Last year, Colts owner Jim Irsay quickly resolved lingering questions regarding coach Chuck Pagano and G.M. Ryan Grigson. The day after the regular-season ended, Irsay met with Pagano and Grigson and, eventually, announced that both were under contract for four years.
This year, Irsay has said or done nothing to address the status of Pagano and Grigson. At a time when it would be much more expensive to move on (the last time around, Pagano’s contract was expiring and Grigson had one year left), speculation is mounting that Irsay is at least considering his options.
Which quite possibly consists of discreetly calling coaches on his wish list in an effort to find out whether he can get someone who would be regarded as a major upgrade before discarding the flightless birds in the hand. Whether it’s Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh, Jon Gruden, Sean Payton, or even Peyton Manning, Irsay could indeed be in the process of finding out whether he can knock it out of the park before he officially picks up the bat.
Given the Rooney Rule, that’s not the way searches are supposed to unfold. But it would hardly be the first time that a team fired a coach and a G.M. without knowing who eventually would be filling both jobs.
However it plays out, something has to give. The Colts, with Luck starting 15 games, finished 8-8 and in third place in the downtrodden AFC South. It’s a far cry from what Irsay envisioned post-Peyton.
“You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love [rings].”
Currently, Irsay has neither. And it has to be driving him crazy.