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Report: Colts GM candidates meeting with Chuck Pagano

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts are in the midst of their search for a new general manager, and they’ve been busy interviewing the candidates this week.

Jim Irsay has put together an impressive list of candidates, consisting of Chris Ballard, Eliot Wolf, George Paton, Trent Kirchner, Scott Fitterer, and Jimmy Raye III. Irsay has been meeting with them this week, but it turns out Irsay hasn’t been the only member of the Colts meeting with the GM candidates.

According to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo, “candidates are getting some time with Chuck Pagano alone.”

That’s a pretty significant revelation, as it confirms that Chuck Pagano has been involved in the process at least to a certain extent. It’s unlikely that Pagano will have much say in who is hired as the GM (as that will be Jim Irsay’s call), but it’s interesting that Pagano has been meeting with the GM candidates. It’s unclear whether Pagano has been sitting in on the interviews or whether these are separate interviews, but it sounds like the GM candidates are getting the chance to talk with Pagano.

As Garafolo notes, this is huge because of how important the dynamic between Pagano and the next GM will be. Ryan Grigson was fired because Jim Irsay seemingly found him most responsible for the mess in Indianapolis, and a large part of that was likely due to the ongoing disagreements between Grigson and Pagano. So after having seen that dysfunction, Irsay surely wants to do everything he can to avoid anything close to that moving forward. Thus it’s a good idea to have Pagano meet with the GM candidates.

It would seem to be a clear sign that Pagano will be sticking around, however. While it’s possible that the GM candidates are meeting with Pagano in part to evaluate his future, it’s more likely that they’re meeting with him to determine how the two would work together in 2017. The Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder mentioned earlier this week that the job is so attractive to GM candidates (thank you, Andrew Luck) that Pagano’s status with the team likely isn’t going to be a “deterrent” for the candidates in taking the job. So with Irsay’s preference to keep Pagano, plus the report that Pagano’s status isn’t likely to be a major hold-up, it’s most likely that Pagano will be back (though, again, not 100% certain). And if the coach will most likely be back, it’s probably a good idea to make sure that the GM candidates would be able to work with that head coach and be on the same page - at least more so than the previous GM, though that’s not exactly a high standard.