When the 2015 NFL season ended, pretty much everyone thought that Colts head coach Chuck Pagano would be fired, while many also thought general manager Ryan Grigson would be gone. Instead, Jim Irsay brought both men back to lead his franchise.
That was a stunner, but once the shock wore off the realization came that the Colts were still tasked with improving their roster and building a Super Bowl contender. That's Grigson's job now, and there's still a lot of pressure on him to produce - and prove Irsay right in his decision.
Sports Illustrated's Don Banks recently ranked the general managers most on the hot seat entering the 2016 season, and Ryan Grigson came in at number four, behind only the Giants' Jerry Reese, the Falcons' Thomas Dimitroff, and the 49ers' Trent Baalke. Here's what Banks wrote about Grigson:
How Grigson and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano went from job embattled to extended contractually on that memorable night in January is still a marvel. Just because they both now have more financial security, it doesn’t mean their employment past this season is assured. How Grigson and Pagano coexist going forward is part of the story, and so too is reversing Indy’s spotty draft results. If the Colts return to the playoffs and Andrew Luck resumes his elite quarterback status, all will be well in the heartland. But if there’s any more dysfunction or underachievement, Grigson won’t survive a second close call.
Lest you think Grigson is taking all of the pressure, SI also included Chuck Pagano on their list of coaches with the most to prove and Andrew Luck on their list of quarterbacks with the most to prove. So Grigson clearly isn't alone in shouldering the blame or expectations for the Colts, but he's still included pretty highly on the hot list ranking.
On the one hand, it would take a disastrous season for Grigson to be fired after 2016. If Irsay didn't fire him after a disappointing 8-8 season that began with Super Bowl expectations and ended with missing the playoffs, he likely won't fire him after this season with the Colts taking a more long-term approach to building the roster. Things would have to go massively, massively wrong for Irsay to turn around and fire Grigson and/or Pagano after just one year on their new deals and in doing so admit he made a mistake. Unless something like a season-ending injury happens to Andrew Luck, it's very unlikely things would go bad enough for any move to be made.
So no, Ryan Grigson is not expected to be fired at all, and in that regard he's not neccessarily as much on the hot seat as some of the others. But at the same time, he certainly is under a ton of pressure. The Colts can't waste Andrew Luck's career, putting pressure on Grigson to build a championship roster around his franchise quarterback. Luck's contract will soon take up a lot of money, limiting at least somewhat the resources Grigson will have to work with. And Grigson will be tasked with protecting Luck and adding talent on defense. He can't do it all right away, but this offseason he started the process by shifting philosophies. If things don't work out, he'll once again be very much on the hot seat. But right now? He's under a ton of pressure, but I'm not sure he's actually in jeopardy of losing his job.