Chiefs Land Their Man

After months of speculation, rumors and conjecture, the New York Jets cancelled their year end press conference on Thursday morning thus fueling reports that they are officially searching for a new head coach. That's because their old coach Herman Edwards could be announced as the Kansas City Chiefs new head coach sometime in the next several days.

According to report from Fox Sports.com Jay Glazer the NFL has approved draft compensation between the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs that sets the stage that would allow the Chiefs to hire Herman Edwards.

The report indicates that the Kansas City Chiefs will send a 2006 4th round draft pick to the New York Jets for the rights to negotiate a contract with Herman Edwards agent Gary O' Hagan. Warpaint Illustrated has learned from a Chiefs official that if Kansas City and Edwards representatives can't work out a deal that the team would not be obligated to trade the fourth round pick to the New York Jets.

Edwards, who has two years remaining on his contract, reportedly settled the balance of his contract with the Jets after a heated exchange where he left the New York Jets complex on Thursday evening. Reportedly he told his coaching staff that he would no longer be coaching the Jets and informed several of his players. With that action the Chiefs and Jets began negotiations to settle compensation.

It's not known if the Jets or the Chiefs made concessions to resolve the balance of his contract or the Chiefs offered some financial concessions to swing the deal. Regardless, Edwards is expected to sign a new deal with the Chiefs that should tie him to Kansas City through the 2009 or 2010 season.

Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson has already interviewed a pair of potential head coaching including current offensive coordinator Al Saunders. He has also interviewed Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel this past Tuesday and was hoping to interview former Cleveland Browns Head Coach Butch Davis. Instead Thursday afternoon he met with Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks.

Another prospective candidate was Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach Bob Stoops but he withdrew his name from consideration for the Chiefs job and other NFL jobs late Wednesday afternoon. It is believed that Stoops and Peterson talked on Wednesday but the Oklahoma coach didn't show enough interest in the Chiefs job to jump to the NFL. Reports have surfaced that the only NFL job outside of the Chiefs he would consider is the one in Dallas. Stoops is rumored to be very good friends with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

As soon as Stoops was eliminated from the Chiefs prospective coaching list, they quickly turned to the Jets to try and secure the rights to Edwards. After some intense exchanges, showmanship and tough negotiations that spanned two days, the two sides finally worked out a deal. Though talks were heated at times, both sides understood that the best way to resolve the compensation conflict was to make sure that Edwards had an interest in the Kansas City job. After leaving the Jets complex last night, it was clear that the New York had to make the deal.

Edwards will take over for his friend and mentor Dick Vermeil who officially retired on Tuesday afternoon. In his final weekly press conference Vermeil told reporters that he thought Edwards deserved ‘Coach of the Year' honors for the way his team played in 2005 after facing one adversity after another.

Rumors of this deal began to surface early Wednesday afternoon when several news agencies picked up our report early Tuesday evening that the two sides began talking compensation for Edwards. But things really took flight when former New Orleans Saints Head Coach Jim Haslett was contacted by New York Jets officials about interviewing for a coaching position with the AFC East team.

It's not known what coaches Edwards will bring with him to Kansas City but one option is defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson. However, he's expected to interview with the New Orleans Saints this week. But a league source tells us that the interview with the Saints may be a token one and they believe he'll follow Edwards to Kansas City. The Jets are expected to interview current New York offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator to head coach Jim Fassel as soon as Friday. However it's possible that Edwards could bring both Heimerdinger and Henderson to Kansas City with him provided a contract gets worked out.

If Henderson comes to Kansas City; it's not known if he'll take a position job with the Chiefs or become the teams new defensive coordinator. Chiefs President Carl Peterson said Tuesday after Dick Vermeil's retirement press conference that the next head coach would choose his own staff.

That means current defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham might not get a new contract for 2006 and beyond nor could any of the other defensive coaches whose contract all run out at the end of January.

On offense it appears very unlikely that Al Saunders will return as the Chiefs offensive coordinator. Saunders has already interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings and will talk with the Houston Texans on Thursday and is scheduled to be in Detroit on Saturday for an interview with the Lions. It's believed that Saunders is the front-runner for the Detroit vacancy.

Peterson will likely suggest to Edwards that he keep both offensive line coach Mike Solari and quarterbacks coach Terry Shea. Each could also be a candidate to become the Chiefs next offensive coordinator. They above any two offensive coaches remaining from Dick Vermeil's staff understand the Chiefs high powered offense. It would be wise for Edwards to keep both coaches so the offense can maintain some continuity.

But with so many head coaching vacancies available in the NFL right now, it might take a month before Edwards can put together his own coaching staff in Kansas City.

For the Chiefs they were very diligent in their head coaching search and they stuck to their guns. They landed the coach they really wanted knowing they could pick and choose from any candidate. They each knew that the Chiefs job was the premier coaching gig in the NFL after the siege of Black Monday.

Now all Edwards has to do is take this talented team and get the most out of them every snap of the ball for sixteen regular season games.

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