01-07-2006, 07:10 AM

With two steps down, team and coach are negotiating contract Because Herman Edwards was under contract to the New York Jets, the Chiefs needed to make three deals to get their man:

The Kansas City Chiefs have cleared their last obstacle to hiring Herman Edwards as their next head coach.

President/general manager Carl Peterson agreed to send a fourth-round pick in this year’s NFL draft to the New York Jets for the 51-year-old Edwards, who had coached the Jets for five years and was still under contract. The terms were blessed by the league office on Friday, in effect sealing the deal.

All that’s left is the matter of a contract with Edwards, which the Chiefs consider to be a formality, and a news conference to introduce him. That was tentatively scheduled for Monday morning. The new deal is reported to be for five years and as much as $20 million.

In Edwards, the Chiefs will be getting a coach with many of the same qualities as newly retired Dick Vermeil. Edwards’ strengths are his skills as a communicator and motivator, and his ability to build strong relationships with players.

Edwards led the Jets to three playoff appearances in five seasons, although his career record of 39-41 was hurt by the Jets winning only four games this season. Edwards also acknowledged having problems managing a game, and he hired an assistant coach expressly to help with game-day functions such as strategic decisions and time management.

Regardless, a fourth-round draft pick is a small price to pay for a head coach. The Chiefs sent second- and third-round picks to the St. Louis Rams for Vermeil and received two third-rounders from Washington for the rights to former coach Marty Schottenheimer.

“It was some smart stuff by Carl and the Chiefs,” CBS television analyst Randy Cross said. “Giving up a fourth-round pick for a coach who has been to the playoffs three of the last five years is pretty good, particularly when you consider what some other teams had to give up in compensation for their coaches.

“For Kansas City, it’s a great deal. For New York, well, at least they got something out of the deal. For a while, it looked like they might not get anything.”

Edwards will be getting something, too — a nice raise. As one of the league’s lowest-paid coaches, he had two years remaining on a Jets contract that would have paid less than $4 million.

In New York, the Jets were in lockdown mode. The only peep was a short statement issued early in the afternoon from general manager Terry Bradway, who confirmed that the club had given Edwards permission to speak to the Chiefs.

“We will begin interviewing head coaching candidates immediately,” Bradway said.

No one answered the door Friday afternoon at Edwards’ house just outside of Hempstead, N.Y. A Chiefs official confirmed that Peterson had been on his way to New York earlier in the day. He declined to say where Peterson and Edwards would meet.

Back at the Jets training complex in Hempstead, it was quiet. Assistant coaches were gone or on break.

As word hit New York of the compensation deal Friday, it was met by both outrage and indifference. Popular local radio host Stephen A. Smith called it “disgraceful.” Others lashed out at Bradway, at team owner Woody Johnson and at Edwards, for not honoring the final years of his contract.

But the Jets had been backed into a corner once they began negotiations with the Chiefs over Edwards. At that point, they clearly could not retain him as coach.

On Thursday, as if to emphasize that point, Edwards cleaned out his office and left the Jets’ headquarters.

Friday’s developments capped a wild week that began with Vermeil’s emotional retirement after Sunday’s 37-3 season-ending win over Cincinnati at Arrowhead Stadium.

It continued with Peterson’s whirlwind job-interview tour: in Kansas City with Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders on Monday, in Baltimore with Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel on Wednesday, and in Indianapolis with Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks on Thursday.

Despite all the peripheral activity, there never appeared a doubt that Edwards would be Peterson’s guy. The two had begun their relationship in the 1970s when Peterson tried, unsuccessfully, to recruit Edwards to UCLA.

Later, while working in the personnel department for the Philadelphia Eagles, Peterson signed Edwards as a rookie cornerback. In 1990, he gave Edwards his first NFL administrative job as a scout with the Chiefs.

Edwards eventually became the Chiefs’ defensive backs coach before moving on to Tampa Bay. It was in 1999, when Peterson was looking for a coach to replace Schottenheimer, that he pushed Edwards into the elite circle of prominent candidates by granting him an interview.

Edwards was hired as head coach two years later by the Jets and Bradway, who also once worked for the Chiefs. But the signs pointed to the fact that someday Edwards would be coaching for Peterson.

“Carl gave me my first legitimate interview,” Edwards said in 2001. “Carl opened the door, as he did by signing me as a free agent in 1977. He’s opened a lot of doors for me.”

A defensive player and coach, Edwards brings a different philosophy to the Chiefs. His Jets played conservatively, relying mainly on what was, until this season, a strong running game and a solid defense.

Vermeil’s Chiefs played high-scoring, occasionally reckless games. Offense was emphasized, but the defense suffered.

In an interview this week, Peterson sounded like he was ready for a change.

“The hope and desire is to sustain the level of offense that we’ve played at for the last four years and continue to improve the defense,” he said. “That’s the goal. The special teams, same thing. We can and will improve on that.

“All of those things go into my thinking, very candidly, in the selection of the next head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.”

Edwards may decide to scale back the Chiefs’ high-powered offense. They have a young star in running back Larry Johnson, but are otherwise built around a collection of veteran players, including quarterback Trent Green, tight end Tony Gonzalez and offensive linemen Willie Roaf and Will Shields.

The Chiefs probably will move on without Saunders, who had two other head coaching interviews this week and was probably headed to Detroit over the weekend or early next week for another.

Any effort to change offensive tactics may meet with some resistance from the players.

“I can’t see it happening,” offensive tackle John Welbourn said. “With the guys we have like Trent, if it isn’t broken, why fix it? I imagine they’ll bring in somebody who will be along the same lines. This thing is running too well right now.”

01-07-2006, 09:24 AM
Good luck with Herm. Personally I liked him for the most part. I got a little frustrated with his "in-game" coaching. We made 3 playoff apprearances with him but all three we "backed-in". Hall kicked a 53 yard field goal to beat the Raiders in week 17 of 2001, The Patriots beat the Dolphins and we destroyed the Packers in week 17 of 2002 and all we needed to do was beat the 7-8 Rams last year but didn't. Luckily the Steelers beat the Bills in week 17 and we got in.

In short I think you got a really good coach with exceptional motivational skills. No doubts there. The biggest thing he needs to improve on like I said was is in game coaching ie clock managment, try to win the game as opposed to not lose the game (Pittsburgh 2004).

Best of luck to you guys

PS - Larry Johnson is unbelievable!!

01-07-2006, 09:55 AM
Herms contract will expire or be voidable when King Carl's contract expires