Is Cowher A Candidate To Join Chiefs?

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With the flurry of activity in recent days from teams firing General Managers and Head Coaches, the Kansas City Chiefs have been quiet. But we're told that's about to change and an old friend of the franchise appears to be a potential target. But will the Chiefs get him?

Two weeks ago we told you that former Chiefs Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer might be acting as a consultant of sorts for Clark Hunt. That appears to be the case as Schottenheimer verified that on his radio show this week.

Warpaint Illustrated has also learned that those conversations may have led directly to former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher. Per that league source, Hunt and Cowher could discuss the Chiefs opening in the next day or two, if they have not already, in regards to his interest level about returning to the Chiefs.

But at what capacity would he return?

Per our league source, Cowher, who turned down the Cleveland Browns job on Saturday evening and the New York Jets job on Tuesday, wants absolute power. We're told that if Cowher returns to the NFL, he'd serve as both General Manager and Head Coach.

Hunt, knowing he needs to hit a home run in the GM sweepstakes, faces a tough challenge and we think an impossible one of luring Cowher away from his family and the CBS broadcast booth in 2009. Per an acquaintance of Cowher's, who spoke with our sister site Jets Confidential Tuesday evening, he turned down a $10 million per year offer in 2007 from Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

But getting past the money for a moment, Cowher's hesitancy with the Browns is understandable according to our league source. He, like many who may be interested in their coaching vacancy, is worried about the dysfunctional nature of the organization at the moment. Owner Randy Lerner has run his team into the ground with one bad decision after another.

It's hard to see why Cowher would hesitate to take the Chiefs head coaching job when you consider the young talent on board, the $30 million-plus in cap space, and the rabid fan base.

Meanwhile, the Browns only have four draft picks in 2009, plus a mess at quarterback. Their top offensive players, wide receiver Braylon Edwards and tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr, have been a distraction in the locker room and off the field. The Browns also have a slew of roster bonuses to pay out in March.

Also, Romeo Crennel, who was fired as head coach on Monday, is still in his office and there's talk he could stay on as Cleveland's defensive coordinator. However, Lerner interviewed former New York Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini on Tuesday about replacing Crennel.

Early Tuesday morning, Cowher was approached by New York Jets Owner Woody Johnson to become Head Coach, but turned down the offer. That's primarily because Johnson would not fire Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, who Johnson views as a mainstay in the organization.

Even with all those demands, the bottom line issue to lure Cowher will boil down to money. But according to Cowher's associate, even though he's more than willing to talk to NFL owners as a courtesy this year, he doesn't anticipate that anyone can get him to coach in the NFL this year.

Complicating matters in Cleveland and Kansas City is the fact that New England Patriots V.P. of Player Personnel Scott Pioli has agreed to meet with Hunt, but only after he interviews for the vacant GM job in Cleveland.

From our source in Cleveland, Lerner is reluctant to give Pioli absolute power because he gave that to ousted GM Phil Savage and former Browns head coach Butch Davis. But we're told Lerner is willing to meet Pioli's asking price of $6 million per season to leave New England. That could be the primary factor even though the Browns' situation is an absolute mess.

Regardless, Lerner and Pioli are expected to sit down and discuss the Browns opportunity on Wednesday. That leaves little time for the Chiefs to make their pitch for Pioli but at least they have permission from the Patriots to speak with him about their own GM opening. But nobody is sure that meeting will ever take place.

Even if Pioli agrees to take over the Browns or Chiefs, Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is likely going to match any offer to convince Pioli to stay in New England. The trump card in that scenario might be Pioli's desire to captain his own ship and his preference is clearly to do that in Cleveland and not in Kansas City.

Per our NFL source, who spoke with Warpaint Illustrated Tuesday evening, it would be "shocking" if the Browns yielded to Pioli's demands and he didn't accept what he considers his dream GM job before the week is out.

So where does that leave the Chiefs?

Hunt is going after the big players on the market and it remains to be seen if he can land them or not. It does show the rest of the NFL and other potential candidates that Hunt means business and he's serious about bringing in the best people possible to build his organization into a winner.

What does all this mean for current Chiefs Head Coach Herm Edwards? It probably doesn't bode well for his immediate future.

However, if Hunt is unable to get a heavy hitter to run his organization, he'd likely have to give Edwards a one-year contract extension so he could make some much needed changes within his coaching staff. Right now Edwards is in complete limbo and all he can do is wait for Hunt to make a decision about the future.

The good news is that if Cowher and Pioli pass, there are more options. In that event, Hunt likely will go after Indianapolis Colts Assistant GM Chris Polian.

Other Chiefs Notes;

Terry Bradway - Per a league source, former Chiefs Director of College Scouting Terry Bradway would entertain any offers from Kansas City to return to the organization either as the General Manager or as the Director of Scouting.

Mike Shanahan - With Pat Bowlen firing his longtime head coach Tuesday, you'd have to think Hunt would have an interest in Shanahan. He's still a great coach, and if Edwards is not part of Hunt's future, what better coach to hire than one from your archrivals? It's doubtful Shanahan will be out of work for long and if Cowher passes on the Jets and the Chiefs, which we fully expect to happen, Shanahan will be a hot topic in New York, Kansas City, Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland.

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