KRAVITZ: If Nagy turned down the Colts for the Bears, where does Indy turn next? Good question

FILE - Colts general manager Chris Ballard answers questions after he was introduced by owner Jim Irsay during a news conference at the NFL team's practice facility in Indianapolis, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Bob Kravitz

Let’s get this out of the way first: The Indianapolis Colts did NOT offer Matt Nagy the team’s head coaching job, according to a source with knowledge of the process.

Was there interest? Clearly, there was interest. There was a lot of interest. General manager Chris Ballard and the Colts interviewed the former Chiefs offensive coordinator, who was introduced Tuesday as the Chicago Bears head coach. Reading Nagy’s quotes from his introductory press conference, it’s obvious he chose the Bears over the Colts – whether there was a hard-and-fast offer made or not. Nagy made it clear, the Indy job was his if he wanted it.

“(Colts general manager) Chris (Ballard) and I have a good relationship away from football, being with the Chiefs together," Nagy said Tuesday. “I respect the heck out of Chris. I think he’s going to do a great job there in Indianapolis. He respects me and understands my decision."

And there was more:

“It was just a feel," he said. “And I just know, for where we’re at here (in Chicago), it felt good. It’s no slight to Indianapolis; they have a great team, great things will happen. It’s just the way it went."

Whatever the case – offer or no offer -- the optics aren’t great for the Colts. Fair or not, it looks a whole lot like Nagy chose the Bears over the Colts, a decision, on its face, that would seem to make little sense – unless Nagy became convinced there was ample reason for concern over the future of Andrew Luck.

Compare and contrast:

  • Both teams stink. The Colts went 4-12, the Bears went 5-11. Advantage: Nobody.
  • The Colts will have the third selection in the NFL Draft, and if they don’t trade down, it’s highly likely they will walk away with either North Carolina State pass rusher Bradley Chubb or Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. The Bears who, like the Colts, have needs everywhere – thus, 5-11 – are selecting eighth. Advantage: Colts.
  • The Colts will have roughly $80 million under the cap to use in free agency; the Bears will have around $42 million this off-season. Advantage: Colts.
  • The Colts have Luck – or they hope and pray they have Luck -- who was scheduled to start a throwing regimen in early- to mid-January. The Bears have Mitchell Trubisky, who had a typical year for a rookie quarterback, completing 59.4 percent of his passes, including seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. The hope in Chicago is that Trubisky has the same kind of sophomore growth spurt as the Rams’ Jared Goff, but compared to a healthy Luck, well, I’m not sure there’s much of a comparison. Advantage: Colts.

(Here, though, is the caveat. It’s advantage Colts only if Luck returns to form. Which is not a fait accompli, no matter how passionately Jim Irsay insists that he’s going to be healthy next season and will come back with the fiery, hot intensity of a thousand suns – or whatever it was he said recently. The question is whether the issues surrounding Luck’s health will chase away other coaching candidates who have multiple job options. We’ll see).

  • The Colts have an owner, Irsay, who spends whatever it takes to win championships. He’s quirky, to be sure, and he’s got his issues, but he’s more football-savvy than most NFL owners. The money isn’t always well-spent, but the willingness to spend is not debatable. George McCaskey, the Bears’ owner, is famously thrifty, although the Bears occasionally spend foolishly, as with quarterback Mike Glennon. Advantage: Colts.
  • By taking the Bears job, Nagy will live in the Chicagoland area, probably the lovely northern suburb of Lake Forest. If he had taken the Colts’ job, he’d have bought a place in Zionsville, I’m guessing. Love our town, love my town, but… Advantage: Chicago.

This is not a criticism of Nagy in any way, shape or form. He felt comfortable with the Bears’ people, the Bears’ presentation and the Bears’ offer and made the call. Good for him. When you accept a job, it has to feel right as well as look right, and Nagy felt like Chicago was the place to start his head coaching career.

The real issue now involves the Colts, and whether this latest turn of events suggests that candidates are genuinely concerned about Luck’s future. With so much to offer, including a long-term relationship with Ballard, why would Nagy opt for the Bears? That’s concerning, whether there was an actual job offer or not.

So the process continues. Steve Wilks, the Carolina defensive coordinator, is said to be next on the Colts’ dance card.

What about Dave Toub, the KC special-teams coach who was thought to be the top candidate for the Indy job? I haven’t read or heard anywhere that the Colts have asked for permission to interview him or have scheduled an interview. Maybe that will happen down the road, or maybe we just wrongly assumed he was the leader in the clubhouse given his relationship with Ballard. At this point, we’re engaging in a whole lot of guesswork.

Stay tuned.

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