Some of you have asked whether the the decision by Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to jilt the Colts creates any type of legal liability. It does not.
Put simply, McDaniels has no responsibility to the Colts because he never signed a contract. From the NFL’s perspective, no deal is done until it’s actually done. Although the Colts contend in their statement announcing the resumption of their coaching search that McDaniels “agreed to terms,” he didn’t officially agree via the execution of a binding document.
If he had signed the contract, the Colts ultimately couldn’t have forced McDaniels to work for them. But they could have prevented him from working for the Patriots or anyone else.
Based upon promises possibly made by McDaniels during the recruitment and negotiation, the Colts could be able to craft legal arguments that don’t depend on a signed, written contract. But the Colts would be foolish to raise them, since doing so would make it clear that the Colts violated league rules preventing them from hiring McDaniels while he was still finishing up his season with the Patriots.
So there’s nothing the Colts can do about this, other than to realize that they never should have announced the hiring until they had McDaniels signed, sealed, and delivered to Indianapolis.