Chiefs rumors: These 3 factors forced Eric Bieniemy to leave Kansas City

Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Eric Bieniemy is leaving the Kansas City Chiefs after 10 years for the Washington Commanders.

Despite having been synonymous with the Andy Reid run in Kansas City, Eric Bieniemy has opted to head back east to the nation’s capital.

Bieniemy interviewed with the Washington Commanders for the offensive coordinator gig, got it and will be heading to the DMV to work for Ron Rivera now. Rivera is a former Reid assistant from their Philadelphia days, but there is more to this lateral move for Bieniemy than one would think. To understand why he is leaving the Kansas City Chiefs after winning the Super Bowl is complex.

This is all about getting out from behind the massive shadow Reid casts as an offensive-minded genius so that Bieniemy can finally get his opportunity to become an NFL head coach. Frankly, he should have never had to do this, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And to be quite honest, going to a decent team like Washington is the ideal spot for him to prove everyone wrong.

Here is what went into Bieniemy leaving the AFC West behemoth for dysfunction in the NFC East.

Why did Eric Bieniemy leave Kansas City Chiefs for Washington Commanders?

For the five previous seasons, Bieniemy served as Reid’s offensive coordinator. He had been Reid’s running backs coach the five years before that. Despite being promoted from within, Bieniemy never got the shine other Reid offensive disciples often did, mostly because he was not a former quarterbacks coach and not known for calling plays. That was always Reid’s thing in Kansas City.

For the better part of his time as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Bieniemy was seen as a viable head-coaching candidate. He got interviews for those type of jobs three offseasons in a row during the postseason portion of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 NFL seasons. Sadly, he did not get a team of his own to lead. He was not seen as a candidate to lead any of the teams with vacancies.

While up until recently, Bieniemy had a bad reputation of not interviewing well. That may have cost him a gig in the past, but far less qualified candidates have gotten opportunities, many of whom were completely over their skis as NFL head coaches. Regardless, Bieniemy is a two-time Super Bowl champion offensive coordinator, ready to bet on himself to get what he really wants.

Not only is Bieniemy getting out of Reid’s shadows, he gets to unabashedly call plays in Washington, as Rivera is a defensive-minded head coach. Should he succeed in Washington, Bieniemy will get way more credit than he ever got, or would get in Kansas City … because of Reid. He had been in five-straight one-year deals as the Chiefs offensive coordinator. Let that sink in…

Bieniemy will also add the title of assistant head coach to his resumé in Washington, which should only help matters as he chases a head coaching gig. That, along with the security of a multiyear deal AND the chance to call plays for the Commanders was too much to turn down for Biniemy.

While that kind of relationship may have served both parties in the end, Bieniemy never had a buyout in his Chiefs coordinator contract. If he bombed at any point, the Chiefs could have cut ties with him and not felt the financial ramifications for it. These one-year deals always suggested that Bieniemy would be in the mix to lead his own team in due time, or potentially take a lateral move.

To be totally honest, this is not a lateral move. It is his time to shine. It is his turn to run the show. Should the Commanders command our attention and make the NFC playoffs, we are probably looking at the next head coach of a bad NFL franchise in dire need of some spark offensively. There is also one other huge factor in this for Bieniemy beyond creative control and a buyout…

With ownership in flux, one would think whoever buys the team from Daniel Snyder will want their own guy. You are looking at potentially a true coaching free agent in Bieniemy if Rivera’s staff is axed. Heck, he might even be a possible candidate to be promoted from within … to head coach. Regardless, Bieniemy still left football paradise to carry this boulder-sized chip on his shoulders.

NFC East biases aside, it is safe to say that all third parties are rooting for Bieniemy to get his.

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