According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Indianapolis Colts are expected to wrap up their interview process next week with Kansas City Chiefs Director of Football Operations Chris Ballard considered ‘the leading candidate’:
"“They are in the latter stages of what is a first round of interviews,” said Garafolo on Friday. “I don’t know if there’s going to be a second round of interviews, but I can tell you is that the expected timeline is about another week. They could have a hire by the time the Super Bowl kicks off. If not, it will be shortly thereafter, and they are wrapping up this first round of interviews now.”“And I know there was some talk that this was going to be Jimmy Raye’s job to lose. That does not seem to be the case at this point. In fact, at this point, I would say the Chiefs Chris Ballard is probably the leading candidate at this point.”"
Here’s our earlier piece on the highly regarded Chiefs Director of Football Operations.
While current Vice President of Football Operations Jimmy Raye III was once considered the frontrunner for the Colts general job, it now appears that Ballard is the clear darkhorse to ultimately win the position.
Another interesting nugget of information from Garafolo is that each general manager candidate as part of the interview process has also met with head coach Chuck Pagano–who’s expected to remain with the Colts next season:
"“But they’re allowing all of these candidates to have some time to sit down and talk to Chuck Pagano and that is obviously a big thing because of the relationship between Pagano and Grigson, and that led to the firing of Grigson recently and why the Colts are now looking for another GM,” added Garafolo. “But they’re not looking for any kind of a stopgap here, they are looking for somebody who is going to be their general manager for a long period of time, and they want that relationship between the GM and Pagano to work.”"
While it appears that 2017 will be a ‘make-or-break’ year for Pagano, it looks as though the Colts are clearly looking at a long-term answer to fill their general manager position and not necessarily someone to just keep the seat warm or place-hold for Peyton Manning‘s potential rumored arrival–albeit as team president.
In my opinion, that’s definitely a good thing because it shows that the Colts are serious about winning next season and not just trying to buy time for something that could come along down the road.