NFL teams have been working to determine how best to handle the fallout from the firing of former general manager Ryan Pace.
The process has taken on a new urgency with the arrival of an independent consultant who says he believes the team needs to consider all possible legal and policy implications of a firing.
But it’s unclear whether Pace, who was fired as the Bills GM on Thursday, has the authority to fire a coach or head coach.
Here’s what you need to know.
WHAT IS THE NFL CHANGE PROCESS?
The NFL has always considered itself a private business, and that’s not going to change with the recent firing of Ryan Pace, but it has created a new structure to help prevent any potential legal fallout.
The league changed its rules in 2014 to allow teams to hire a head coach as long as they’re not under contract.
The changes apply to both the head coach and the general manager.
The rule also applies to all NFL personnel.
If an NFL team is hiring a coach as its new general manager, the league also allows the team to hire the coach without a contract.
In a new rule, the team must have hired a coach and have an owner who is a “party to the contract” for the hiring.
So, if the Buffalo Bills are hiring Joe Banner, they must be able to prove they hired him on the terms he agreed to with the team.
Banner was the general manger of the Bills until this week.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED IN THE NFL’S PROMOTION?
The new rule allows teams to seek outside legal advice from outside counsel.
This is important because many NFL owners are expected to use their legal team to influence the outcome of any firing.
The NFL Players Association, for example, has been the most active and aggressive in its efforts to help resolve the controversy.
Its attorneys are now representing the Bills.
The organization has also hired former NFL Players Union executive director Mike Garrett to assist with the process.
The union has also released a statement supporting the team’s decision.
HOW MUCH CAN I BE INVOLvED?
The process can take several weeks, and there are some potential legal implications.
If a team wants to fire the head of its NFL operations, the NFLPA can file a lawsuit that could force the firing, according to a source familiar with the league’s internal affairs process.
And if the NFL fired a coach, it would have to provide an independent attorney to investigate whether the coach was involved in a criminal or civil case.
A source familiar in the NFL’s internal investigation of the matter told NFL Media’s Albert Breer that the NFL will likely have to “explain why the coach should be allowed to remain in charge.”
That is likely to include an analysis of the coach’s financial situation.
A spokesman for the NFL told Breer it would be premature to comment on a personnel matter.
WHAT ABOUT A LOSS OF CONTRACTS?
A legal situation is different than a financial one because the NFL doesn’t have a financial liability.
But the NFL could have a legal issue if a player is fired because of an illegal or unethical practice or act.
That could cause a financial blow for the team and possibly affect the player’s future contract.
According to an NFL source, the new rule has been written to help the NFL prevent such a situation.
The source said the NFL would use the rule as an opportunity to look at the NFL Players’ Association’s position.
The new rules were not announced in advance of the NFL season, but the league is expected to announce the changes this week at a news conference.