clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chuck Pagano, Colts agree to a 4-year extension after disappointing season

New, comments

And in another surprising move, general manager Ryan Grigson reportedly isn't going anywhere, either.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have given head coach Chuck Pagano an extension, despite an 8-8 finish this year, the team announced Monday night. The extension, according to Ian Rapoport, is for four years.

This is quite surprising as many thought Pagano was going to be let go the Monday after the season came to an end. But after one meeting with owner Jim Irsay, the news didn't come and Pagano had to meet with the owner for a second time.

General manager Ryan Grigson is also staying on board and has been signed for four more years, despite reported discord between him and Pagano. Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo said the decision to keep both men may be a sign that the atmosphere in Indianapolis is better than many believed.

Not everyone was safe, however. On Tuesday, the Colts announced they fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after four seasons, along with tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, secondary coach Mike Gillhamer and safeties coach Roy Anderson.

Pagano avoided the same fate, and according to the Colts Twitter, the head coach is pretty excited to stay, stating that Monday was "absolutely the best day of my life."

Pagano, 55, was first hired by the Colts in 2012, but missed most of his first season while he dealt with a leukemia diagnosis. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians instead led the team for 12 games before Pagano returned near the end of December.

In March, Pagano turned down a one-year extension offer from owner Jim Irsay. Pagano entered this season in the final year of his contract. On the Monday after a win in Week 17, several Colts players spoke out in favor of Pagano, including running back Frank Gore and quarterback Andrew Luck, who called him a "bastion of good coaching."

In his first three seasons, the Colts finished 11-5 each year and and advanced to the AFC Championship in 2014, but the wheels fell off for the team in 2015. While Indianapolis battled back into postseason contention after a 3-5 start to the year, injuries for Andrew Luck, who missed nine games, were too much to overcome. Pagano has a 40-23 career record with the Colts, and a 3-3 record in the postseason.

Pagano, the former defensive coordinator and secondary coach of the Baltimore Ravens, has never really able to turn around the defense of the Colts, which improved from No. 26 in his first year to No. 11 in his third before reverting to No. 28 in 2015.

Earlier in the season, the Colts fired offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton after an overtime loss to the Carolina Panthers. With that came reports that Pagano was being pushed into lineup changes by the team's front office, raising alarms of possible discord between the coach and Grigson.

Update: Re-signing Pagano might have actually been Irsay's backup plan, if you buy this report from Tom James of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star.

Payton is still under contract with the Saints, so the Colts would have had to trade with New Orleans to get him. Reports all season have said that the Saints were willing to deal their head coach. The latest report said they'd do it for a second-round pick, and that the Colts were one of the team's interested. A team dealing for Payton would also have to hammer out a new contract with the coach.

Then again, the whole Payton-Irsay thing might not have happened after all.

Whether or not you buy James' report about the Colts and Sean Payton, it really doesn't matter at this point. Somehow, Irsay was convinced to bring back the coach and general manager who spent the last four years waging an internal power struggle against each other.