2:48pm: According to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 in Washington (Twitter link), the Colts have offered Pagano a one-year extension that includes a “very modest” increase in salary, which isn’t of interest to the head coach at this point. It sounds like he’d rather bet on himself for 2015, potentially aiming for more longer-term security.
12:45pm: The Colts intend to wait until 2016 to address a new contract for star quarterback Andrew Luck, and it sounds as if they’ll take the same approach for head coach Chuck Pagano. Multiple sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com that the team isn’t expected to lock up Pagano to an extension before the 2015 season gets underway.
In Luck’s case, waiting another year to work out a long-term deal makes sense, since the Colts hold a fifth-year option for the 2016 on the young signal-caller. So even if he plays out the 2015 season under his current deal, Luck won’t be facing the prospect of free agency for another year.
For Pagano, however, his contract expires at the end of the 2015 season, meaning he’ll head into the year as a “lame duck” of sorts — as Rapoport puts it, the Colts head coach will be without a financial safety net. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the team is considering moving on, or that Pagano won’t be back in Indianapolis for 2016. Last year, for instance, Jason Garrett coached the last year of his contract without having received an extension, and he parlayed the Cowboys’ success into a new five-year deal earlier this offseason.
Pagano’s track record with the Colts so far has been excellent. Since he assumed the job in 2012, he has led the team to three consecutive 11-5 seasons, winning a playoff game in his second year, and two more in his third year. Of course, Pagano’s first year in Indianapolis was affected by his battle with cancer, so Bruce Arians spent most of that season coaching the club.
Unless the Colts have a disaster of a 2015 season and miss the playoffs, I expect Pagano to sign a new deal with the team eventually. However, the upcoming year could go a long way toward determining his value as his contract nears its end.