We're told Pioli might be there to support Clark Hunt, who will present the Lamar Hunt AFC Championship Trophy, to the winner of Sunday's game between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now this is interesting. One Pioli rarely travels with Hunt. Secondly, it's my belief and those of my sources, that Pioli and Hunt might be interviewing a potential candidate to the coaching staff after the game. There is continued buzz that both Jets Quarterback Coach Matt Cavanaugh and Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, could be of interest to the Chiefs.
Now I'm told that Marty's Son would not leave the Jets for a lateral move. So that leads to some curious speculation that he could be in line for another job in KC - one that has yet to open up.
However, Cavanaugh is another story. There are some in league circles that feel that he's ready for a promotion. He was the offensive coordinator when the Ravens won the Super Bowl after the 1999 season and his Patriot history could help him land a job in Kansas City.
But either way the Chiefs ultimately go in their search for a new offensive coordinator, according to my spies, the team will have a new one in place in the next week or so. However keep this in mind, ultimately the new hire will have to receive the blessing of Pioli. I can't see any scenario where Pioli lets Haley be Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator like he did back in 2009.
If that's the case, then it's safe to assume that Pioli is going to let Haley sink or swim on his own in 2011. And should he struggle early next season, Haley could find his head-coaching seat very hot in Kansas City.
2. Will Larry Fitzgerald be in KC in 2011? - I don't expect the Chiefs to get a shot at Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He and the team have narrowed the gap in contract talks that could be announced once the NFL and the Players break bread on a new Labor Deal sometime in the next month. The contract extension according to my spies has guarantees in the $60-65 million range. Though he'd like to play elsewhere, the Cardinals are making him a top priority to rebuild their image as being a team that is too cheap and unwilling to pay to retain it's superstars.
Looks like Fitzgerald might become the richest wide receiver in NFL history.
The silver lining for Chiefs fans in this move is that fellow Cardinals receiver, Steve Breaston, is likely to become an unrestricted free agent in March. With his previous relationship with Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley, he could be a prime candidate to land in Kansas City at the onset of free agency.
Though he's had an injury plagued career to this point, the former 1,000 yard receiver could elevate the Chiefs passing game in 2011. Provided the Chiefs don't trade receiver Dwayne Bowe in the offseason, which I'm told is still a possibility, the addition of Breaston could provide the down the field threat that this offense sorely lacks.
Still his signing could be risky. In four seasons, he has only seven career touchdowns but this past year in eleven games he averaged 15.3 yards per catch. And that more than anything, could be the one thing that makes him so attractive to the Chiefs.
3. What's Ahead for KC in March? - Speaking of free agency. I'm told that Kansas City isn't likely going to sit on the sidelines at the onset of the March spectacular. Normally the Chiefs are on the outside looking in when it comes to opening up the Brinks trucks to land future stars on opening night. The Chiefs have one of the lowest payrolls in the NFL and come March that could significantly change.
Super Agent Drew Rosenhaus represents some of the NFL's best free agent wide receivers.
On Monday, NFL General Managers and the games top NFL agents will ascend on Mobile Alabama for the start of Senior Bowl week. And this is the time that parameter conversations take place in regards to the dollars that could be had or more direct what it will cost NFL teams to land some of the best 2011 free agents. Though there can be neither formal contract discussions nor deals agreed upon, the Senior Bowl really is the unofficial start of free agency.
We're told that Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli plans on talking to a few of them this week. One of them might be, Drew Rosenhaus, who has a long list of wide receiver clients in his portfolio and that might be where the Chiefs start their offseason moves.
Per our sources, outside of the receivers' position, the Chiefs are going to look at linebacker, cornerback and defensive line to boost their starting lineup in 2011.
4. Defense Could Be Teams Top Pick - The Kansas City Chiefs scouting department spent a considerable amount of time during the College season perusing the defensive tackle position. It's my belief that with the depth so deep at the position, that the Chiefs could be leaning toward nabbing one of the top interior defensive tackles in April's draft.
North Carolina Defensive Tackle Marvin Austin has the Chiefs attention at the East West Shrine Game.
Getty Images/Streeter Lecka
However, based on the fact that they'll be picking in the bottom third of the first round, it's going to be interesting to see if one of their top players slides down to that spot.
In the first two rounds alone as many as six or even eight of the top defensive tackles could land on NFL rosters. And the list of potential game changing interior lineman is quite impressive.
Auburn's Nick Farley in my view is the premier player in this draft and it's likely he'll be the top overall pick of the Carolina Panthers. But there are others who could impact 2011 rosters like Marcell Dareus (Alabama), Stephen Paea (Oregon State), Corey Liuget (llinois), Drake Nevis (LSU), Jarvis Jenkins (Clemson), Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple), Phil Taylor (Baylor), Jerrell Powe (Ole Miss) and Marvin Austin (North Carolina).
It's likely when the Chiefs are on the clock that Dareus and Paea will be gone so that leaves Liuget and Nevis as the best of the rest. However, should the Chiefs wait until the second round to find their 2011 starting defensive tackle, they might be able to land Taylor, Powe or even Austin in the third round.
Chiefs scouts have spent some time with Austin at the East West Shrine game this weekend, so he's certainly a name to keep an eye on over the next couple of months.
5.Is Labor Peace on the Horizon? - There's been a lot of gloom and doom over the perceived nature that there will be a lockout in the NFL come March. According to my sources, there has been some progress made on a couple of the key items that have kept the two sides apart.
NFL Labor Peace might be closer to resolution than some people think.
One the players seem to be ok with two of the benchmarks the owners are demanding. Those are a rookie wage scale, similar to what is in place with the NBA and the 18-game regular season schedule.
On the flip side, the players, because of the expanded regular season would likely see NFL rosters expand from 53 to 58 players. And on game days, the active players could increase from 45 to 50. That would be something that the coaches would love to see. It would also insure that another five players on each NFL team would become full time players.
And lastly its possible that the NFL's practice squad could also rise from eight to ten members.
It does appear that both sides finally understand the need to increase benefits not only to the current rank and file but also to the former greats who made the game the sport it is today. Both sides are willing to offer up more money to increase benefits, including medical and other financial assistance, to players that have been hit hard by the brutality of the sport that they built into the premier gladiator sport of the 21st century.
And looking into my own Crystal Ball, I would NOT be shocked if an announcement is made prior to the Super Bowl that there has been enough progress in talks between the two sides, that puts everyone at ease. That should settle the waters within the players union, the NFL offices and ultimately within the leagues passionate fan base that does not want to see a lockout.
With so much money at stake, especially the new $2 Billion television package with ESPN/ABC that was reported a few weeks ago, there is simply enough money to satisfy all parties.
In the end, both sides will figure out a way to divide it all up.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Why is Pioli traveling to Pittsburgh this weekend?