I get it. The SMS is to prevent teams from blowing their brains out trying to hire a “Chris Jones”.
But it hamstrings a team that makes the mistake of blowing their brains out hiring a “Chris Jones” and having it not work out, for whatever reason.
When a team gets saddled with a coach or GM that has “lost the room” and can’t get rid of him due to SMS commitment, then the thing the SMS was put in place to protect (fiscal stability) gets murdered, because fans stop coming to the games, revenue suffers, fanbase gets decimated. Bad teams have bad gates. And teams with GM’s or coaches that have to be kept purely out of SMS issues do not get better, they get progressively worse. Especially when you are stuck with them for 3 more years.
I’ve come up with a simple fix. Just like the Player SMS, if a player is unable to play but still under contract, he is put on a long term IR, and his salary goes off SMS. The total SMS for the players remains the same, and you can replace that player with another, you do not have to leave that spot vacant.
If a coach is unable to do his duties, there should be a “Long Term IR” that teams can place him on. Remove his on going SMS hit from the cap, but leave the total cap in place. So you can replace him with a similar cost replacement, just like an injured player.
This allows a proactive ability to make front office change to maintain a team’s competitiveness, and maintain the attractiveness to the fans (gate) and media (viewers). While limping on with a lame duck coach/GM will cost a team a lot at the gate, those losses may not happen if a change is made, and the team should be able to afford the non-SMS payout from cutting loose a bad GM/coach by maintaining the revenue stream.
Teams will not be able to overspend on hiring a coach, or poach one from another team with a humongous offer, so the idea the SMS is supposed to address remains, but teams that need to make a change can, and hopefully the money they spend on a dead contract is less than the money they would lose having that coach/GM driving the team into the ground.
Is this too simple a solution? Does it make too much sense? Ask Elks fans… they aren’t even coming out for free…