When the Indianapolis Colts hired Chuck Pagano to be their head coach in 2012, they agreed to a four-year deal with the former defensive coordinator. Now, he's entering the fourth season of that deal, but according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the team won't extend his contract before the season, making it a "make or break" year for the head coach.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash">#Colts</a> coach Chuck Pagano enters a make-or-break 2015: Sources say the team is not expected to extend before the season. He’ll play it out</p>— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/581141378219970560">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
This doesn't mean that the Colts are unhappy with Pagano or with his progress, but it does show at least some hesitation to reward him already with a big contract. This isn't necessarily uncommon - just last season the Cowboys didn't extend Jason Garrett before the season and it paid off, as Garrett cashed in on a long-term extension this year after a successful 2014.
If the Colts have a season exactly like they just did in 2014 again in his final year of his contract, Pagano would almost certainly be extended. So this isn't so much an issue of the Colts being unhappy with Pagano as it is this: they're still not willing to commit to him long-term or big money. The team does have some inconsistency and terrible games, which last year came against teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Cowboys. I wouldn't overreact to this report, but I do think it highlights yet again what we've been saying for a while: 2015 will be a BIG year for Chuck Pagano.
He's definitely made strides as a head coach and we saw that very clearly in 2014, but he still has some issues that cause concern and, as already mentioned, his team does have a couple of awful games a year that give reason for pause. At this point, there's not much reason to think that the Colts will part ways with Pagano after the season, but at the same time, with how aggressively the Colts are going for the Super Bowl this year there will be huge expectations for their head coach. As a result, the team is letting him play out his contract in the final year of his deal without an extension.