Deal for Edwards A Work In Progress

Despite reports out of New York from WFAN radio that a deal is imminent that would clear the way for Herman Edwards to become the Chiefs 10th head coach, the Jets and Kansas City still have to bridge the gap on draft pick compensation that would appease both sides.

After Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach Bob Stoops officially announced that he's not a coaching candidate for NFL job late Wednesday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs turned their efforts to trying to secure the services of New York Jets Head Coach Herman Edwards.

Early Wednesday morning Denver sports radio personality Dino Costa broke the news that the Chiefs and Jets had worked out a deal and that Kansas City would hold a press conference on Friday to announce Edwards as their new head coach. That report triggered an avalanche of internet fodder and caused cellular phones to light up from the Midwest to the East coast.

In the end Costa's report might be true but as of Wednesday evening, the deal was still in a holding pattern somewhere over New York.

The question facing the Jets and the Chiefs is the actual status of Herman Edwards. The Chiefs position is simple. If the current Jets head coach is allowed to talk to other teams or he's going to be fired by the Jets as some have suggested, then technically Kansas City considers Edwards as someone who is or soon will be without employment.

Thus he technically could be free to negotiate with any team. That's how his agent, Gary O'Hagan feels. In fact O'Hagan is attempting to get a cash settlement from the Jets so his client can negotiate with any team but more importantly he's attempting to make up for the bad contract his client signed with another agent three years ago.

Which makes the Jets look even more foolish for allowing this saga to drag out since October when they could have settled this matter months ago.

On the other hand, the Jets position is he's not fired (yet) and they correctly point out that he has two years left on his contract, thus they can afford to play hard ball with his agent and the Chiefs.

But for the right price, they are more than willing to let Edwards walk to Kansas City. Even if Edwards quits, the Jets know they hold his rights for another two years.

This is where the fun begins.

Edwards has made it clear that (if he is going to stay in New York) he wants a contract extension and he wants to get paid as if the Jets consider him their long term head coach. As stated, Edwards has two years left on his current deal that will pay him a little more than $3 million. That's far below the current market value for experienced NFL head coaches. Especially one who has taken his team to the playoffs three out of the last five seasons.

In contrast on Tuesday afternoon, Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams signed a three year contract extension that will guarantee him $8 million.

What's wrong with this picture?

Daniel Snyder is willing to spend money while Jets owner Woody Johnson does not want to spend any of the money he inherited earlier in his life. That's his right.

At the core of the problem is the state of the Jets franchise. They are are owned by a trust fund baby, an architect and the General Manager who has ties to the enemy, that of course being the Kansas Chiefs. They can't win in this deal.

But despite that obvious fact, the Jets think they have the upper hand with their lame duck coach. In reality they don't. They appear willing to keep their unhappy coach under any circumstance rather than give in to the obvious play.

Edwards knows his future is not with the New York Jets and everyone agrees he's destined to be the Chiefs next head coach. Oh sure, Edwards can spew the company line to appease the media but NOT all of us are that stupid. Neither, to his credit, is Jets General Manager Terry Bradway. He's going to play the only hand he has.

So now Bradway, who is scheduled to address the media Thursday morning to wrap up the 2005 season, will instead be blitzed by the New York media about the ongoing tug-of-war between the Chiefs (not the sharks) and the Jets over fair compensation for the services of Edwards.

Bradway has more than likely been instructed by team owner Woody Johnson to ask for a pair of first day draft picks for Edwards. The Chiefs have offered a fifth and sixth round pick and the Jets are holding out for a fourth and a fifth but the Chiefs are not budging.

In the end, this deal will likely get done but it will take NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to get involved to settle the dispute.

The head of the most powerful sports enterprise on the planet does not want anything to interfere or distract the nation's number one television market before the start of the NFL playoffs that are set to begin this Saturday in of all cities New York. He does not want the focus to be on the coaching riff between these two teams, not in his backyard and not when the national spotlight is on his sport.

So if the Chiefs and the Jets can't get this deal done by themselves before Saturday morning, they'll turn this over to the commissioner and he'll likely make the final determination that will settle this off-the-field battle once and for all.

And when its all over, each side will claim victory. The Jets will have a new head coach (someone the fans won't like either) and the Chiefs will have the one man they truly wanted to succeed the recently retired Dick Vermeil.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories