AFC West: Peterson resigns

Potential Peterson replacements

December, 16, 2008
12/16/08
8:34
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here is a list of some potential successors, in alphabetical order, to Carl Peterson in Kansas City as general manager:

Why: He knows the system well in Kansas City.

Why: Many in the league think the college draft standout is ready to run a team.

Why: Many people in the league think he's ready to be a star.

Why: He has been part of a good thing in Green Bay and he could get a long look.

Why: He has built teams in the past.

Why: Simple: He's the GM prize.

  • Floyd Reese, ESPN

Why: Former Titans general manager is a seasoned vet.

  • Ted Sundquist, former Denver general manager.

Why: His knowledge of the AFC West would be valuable.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Change is clearly on the way in Kansas City.

Carl Peterson is already out. Herman Edwards could be right behind him. Tyler Thigpen could behind them both, at least as the starter. Larry Johnson is likely gone, regardless of the upheaval in the front office.

Gonzalez

But one thing needs to remain the same in Kansas City: The Chiefs need to keep Tony Gonzalez. Forever.

That's the first instruction, after the naming of a likely Edwards successor, Chiefs ownership has to give the new general manager. The Chiefs can't say goodbye to Gonzalez. They need to make it work.

Gonzalez wanted to be traded to a contender at the October deadline and he was upset that he wasn't dealt. Earlier this month, the future Hall of Fame tight end said he wasn't sure what he wanted to do. But at 32, he knows he wants to be a part of a winner. He said he thought the Chiefs could be a playoff team next season with the right moves. He wants Thigpen to be the quarterback.

But that remains to be seen. Whatever happens, the new general manager has to make sure Gonzalez is part of the future. And not just for nostalgia or clinging to the past. The truth is, Gonzalez is still the best tight end in football. He is still a game changer. Gonzalez needs 16 catches in the Chiefs' final two games to have 100 receptions in a season for the second time in his 12-year career.

Kansas City needs Gonzalez on the field. Through all the change, he needs to be the constant.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

For many Chiefs fans, Monday's announcement that Carl Peterson will not return next season as general manger was met with celebration. Many folks in Kansas City saw it as the Chiefs' third victory this season. It was one win that wasn't blown.

 
 Mike Powell/Getty Images
 Quarterback Joe Montana was one of the star players Carl Peterson brought to Kansas City.

But don't forget the legacy. Peterson, who was hired nearly 20 years ago, wasn't always a villain in Kansas City. Sure times are tough now and, yes, the Chiefs have won just two of their last 23 games.

But Peterson did some good. He brought in Marty Schottenheimer. He brought in Joe Montana. He brought in Derrick Thomas. He brought in Tony Gonzalez. He brought in Larry Johnson (and, yes, that was a good thing at the time). He brought the playoffs back to Kansas City.

There was some good. Yes, much of it was in the past. And that's why this move is for the best.

It was certainly time. It would have been nice for Peterson to last through next season as he planned before retiring. But retirement plans in the NFL aren't often voluntary. The Chiefs are down -- way down. The city doesn't believe in them anymore and change at the top is necessary.

Peterson needed to go for sure. There is an adage in the NFL that a football marriage shouldn't last more than 10 years. Peterson and the Chiefs doubled that lifespan. It was time for a divorce. The Chiefs needed to move on.

But as they march forward, Chiefs fans, as they revel in the change, should remember the Peterson days weren't always bad.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

With the announcement that Carl Peterson will be out as the czar of the Chiefs, effective at the end of season, many fans are envisioning Bill Cowher taking over as coach and general manger. Could it happen? Sure. A lot could happen so Chiefs fans should allow themselves to think big as the worm turns in Kansas City for the first time in 19 years.

Here's another thought: And it might be bigger than the Cowher double-dip, it's a New England triple-dip.

Perhaps Kansas City should pursue Patriots personnel guru Scott Pioli. He could then in turn hire New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as head coach. McDaniels could then sway free agent quarterback Matt Cassel to Kansas City.

Think about it; it makes sense. The Chiefs have the GM opening and it is clear that person will likely bring in his own coach. And a new GM and new coach could want a new quarterback. Pioli and McDaniels would want a new quarterback to have some familiarity with their system. The Pioli-McDaniels-Cassel three-some is possible.

I'm not saying it will happen. But it would be a power move by Kansas City.

Pioli will surely be hot again this offseason. He's always hot. Thus far, he has been reluctant to leave New England and he would be the toughest part of this puzzle to convince to leave the Patriots. But the Kansas City job will be coveted. Perhaps Pioli will be in intrigued.

McDaniels will likely feel he is ready for a head job this offseason. Cassel will likely leave New England for starter's riches. He and McDaniels are close. Both men would likely be comfortable continuing to work together.

It is debatable if Kansas City needs to invest in a quarterback rather than a defensive end in free agency, but with a front-office change in Kansas City already afoot, Tyler Thigpen's chances to be the Chiefs' starter diminish with a new regime coming in.

So Cassel could be in play in Kansas City. This New England reunion makes sense, that's all I'm saying. It would certainly be a big splash and Kansas City definitely needs some excitement as a new era is about to begin.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Monday's announcement that general manager Carl Peterson will resign, effective the end of this season, essentially means the Chiefs will have a completely new look.

 
 AP Photo/Ed Zurga
 Carl Peterson's resignation from a 2-12 Chiefs team came a day after it blew an 18-point, second-half lead to AFC West rival San Diego.

The word around the Chiefs' headquarters Monday night after Peterson, who was planning to retire after next season, made his announcement was that the team will definitely hire someone outside the organization and that the new general manager will make the decision on who the coach will be in 2009. The feeling in Kansas City is that coach Herm Edwards is now a short timer.

Owner Clark Hunt said at his news conference Monday evening that he will make the final call on whether Edwards is back. It is public knowledge that hunt likes Edwards, but he can't like the Chiefs' 2-12 record and the fact that they have blown late leads in five of the past eight games, the worst being a stunning home loss to San Diego on Sunday. The Peterson announcement Monday wasn't a coincidence of timing.

Something had to be done, especially with all of those empty seats at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. The Peterson move was the first step. The Edwards move will likely be the next step.
Every new GM wants to bring in his guy. The old coach is rarely ever kept. I'd suspect that will be the case in Kansas City.

The chain reaction could reach the quarterback position. Because Tyler Thigpen is a spread-offense specialist, if the new regime in Kansas City doesn't like that approach, then it will be looking for a new quarterback as well. This will all play out after the final two weeks of the regular season, which will now be known as the final two weeks of the Peterson era, which began in 1989 in Kansas City.

This long-occupied post will be plenty attractive to potential successors.

The Chiefs are renovating Arrowhead Stadium, which should help revenue streams and, in turn, help with signing bonuses. The team has great history. It's a small town where the Chiefs rule. The AFC West is not overly strong so a turnaround could be quick, especially with a decent, young nucleus already in tow. Hunt has a reputation for being progressive and supportive.

This will be heavily sought after position in January. Being the head Chief in Kansas City comes with a lot of perks, likely starting with finding your own new head coach.

Indeed, Monday's announcement appears to be just the beginning of the changing of the guard in Kansas City.

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