Rating the Chiefs GM Search
By Nick Athan
After the sudden firing of General Manager, John Dorsey last week, the Kansas City Chiefs find themselves searching to fill his vacancy during a time the NFL is generally on vacation. Though we outlined some potential candidates, after his ouster last week, it appears the Chiefs are looking for a more youthful General Manger, rather than a seasoned veteran. So, who are the guys atop the wish list?
Brett Veach (Chiefs Co-Director of Player Personnel) – When Chris Ballard departed for the Indianapolis Colts this past spring, the Chiefs promoted Brett Veach and Mike Borganzi as co-Directors of Player Personnel. the reigns once occupied by Ballard. In hindsight, it probably takes two people to do the job that Ballard did while serving the singular role in Kansas City over the past three years.
To me, Veach is the better fit over Borganzi, who we hear isn’t a strong candidate to become the Chiefs next General Manager. Veach, however, at 39-years of age, fits the mold of the youth movement the current Chiefs roster has undertaken, and his hire might be the best regarding team continuity moving forward.
Veach interviewed for the Buffalo Bills General Manager slot earlier this spring but didn’t get the gig. However, much like Ballard, he’s an up and comer, who if the Chiefs don’t make him a GM after the interview process, will likely be someone who will get his shot over the next couple of years to direct his own team. He also has a connection to Head Coach, Andy Reid during his tenure at the Eagles.
Ryan Cowden (Titans Director of Player Personnel) – After spending 16 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, he relocated his talents to the Tennessee Titans in 2016. He began his career as an area scout before ascending to his current position with Tennessee. The 39-year-old is still young regarding NFL standards but he’s a solid personnel man and evaluator of talent. However, I don’t think he’ll get the job.
Scott Fitterer (Seahawks Director of Player Personnel) – Of all the candidates on the reported wish list, this is my pick to become the next Chiefs General Manager. At 43, years of age, Fitterer has spent 16 years developing his scouting and personnel talents with the Seahawks. The fact, his current boss, John Schneider, has set the gold standard for every NFL General Manager, makes Fitterer’s readiness to become a GM could be fortuitist timing for the Chiefs. He’s simply ready to run his own show and Kansas City would be lucky to get him.
Louis Riddick (ESPN NFL Analyst) – The 48-year-old spent five seasons with Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid in Philadelphia, ascending his career from scout in 2008 to director of Pro personnel in 2010. He spent four years in that capacity until Chip Kelly came into Philly and blew out the personnel side of the organization. Riddick was also a semi-finalist for the San Francisco 49ers General Manager slot that eventually went to John Lynch. So far, the early returns of the Lynch era in San Francisco have been promising. He certainly has the edge but I’m not getting the vibe he wants back into the GM fray.
In Summary, it’s clear the Chiefs want a younger GM much like Lynch. Part of the reason Chairman, Clark Hunt jettisoned (mutually or otherwise), John Dorsey, was in large part to his antiquated ideas and stubborn exterior that was too old school for his tastes. The other issue Hunt must consider is how involved will Reid be in future personnel matters?
Numerous times during the Dorsey tenure, Reid had to step into the GM fray assisting Dorsey in smoothing out the rough edges in negotiations with star defenders, Justin Houston and Eric Berry. Dorsey was known to be abrasive with agents, but on the flip side that’s not always a bad thing. However, Reid, was growing frustrated with Dorsey’s draft day dealings in the past. With some urging, pushing and strong suggestions in April, Dorsey to his credit, was far more aggressive maneuvering in the 2017 draft to get some top college talent for Reid’s roster.
Still, Reid has his future locked up, agreeing to a five-year extension last week, so I can’t see he’ll need to crash the GM party, provided the Chiefs hire a top cap man to assist the new GM, with any of these young candidates. However, the two will have to work closer regarding purging and shaping the future of this roster as they get set for their reboot in 2018. As I’ve stated before, the Chiefs roster next year will be void of players with big contracts such as Allen Bailey, Alex Smith, Tamba Hali and likely Derrick Johnson, as they shift to a younger group on that side of the ball – much like the offense.
Thus, anything the Chiefs do in 2017, with a brutal schedule, will simply be a bonus as they begin a new era of Chiefs football next year under the right arm of Quarterback, Patrick Mahommes.
The bottom line whomever takes the GM gig in Kansas City will be walking into one of the better jobs in the NFL, but will be hampered by a limited salary cap to maneuver any additional veteran free agent signings for this coming season, something the Chiefs need to address at linebacker and wide receiver respectively before camp begins in late July. However, they will also be handicapped hiring their own personnel staff until after the 2018 draft is concluded.