It has long been assumed that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy would become a head coach in 2021, but there is some newfound doubt that it will actually happen.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, there is a growing sense in league circles that Bieniemy could but shut out again despite interviewing with five teams – the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers and New York Jets.
Florio noted that because the Chiefs are likely to make a deep playoff run again, Bieniemy cannot be hired until the team is no longer in the playoffs – which could steer teams toward another candidate unless they view him as a clear-cut answer.
Bieniemy is also saying privately that he wants to stay with the Chiefs until he finds the perfect situation, per Florio.
There are certainly some attractive situations among the teams he interviewed with -- the Jaguars hold the No. 1 overall pick (although their eyes appear to be on Urban Meyer) and the Los Angeles Chargers are situated with a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert.
Bieniemy has been viewed by many fans as a potential head coach since Patrick Mahomes burst onto the scene three years, but critics point to the fact that Andy Reid is the primary offensive play-caller -- although Bieniemy is sometimes seen with the play sheet in his hands.
Bieniemy is also an important coaching candidate because of the lack of diversity among NFL head coaches. If teams pass over Bieniemy for a third consecutive year, it will only further raise questions about the Rooney Rule and whether or not there is a systemic issue within the league that is preventing minority coaches from being hired.
Meanwhile, a return to Kansas City may start to present an internal problem within the coaching staff. Per Florio, quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Kafka is next in line for the offensive coordinator job but will need to continue to wait in the weeds while Bieniemy holds the position.