Whenever a team has vacancies at both coach and General Manager and hires the coach first, the message becomes clear.
The coach will be running the show.
Coach Lovie Smith will indeed be running the show in Tampa. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Smith’s contract gives the former Bears coach final say “over all personnel matters.” This presumably includes the draft, free agency, and the crafting of the final 53-man roster.
Giving that power to Smith could make it harder to hire a General Manager. For starters, any G.M. who wants final say won’t want the job.
There’s another potential issue. If the Buccaneers want to offer a promotion to a front-office employee from another team, the job needs to entail final say over personnel or the candidate’s current team can block the move.
Whether that would happen with leading candidate Chris Ballard, the director of pro personnel in Kansas City, remains to be seen. Last year, the Packers didn’t block John Dorsey from leaving for the Chiefs, even though coach Andy Reid presumably has final say over personnel.
Regardless of the contractual niceties, Lovie Smith will be doing something he didn’t do in Chicago, where G.M. Jerry Angelo and then (for a year) G.M. Phil Emery ran the roster. The key will be for Smith and his G.M. to work together, making consensus decisions that won’t entail Smith having to play his trump card.