Just minutes after the Kansas City Chiefs announced the firing of general manager Scott Pioli on their website, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter first reported that former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has reached an agreement with the Chiefs, and the new deal is just pending the inevitable lawyers.
Reid, who was fired on Monday after a 14-year tenure with the Eagles, was first thought to be a shoo-in for the open Arizona Cardinals job, but things accelerated in a different direction when Chiefs president and CEO Clark Hunt led a delegation of Kansas City front office men — including Pioli — to interview Reid on Wednesday. Over the next two days, there was enough groundwork laid for Hunt to travel back to Kansas City and do what needed to be done with the Pioli move.
That sets Reid up to bring his own staff in from top to bottom, including former Eagles personnel man and recently fired Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert. Reid has also reportedly assembled a staff that may include ex-Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, former Eagles offensive and defensive assistant Juan Castillo, and former Eagles assistant and Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress.
One person who told Reid to take the Kansas City job was Dick Vermeil, who coached the Chiefs from 2001 through 2005, and also coached the Eagles from 1976 through 1982. Reid and Vermeil speak regularly, and they did so as Reid made his decision.
“He’s coached at the University of Missouri,” Vermeil told the Kansas City Star of Reid, who coached The University of Missouri’s offensive line from 1989 through 1991. “He’s been in middle America before and knows what the people are like. He knows how I feel about it. He’s been in that stadium. He kicked my rear … when we were ahead 18-0 … and he knows how the fans are there, and how that Arrowhead Stadium is when it’s full.
“And he knows the great respect and admiration people in the NFL have for the Hunt family, so why not go? There are no negatives.”
Job one for Reid will be to solve the Chiefs’ quarterback position. With veteran Matt Cassel due to make $7.5 million in base salary in 2013, and backup Brady Quinn not really an option as a starter, Reid will have several different options. The Chiefs have the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, which also gives Reid the best pick in the second round, where most of the top end of this year’s quarterback class seems to reside at a pure talent level. He could bring Michael Vick from Philadelphia, try and see what could be salvaged with Cassel, or put a rookie in the barrel as he did with Nick Foles last season after Vick got hurt.