ChatWrap: A lockout and Lovie's future

My efforts to unload the notebook from our 2010 training camp tour coincided nicely with Friday's SportsNation chat. First, the relevant exchange:

jason (south carolina)

If lovie is out at the end of the year is Bill Cowher next in line

Kevin Seifert (2:22 PM)

An interesting line of thought has developed about that. Lovie Smith is signed through the 2011 season. So if they fire him after this year, they'll still owe him one more year's worth of salary. With a lockout looming, many people think no teams will be looking to pay two coaches (the fired one and the new one). So, the lockout could earn Smith one more year.

I've been meaning to touch on this issue ever since ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote this July 31 postcard from the Chicago Bears' training camp. The opening theme of Bears camp centered on the win-or-else mandate that coach Lovie Smith appears to be facing. Schefter suggested the situation might not be that simple:

Should there be an extended lockout, which many around the league anticipate, it will make it difficult for any team to change head coaches, be it in Chicago or Cleveland or Jacksonville.

The reasoning is simple: When coaches are fired, new coaches must be hired. And when new coaches are hired, new offenses and defenses must be implemented. But a new coach cannot implement his program when players are locked out and cannot learn their new systems, as they well could be.

Thus Smith's future, as well as the future of any other head coach on the hot seat, could be tied to the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement. As long as there is no football, it will make it difficult to have any firings.

I'm sure this is the last thing Bears fans want to hear -- something other than wins and losses could affect football decisions -- but I'm sure it makes a lot of sense to some NFL owners.