Pioli Seeking New England Closure?

A recent report uncovered some of the names that Kansas City Chiefs Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt has apparently interviewed for KC's vacant general manager position in recent weeks, but there are still no hires. The Chiefs don't appear to be in a hurry to fill the position until they know for sure if Scott Pioli will accept their offer. So what's next?

Saturday morning Adam Schefter of the NFL Network divulged the following candidates for the KC job: Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli, Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye III, former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist, former Titans GM Floyd Reese and former Chiefs Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer.

We believe that Hunt may have also met with Tampa Bay Buccaneers Director of Player Personnel Mark Dominik and as soon as Sunday may have scheduled interviews with two Baltimore Ravens executives - Erik DeCosta, Director of College Scouting and George Kokinis, Director of Pro Personnel.

With the Ravens' 13-10 playoff upset victory over the Tennessee Titans Saturday, teams will now be allowed to interview candidates from Baltimore. Ravens' GM Ozzie Newsome informed teams earlier in the week that if the team won their playoff game, interviews could be conducted on Sunday provided the job was not a lateral move. Obviously the job in Kansas City would be a promotion for both DeCosta and Kokinis.

Decosta and Kokinis are two fast-rising names. Kokinis was expected to meet with Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner about their GM vacancy tomorrow, but we're told he's cooled on the Browns job and might stay in Baltimore. That could rule him out for the Chiefs as well unless he's like everyone else and simply does not want to get drawn into Lerner's circus.

But also per Schefter, the Chiefs clearly have Pioli as their number one candidate and are waiting for him to accept their offer or to continue negotiations. So which is it?

According to our league source, both options are accurate. There is no question Pioli has strong interest in the Chiefs job, but he's going to take his time in making a decision to leave New England.

The hold up, per our league source, is the fact Pioli may not have had a chance to sit down with Patriots Owner Bob Kraft and Head Coach Bill Belichick to discuss his future role with the team. Both were at Thursday's BCS National Championship game between Florida and Oklahoma.

Assuming a meeting with Kraft and Belichick happens early this week or has already taken place, Pioli will either get serious about the opportunity in Kansas City or get a strong indication from his superiors about his future with the Patriots.

Either way, regardless of what you've heard elsewhere, per our source, Pioli and Hunt have yet to agree on terms either in regards to money or power. But our source indicated both sides appear willing to compromise. However, until Pioli indicates he's willing to come to Kansas City, there is no reason for either poker player – Hunt or Pioli – to tip their hands just yet.

To us, that means these negotiations are far from over. However, our source had no insight over a reported rumor that the fate of Head Coach Herm Edwards was a sticking point in the negotiations. We don't believe that would be an issue, but it sounds like Hunt's decision – that he'd be the man with the final say when it comes to Edwards' future - still rests in his hands as it should.

Nobody knows for certain if Edwards is an issue for Pioli, but from the vibes we're getting there isn't any doubt that if he is, Pioli and Hunt will compromise on the matter.

The good thing is that Hunt isn't standing still in the interview process and will likely strike fast if Pioli rejects his offer. But it appears Pioli is still clearly the top candidate and Hunt is willing to give him the time he needs to leave the Patriots.

Lending even more credence to that fact is that the Boston Globe reported Saturday evening that the Chiefs and Pioli have intensified their talks and the possibility of a union looks strong.

Stay tuned to WarpaintIllustrated.com for more news on the Chiefs' GM search.

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