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Lovie Smith has final say over personnel with Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given Lovie Smith final say over all personnel matters, which will make his relationship with the future general manager even more important.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't have a general manager yet, but they've already given Lovie Smith final say over personnel, according to Adam Schefter. It's not clear whether that includes draft decisions, though I would expect that to be the case.

This is in line with expectations. Generally speaking, whoever gets hired first will have control of personnel. This isn't always the case (John Dorsey appears to have final say over personnel in Kansas City), but it's a pretty solid rule. The question is whether this is desirable.

In general, coaches tend to look at the short-term future of teams. If they don't perform, after all, they tend to get fired rather rapidly. This can come at the expense of the long-term future of the team, which is something we've seen repeatedly in the NFL when teams make major trades for older players. A general manager with final say over personnel matters can guard against this, at least for the first few years of his reign.

The other issue is that being a general manager and running the personnel department as well as making personnel decisions is nearly a full-time job. Andy Reid recently talked about how his involvement in personnel in Philadelphia led to him effectively turning the entire offense over to Marty Mornhinweg. That's not an optimatl result for Lovie Smith, either, especially given the fact that he has no experience running the personnel side of things.

That said, there are some positives, too. Smith will bring in a general manager with whom he has a solid working relationship. Chris Ballard is widely seen as the front-runner, and he has a history with Smith going back all the way to Ballard's playing days in college. Every other reported candidate has some kind of connection with Smith, except for Falcons executive Lionel Vital. Regardless of who has final say, a good relationship between a coach and general manager is essential.

Hopefully Smith will let the personnel side do its thing, while mostly serving to give input himself. In a relationship like that, Ballard's ability to sell players would be a major asset, but I'm sure the other executives have similar strengths as well. This kind of arrangement has also worked well in the past, with Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll being the most prominent examples. It's also backfired plenty of times, as it did with Josh McDaniels in Denver, Mike Sherman in Green Bay and Mike Holmgren in Seattle.

Giving Lovie Smith final say over personnel matters is not ideal, but probably unavoidable if you recruit him as quickly and effectively as the Bucs did. Now we just have to hope he won't screw it up.