If the new dynamic of coaches and General Managers becomes a trend, look for more coaches to win — and for more General Managers to lose — power struggles.
The leverage comes from the pay scale. Coaches are not getting $5 million or more per year; General Managers are in the range of $2 million annually. If a me-or-him vibe emerges between coach and G.M., the coach is more likely to win.
That’s what happened in Philly, with G.M. Howie Roseman accepting a job restructuring that gives him a bump in title but removes him from the personnel department, giving the keys to Chip Kelly. If owner Jeffrey Lurie had decided to get rid of Kelly, Lurie would have owed Kelly $19.5 million.
Of course, Lurie could have tried to trade Kelly, but Kelly could have blocked that by digging in his feet and saying, “If you don’t want me here, then fire me. And pay me.”
In San Francisco, G.M. Trent Baalke won the power battle in part because it cost the 49ers nothing to let Jim Harbaugh walk away. But it cost the 49ers plenty of goodwill by creating the impression that they couldn’t find a way to work it out a successful coach.
For other teams, the P.R. fallout coupled with what usually would be a significant buyout obligation will result in ownership finding a way to keep the coach happy, and employed.