From the FanPosts -- JD
Over the last couple of offseasons, teams have passed on Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy as their head coach. Last season's Super Bowl run likely played a role in teams signing other candidates; hiring a coordinator who is going to be coaching in the championship sets teams back a few weeks in hiring coaching staff and other offseason tasks. Among other things, these teams missed out on a year of inspiring press conferences.
The Chiefs (and their fans) have been fortunate to hang on to Bieniemy -- but when teams begin hiring in January, that luck is likely to run out. In early February -- when the Chiefs (hopefully) play in Tampa for the second time this season -- Bieniemy will likely be wearing Chiefs red for the last time (at least for a while).
The Chiefs could offer a lucrative raise to keep Bieniemy in his current role, but it has never been Andy Reid's style to hold assistant coaches back from opportunities to become head coaches elsewhere. His endorsements are often a major selling point.
Where might the soon-to-be former Chiefs coordinator end up? Here are some possibilities -- ranked from least to most likely:
Writers in Chicago are speculating about whether former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy will still be the Bears' head coach next season -- or whether ownership will clean house.
The Bears need to develop a quarterback. This -- and installing an offensive system that maximizes the quarterback's strengths -- will likely be one of the things that puts Bieniemy on many team's short lists.
But if Nagy is fired, will Chicago's ownership want to bring in Nagy's Kansas City replacement to be his Chicago replacement? That would be a tough sell.
Detroit recently fired their head coach Matt Patricia. It's rumored that they may trade quarterback Matthew Stafford -- so again, quarterback development comes into play. But Detroit may also be eyeing University of Michigan (and former San Francisco 49ers) head coach Jim Harbaugh, current 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and other candidates.
Even though they're not the best fit for Bieniemy, Chiefs fans would like it if Bieniemy ended up with an NFC team like Detroit or Chicago.
This offseason, Broncos general manager John Elway will be entering the last season of his contract. Even with the possibility of new ownership looming over him, bringing in a coach like Bieniemy -- who could be able to provide a fast improvement in offensive production -- could help Elway keep his job.
Denver may be the most appealing geographical move for Bieniemy; he's spent eight years of his football career playing (or coaching) in Colorado. But would Bieniemy want to coach a team whose GM only has one year remaining on his contract -- and that may soon change hands? Probably not. The dynamics of the situation would need to stabilize in order for the Broncos' head coaching job to be appealing to someone who will likely have multiple offers.
With Anthony Lynn's job security on slowly melting ice, would Bieniemy -- a former Charger -- consider the possibility of coaching a team for which he played? For the Chargers -- a team that even before the coronavirus pandemic was struggling to develop a Los Angeles fan base -- a high-scoring offense would be an appealing way to jolt (pun intended) local fans. If the Chargers could equip him with the right players, Bieniemy could bring that excitement to Los Angeles.
But the biggest problem for Bieniemy is that he knows -- better than most -- precisely how good Patrick Mahomes really is. In the case of both Denver and Los Angeles, Bieniemy probably wouldn't want his first head coaching job to be in a place where he has to face Kansas City twice a year -- and therefore be sentenced to years of competing for Wild Card playoff berths.
If the Jets aren't going to let Adam Gase coach -- and develop their quarterback of the future, whom they will select with the first overall pick of the 2021 draft -- then Bieniemy should be near the top of their list of people who could. The prospect of the first pick should appeal to Bieniemy, but the Jets' head-coaching carousel should not. With the exception of Herm Edwards and Rex Ryan, Jets coaches over the last 20 years have had relatively short stays.
The Jets may also may have a systemic problem that prevents them from consistently competing at high level; Edwards is the only head coach in Jets history to take them to the playoffs more than twice; Bill Parcells was the last head coach to last more than one season and have a winning record during his tenure.
Houston is the most obvious win-win scenario for both team and coach. It's so obvious that it should have happened last year. Luckily for the Chiefs, it didn't.
Houston has the young quarterback in place -- and a fairly talented roster -- which would allow Bieniemy to make an quick impact. He is the coaching candidate who has the most promise to maximize Deshaun Watson's potential. Houston also has a record of retaining head coaches for a long time -- which should appeal to Bieniemy.
Some have suggested that current interim head coach Romeo Crennel could be a candidate to stay on for 2021, allowing Houston to conduct their search for a long-term head coach after the pandemic. Crennel is a great interim head coach -- but moving forward, Bieniemy is the best fit for the team. If Bieniemy doesn't arrive in Houston until after the Super Bowl (and let's hope he doesn't), keeping Crennel and his defensive staff on board would be helpful in maintaining continuity on that side of the ball -- that is, if Crennel would be willing to stay.