Chiefs Have Several Candidates For New GM

Colts V.P. Chris Polian / Getty Images

Monday evening the search for Carl Peterson's replacement as General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs began in earnest once Team Owner Clark Hunt ended his media tour. There are a plethora of candidates. Who are they?

In short order the interviews will start. There isn't any doubt that the job vacancy in Kansas City is an attractive one which should garner interest from several up-and-coming candidates.

Despite the poor play on the field, the Chiefs have talented young players and productive veterans that with a few additions, could be a .500 team or better in 2009.

Hunt will hire someone who has experience on the player personnel side, and that likely rules out what some fans want - former Chiefs Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Cowher.

So with those two men off the list at the moment, let's break down eight other candidates, plus a few other wild card names that would be solid hires.

1. Scott Pioli (V.P. Football Operations - New England Patriots)

He's the hottest name in the GM carousel this offseason. Pioli has already turned down offers from Seattle and Atlanta in recent years. Depending on who you speak with he's really a personnel guy, who reports directly to Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. Clearly that system has served them well. Even though the Patriots could end the season 11-5 and miss the playoffs, it only adds to the value that Pioli has brought to the organization.

However, for Hunt to lure Pioli away from the Patriots and keep him from heading to Cleveland to run the Browns, he's going to have to open the wallet. Pioli is an east-coast guy with ties to the Cleveland area, and will need major bucks to leave the Northeast and come to the heartland.

The good news for Chiefs fans who think this is a long shot is the fact one of Hunt's closest friends in the NFL ownership arena is Jonathan Kraft, the son of Patriots owner Bob Kraft. That relationship could bridge any hesitancy about Pioli taking over in Kansas City. Right now he's number one with a bullet for Hunt.

2. Ron Hughes (College Scouting Director - Pittsburgh Steelers)

He was the former V.P. Personnel Director of the Detroit Lions and was hired by the Steelers to handle the college scouting duties in 2002. He spent 18 years in Detroit and was credited for helping the Lions compete in the 90's when the team had Barry Sanders and Herman Moore.

Over the last seven years Hughes has been primarily in charge of building the Steelers drafts and was one of the only people in the organization who championed the cause to move up in the first round of the 2003 draft to grab USC safety Troy Polamalu. The team that made that swap was none other then the Kansas City Chiefs, who used that pick to draft Penn State running back Larry Johnson.

3. Doug Whaley (Pro Personnel Director - Pittsburgh Steelers)

He has worked closely with Hughes, and that might be one of the better personnel teams in all of the NFL. Whaley has spent 11 seasons with the Steelers and according to someone close to the team who spoke with Warpaint Illustrated, he'd like to move up the NFL food chain. However, a year ago he forwarded an e-mail that didn't exactly warm the hearts of the Steelers and the Commissioners office - it contained immoral photos. So that has been something that has held up his efforts towards obtaining a higher position in the NFL.

But if you can set that aside, you can't argue with his success as the Steelers are probably the most stable franchise in regards to developing a plan and staying on course. They have been shrewd in the draft and they've generally never allowed their roster to get old. They purge it whenever necessary and it's Whaley who has been in charge of rebuilding it every season.

4. Floyd Reese (NFL Network Analyst)

He spent 12 years as Titans GM and though he is currently lobbying for the job openly, he'd be a long shot at this point. he problem with Reese as a GM is that he has horrible cap management skills. He nearly bankrupted the Titans and only this year have they been in a position to free themselves of the numerous big time contracts that crippled the franchise. Reese would not be my first choice. Though he's experienced, Hunt should interview him and move on.

5. Tom Heckert (General Manager - Philadelphia Eagles)

In January of 2006 he was promoted from V.P. of Player Personnel to his current position. He's done an outstanding job with the Eagles but he's looking for a lateral move. The problem is that he does not have control over personnel. That belongs to Head Coach Andy Reid and that's a big point of contention for Heckert. He wants to be the man and he would have that in KC outside of the initial head coaching decision.

6. Chris Polian (V.P. Football Operations - Indianapolis Colts)

The issue for him is the fact his father Bill Polian is the President of the Colts. There isn't anyone who believes that the architect who built the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Colts into Super Bowl Contenders isn't going to turn the reins over to his son Chris at some point. But if he ever wants to move out of his father's shadow, heading to Kansas City would be a great opportunity for him to spread his wings. It would also serve as the best chance for Herm Edwards to retain his job.

7. Terry Bradway (Team Consultant/Scout - New York Jets)

After Herm Edwards left the Jets to join the Chiefs, Bradway stepped down as General Manager and was replaced by Mike Tannenbaum. What's significant about that move is that three years later, Bradway is considered the teams go to man in regards to evaluating college and free agent talent. However his previous tenure in Kansas City, where he served as Director of College Scouting for the Chiefs, might actually hurt his chances to be KC's GM. The fact no other team has offered him a GM job since he resigned in New York, leads me to believe many don't feel he deserves a second chance.

8. Mark Dominik (Director of Pro Personnel - Tampa Bay Bucs)

He spent two seasons under Marty Schottenheimer and Carl Peterson, but has had a plethora of roles with the Bucs and is generally regarded as one of the most valuable persons in their front office. I'd consider him a dark-horse candidate but the man has directed the game for 14 seasons in Tampa Bay and fits the type of potential GM who Hunt is looking for. I would not hold anything against him for his short stint in KC, because that was a long time ago.

Other Names:
1. Tom Telesco (Director of Player Personnel - Indianapolis Colts)
2. Kevin Abrams (Assistant General Manager - New York Giants)
3. Pat Moriarty (V.P. of Football Administration - Baltimore Ravens)
4. Todd Williams (Director of Pro Scouting - Dallas Cowboys
5. Bill Kuharich (V.P. Player Personnel - Kansas City Chiefs)
6. Reggie McKenzie (Director of Pro Personnel - Green Bay Packers)
7. Ron Labadie (Director of College Scouting - Miami Dolphins)
8. Kevin Colbert (Director of Football Operations - Pittsburgh Steelers)

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