INDIANAPOLIS — The construction folks who have been working on the expansion to the Indianapolis Colts’ West 56th Street team facility might want to stick around a little longer.
That’s because the Colts have opened up a very attractive position, and potential candidates are expected to be “knocking down the door” to get a shot at earning the job.
Team Owner Jim Irsay on Saturday announced the firing of general manager Ryan Grigson, who had been in charge of team personnel decisions since 2012, opening a job that many outside of the team’s Indy headquarters believe is among the more desirable in the entire National Football League.
Why the Colts? Well, let’s start at the most important position on the field: the quarterback. Indianapolis, of course, features Andrew Luck, who at 27 years old is entering the prime of his career and is under contract with the team for at least five more years.
Sticking to the offense, the team has many other cornerstone players under contract for the foreseeable future, including Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton, left tackle Anthony Castonzo, tight end Dwayne Allen and center Ryan Kelly, the team’s first-round pick in 2016.
The team’s defense is more of an open book for the team’s new general manager to really leave their mark. The team has many pending free agents on the defensive side of the ball, not to mention the retirement of Robert Mathis, the franchise’s greatest pass rusher ever. While there are certainly some young pieces the team can continue to build and develop, one might expect the new GM to come in and seriously address the defense through the draft and free agency.
Then there’s special teams, and Indy has the best trio in the league in kicker Adam Vinatieri, punter Pat McAfee and long snapper Matt Overton.
So with all that being said, here’s what other league experts and pundits are saying when it comes to the open Colts’ general manager position — and what that person must do upon being hired:
Reggie Wayne, NFL Network:
“Now you just have to play ball. Now you need to make sure you’ve got the right replacement. We know the history of the Colts in the past 15, 20 years, and, I mean, we probably should’ve had more rings, but we didn’t, but we won games. We won a lot of games. And you just want to continue to build on that. You don’t want to go backwards. You want to move forward. And everybody saw, whether it was fans, players — even if you didn’t like the Colts — you saw them going backwards. So that was the problem, and now it’s time to move forward.”
Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer:
“The Niners pointed to the combination of a completely clean slate along with a massive amount of salary cap space and the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft as appealing enough selling points to land them their preferred candidates for both positions. And while five other teams had head-coaching openings, none had the general-manager job available. Until now.
As Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay silently and belatedly evaluated his football leadership, he finally came to the conclusion late last week that change was in order. So he fired general manager Ryan Grigson. Suddenly, a general-manager hunt that offered no competition now had another team. And not just any team but one with a franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck already in place.”
Adam Schefter, appearing on ESPN's NFL Insiders:
“They want to move rather quickly, and I would think they’re going to try to get something done quickly. The Senior Bowl is this week — I think that was part of the artificial deadline to make a decision on Ryan Grigson before he traveled down to Mobile, Ala., and before he did more work with the staff. And just like (with) the Senior Bowl is this week, I think ideally in a perfect world, you want to get your GM in place. But, this is not just a decision for the coming weeks and months and season; this is a decision, I think, they hope for a long time, so you want to be quick, but you don’t want to hurry.”
Louis Riddick, ESPN Front Office Insider, appearing on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike:
“You’re going to have to talk about a lot of those things; about how are we going to decide who has final call on draft day? Who has final call on the 53-man roster? Who has final call on the gameday 46-man roster? Who final call on all transactions, free agency, the draft? Those are a lot of things that are going to have to be spelled out there, on top of then turning to (the head coach) and going, ‘OK. Now that we got all that stuff lined up, let’s see if you and I can jive here and build a football team.’”
Tom Pelissero, USA Today:
“The Job is open.
This is the one pretty much every prospective general manager had been eyeing for two years now: the chance to build around quarterback Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts, who fired Ryan Grigson on Saturday after five seasons.”
Colin Cowherd, The HERD on Fox Sports:
“You have a franchise quarterback, No. 1. You have a quarterback that, should be noted, is 25-0, is Andrew Luck, when the Colts’ defense can hold a team to 19 or fewer points. If you have a good defense, you’re going to, for 10 years, win the division. … This is a great job for two reasons: you have Andrew Luck. The hardest thing to find in this sport is a franchise quarterback. The semi-good ones, the really good ones and the great ones — classify them as you want; you got one of them. Secondly, it’s obvious what they need. They got a quarterback, they got a center and a left tackle that they like. They’ve got a tight end they like and several outside perimeter players. You could take that job and, for three years, concentrate on one side of the ball: defense. That’s what they need. This is not a complex-layered job.”
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.