Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy took a lateral position with the Washington Commanders. He might not be the only departure.
Eric Bieniemy’s decision may seem like a lateral one at first, but given the limitations he dealt with in Kansas City, he was never going to get a chance at a head coaching gig — at least not until Andy Reid retired. Now, Bieniemy controls his own destiny, especially if he can succeed with Sam Howell at quarterback.
Bieniemy had been on a series of one-year deals with the Kansas City Chiefs. If he bombed at any point, Brett Veach and Co. could cut ties. Coaching under Reid’s umbrella didn’t help matters, as he wasn’t given free reign of the offense. When the Chiefs succeeded, either Reid got the credit, or it went to Patrick Mahomes. Bieniemy wasn’t on the receiving end of that praise, unless it was from Reid or Mahomes.
The court of public opinion is a powerful influence, and it’s about time Bieniemy got on the right side of that argument. FanSided’s John Buhler perhaps described it best:
"“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.”"
Bieniemy could speed up the transition by bringing some familiar faces with him to Washington. Who might follow in free agency?
Chiefs free agents who could follow Eric Bieniemy: Orlando Brown Jr.
Orlando Brown Jr. and the Chiefs have mutual interest in a reunion. Brown just won a Super Bowl in Kansas City, and was a key member of an offensive line which did not give up a sack to the vaunted Philadelphia Eagles defensive line.
Kansas City would likely use the franchise tag on Brown Jr. before letting him leave, especially to go to Washington. Andy Reid commented on how much they value Brown, and several other free agents, heading into the offseason.
“Those guys obviously had good years for us,” Reid said. “All these contract things I haven’t gotten with (General Manager Brett) Veach on at all. I kind of stay out of that world, but I think both guys are very well-liked here and I’m sure that Brett will surely make a strong attempt to keeping them here, but we’ll see how that goes.”
The franchise tag would pay Brown just under $20 million. Assuming it’s the exclusive rights tag, Brown would have much of a choice — he’ll have to either play in KC or hold out. And by all accounts, he seems to like playing on the Chiefs.
So this is less likely at the moment. Were Brown Jr. to become available in any way, shape, or form, he’d be an excellent fit in Bieniemy’s scheme, just as he would anywhere.