After weeks of speculation and radio silence out of Indianapolis, the Colts finally made a decision regarding Ryan Grigson’s future with the team.
The Colts are firing their general manager following a second consecutive season out of the postseason, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a team source. A press conference to announce the news is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Rapoport added that coach Chuck Pagano’s job is “believed to be safe”, per another source.
The move comes one month after Colts owner Jim Irsay told Rapoport that the franchise was not planning to make “wholesale” offseason changes.
“I would say it would be unlikely for any changes to occur, honestly,” Irsay said at Winter League Meeting. “It’s unlikely, but look, we’ll see when we sit down and thoroughly vet the season … We’ll see what happens.”
Grigson was hired as general manager by the Colts in January 2012 and helped oversee a franchise revival centered upon the drafting of Andrew Luck and the hiring of Pagano following Peyton Manning’s departure. Indy posted a 49-31 record over five seasons as GM and went 8-8 for a second straight season in 2016.
The former general manager received a contract extension through 2019 last season despite missing the playoffs.
Grigson’s legacy in Indy will likely be tied to his inability to build the team through free agency and draft well, outside of Luck.
Under his leadership, the Colts used just four of their 14 draft picks in the first three rounds on defensive players. Indy bore the fruit of that labor this season, when its defense, ravaged by depth issues and poor secondary play, was ranked 30th in the league. Grigson will also be blamed for Indy’s inability to construct a sturdy offensive line around its most prized possession — Luck, who had to undergo surgery yet again this offseason.
With Grigson’s exit, there are now two general manager vacancies in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers are narrowing down their search for a new GM and coach. Vikings executive George Paton is considered a favorite for the general manager post, Rapoport reports, while Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is expected to become San Francisco’s new head coach once Atlanta’s season ends.
Aside from Paton, one name to watch during Indy’s upcoming GM search is already in the building. Colts vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III earned an interview with the Niners two weeks ago and has worked alongside Grigson since 2013. Raye also interviewed to be the Bears‘ general manager in 2012. According to Rapoport, Raye has extensive scouting experience and Pagano’s staff “swears by him.”
One “longshot” candidate to watch out for is Manning, whom Indianapolis has spoken to. The Colts legend and future Hall of Fame quarterback has been linked in rumors and reports to an executive position in Indy.