Despite three successful seasons in Indianapolis, it's looking increasingly likely that Colts head coach Chuck Pagano may be on his way out after this season. WTHR's Bob Kravitz reported earlier this month that there's a "growing disconnect" between Pagano and Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, and CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora backed up those claims Sunday with a report that said there is "growing friction" in their relationship.
La Canfora writes that Pagano was "insulted" with the way Colts owner Jim Irsay handled his contract negotiations this offseason after the head coach was only offered a one-year extension with no increase in pay. Pagano is in the final year of his contract.
Pagano is also reportedly peeved that he doesn't have final say over his roster or coaching staff. Grigson hired offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton even though Pagano advocated for Rob Chudzinski. La Canfora writes:
Those closest to Pagano view it as an eventuality he's gone; if the team does not reach or win the Super Bowl, he's out of contract and the likeliest fall guy. And if he does win it all, Pagano's outside leverage with other teams will never be higher. It's also nearly impossible for them to imagine a scenario in which he and Grigson are still both there together even if the coach did opt to stay in Indianapolis on a lucrative new deal.
The Colts' 27-14 loss to the Bills in Week 1 probably didn't help Pagano's case either, though there are many more games left to play. Coming into the season, the Colts were considered one of the Super Bowl favorites with star quarterback Andrew Luck entering his fourth year.
This situation is reminiscent of the saga that played out in San Francisco last season with Jim Harbaugh. The head coach left the 49ers last season to coach Michigan after engaging in a prolonged power struggle with general manager Trent Baalke. Harbaugh said after the fact that he didn't leave the 49ers, but rather that the "49ers hierarchy left him."
The Colts have made the postseason every year under Pagano, and have advanced one round further each time. But if a strong track record of success wasn't enough to save Harbaugh's job in San Francisco, it may not be enough to keep Pagano in Indy, either.