Grigson and Pagano’s relationship, with some reports that the two hadn’t been seeing eye-to-eye.
Add the reports of a bad relationship as well as Grigson’s accumulation of bad free agent signings and draft selections over the years, and the roof was very well coming down hard on the Colts.
After the Colts’ season ended with the team missing out on the playoffs for only the second time in 14 seasons, the tone in Indianapolis was that both Grigson and Pagano were all but gone. Instead, owner Jim Irsay shocked everyone when he handed out multi-year extensions to both Grigson and Pagano.
The press conference including Irsay, Grigson and Pagano shortly after the extensions wasn’t short of awkward. Both were smiling and acting as if they had never had any issues at all, but there was this artificial feel to it as if they had pretended to put their problems behind them at the wishes of Irsay, when perhaps things weren’t as easy-going as it looked.
Mike Wells of ESPN.com did a Q&A with the reporters of the AFC South and asked whether or not Irsay made the right decision in retaining both Grigson and Pagano. Jacksonville Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco had some interesting thoughts about the situation.
"To me, this is the most fascinating storyline in the division in 2016. One day Grigson and Pagano hate each other and aren’t speaking, and the next day they’re singing “Kumbaya” and holding hands with Irsay. I’m not buying it. I don’t think these guys get along, and there are some real issues between the two. This has the potential to blow up big-time during the season, and depending on when the implosion happens and how severe it is, it could impact the Colts’ chances of winning the division. If that happens, then Irsay would have to clean house. I would have kept Pagano and fired Grigson after 2015, but it might have been hard to find a new GM willing to take the job without being able to choose his own coach."
It could be a little too early to make the assumption that the relationship between the two could blow up this season. To Grigson’s credit, he may have saved face just a bit with what looks to be a fairly solid draft in this year’s class — choosing four of the team’s eight picks on offensive linemen.
If 2016 is anything like 2015 in terms of the tensions between the two, then expect Irsay to fully clean house and try to start fresh with a new coach and GM — similar to in 2011 when Irsay fired both Bill and Chris Polian from the front-office, followed by the firing of then-head coach Jim Caldwell.
Be sure to follow Ink On Indy as we continue our coverage of the Indianapolis Colts’ offseason.
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