Another coaching carousel has come and gone, and for the fourth straight offseason, it appears that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will not be leaving the organization to become a head coach.
After being tied to all seven openings last offseason, Bieniemy only interviewed for two of nine vacant positions this offseason — with the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints. Several reports noted that Bieniemy had an extensive meeting with the Saints about their open position on Sunday, but news that New Orleans would be going with now-former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen broke via ESPN on Monday.
Saints have informed their defensive coordinator Dennis Allen that they are hiring him as their next head coach, sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2022
Once again Allen replaces Sean Payton, minus the interim title.
In late January, the Broncos announced their decision to go with former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The rest of the carousel went as follows: Matt Eberflus to the Chicago Bears, Brian Daboll to the New York Giants, Josh McDaniels to the Las Vegas Raiders, Kevin O’Connell to the Minnesota Vikings, Doug Pederson to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike McDaniel to the Miami Dolphins and Lovie Smith to the Houston Texans.
Ahead of the Chiefs’ Wild Card round game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, head coach Andy Reid expressed disappointment that Bieniemy had yet to be hired.
“I think this year he’s gonna end up with one,” he said. “ I’m hoping that that takes place.”
It didn’t once again, and it led to Reid’s coaching “tree” (probably more properly analogized, “train"), coming to a bit of a halt. Quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Kafka had long thought to be the next in line to become Chiefs offensive coordinator, but the lack of offers to Bieniemy finally led to Kafka joining the New York Giants as their offensive coordinator.
Bieniemy’s outstanding qualifications were recently detailed in former NFL head coach Brian Flores’ 58-page class action complaint.
“Without question, Mr. Bieniemy has the pedigree, track record and reputation to make him a sought-after Head Coach,” the suit states. ”However, despite being interviewed for approximately 20 vacant positions over the last five years, no team has extended Mr. Bieniemy an offer. During this time, numerous white candidates who are clearly less qualified have taken over the Head Coach duties for numerous NFL teams.”
Without a head coaching job, whether he remains with the Chiefs for the 2022 season is now open to question. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, his contract is expiring.
#Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s contract is expiring, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 7, 2022
So after getting passed over for head coaching opportunities again, Bieniemy could either return to Kansas City or be a hot free-agent OC target elsewhere.
Over what has had to be years of extreme frustration, Bieniemy has consistently deflected media questions regarding the lack of opportunities, redirecting attention to the team’s upcoming game.
The expectation would be more of the same throughout 2022 — except now, the question is whether will it be in Kansas City or elsewhere.