The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new head coach in place after hiring Lovie Smith, who was their top choice for the job through-and-through, and he’s brought an experienced coaching staff with him. But the next step for the Buccaneers is even more crucial, as the Glazers will have to replace Mark Dominik as their GM. Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard was already linked to the Buccaneers in rumors yesterday, and now we have news that there is indeed some heavy interest in Ballard from the Bucs.
Per a source close to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Ballard is the Buccaneers “leading candidate” for the GM gig, and it’s a move that undoubtedly would make sense for the Bucs. Ballard worked with Lovie Smith for a while during their time with the Chicago Bears, so they obviously have a close working relationship. That type of an HC-GM relationship is critical, because a GM who isn’t familiar with a head coach may try to look to replace them after a season.
It will be interesting to see when the Bucs will have an interview set up with Ballard, who has most likely played a key role in helping GM John Dorsey and the Chiefs build a roster capable of such a quick, impressive turn-around. He would definitely be missed in Kansas City if he is given the Buccaneers GM job, but it’s a promotion he deserves after all his hard work with the Bears organization and the Chiefs organization. No other names have been significantly linked to the Buccaneers at this time, so it appears that the Bucs are really keying in on him (just as they keyed in on Smith for the head coaching position).