Clark Hunt has not changed his haircut in decades and is never seen in anything less than smart casual business attire but is now as predictable as a squirrel running across the street.
Here’s an attempt to predict him, anyway.
The Chiefs owner will promote Brett Veach to general manager.
Let’s put it another way, too: the Chiefs owner should promote Veach to GM.
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Part of this is Veach’s own reputation. He has been, basically, the front office’s No. 3 personnel man. So this would be a jump. But personnel folks around the league are unanimous in their praise. The Bills made him a candidate for their own GM opening recently.
Veach spent six years with Andy Reid in Philadelphia before coming to Kansas City, where he’s been an important part of building one of the league’s best and deepest rosters. He also played college ball with quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy.
Mike Borgonzi, who currently shares the title of co-director of player personnel with Vetch, would carry many of the same positives.
But, really, promoting from within makes — by far — the most sense.
The Chiefs’ ability to attract the best outside candidates is crippled, in part because of the unprecedented timing and nature of firing a GM in late June after the franchise’s best four-year run in two decades.
The excellent Terez Paylor got into the timing challenge, but basically teams will be much more willing to block interviews with training camp so close. We may have already seen that with the Vikings’ George Paton, though the Chiefs are talking with other outside candidates — including Tennessee director of player personnel Ryan Cowden and Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer.
But the Chiefs have also made their own job less attractive than it otherwise should be. Any outside candidate will and should demand to know as much as possible about what happened with John Dorsey. Whether it was a breakdown in contract negotiations, sensitivity by others in football operations about Dorsey’s style, Reid pushing for a change, or something else, the best candidates are going to need to be comfortable.
Also, if you believe that humans make decisions largely from self-interest and incentives, the Chiefs job holds some grander downsides.
At the moment, the Chiefs have a solid and mostly young roster. The quarterback of the future has just been drafted. Other than a bad cap situation that can be improved relatively simply in a year or two, there isn’t a lot for the new GM to do.
If the Chiefs get to or win an AFC Championship game in the next few years, a GM hired from the outside isn’t getting the credit. Andy Reid will, and really, if postseason progress is done with the current roster, then Dorsey will take a share of what’s leftover.
We can all pretend that kind of thing doesn’t matter, but it does, particularly in a high-stakes business like professional football.
Hunt will do his best to squash the concerns any candidate would have about what just happened to the guy they’d replace, and it’s entirely possible that he had a reason that would make the right new hire comfortable.
He knows that will have to be part of the interview process, because anyone willing to take the job without knowing more of the story is not someone he’d want to hire. At the very least, a candidate is going to be curious about how much actual control he’d have over personnel with Reid in place and presumably at least OK with Dorsey’s firing.
But Hunt can’t do anything about a GM who may want to be in a place where he can have more of an impact.
This feeds the momentum toward Veach, from both sides.
For Veach, the reasons are obvious. He would be among the youngest general managers in the NFL, having started as an intern less than a decade ago. He wouldn’t have the same concern about credit, or control, because he’s been an important part of the building for four years here and a football worldview that was fundamentally shaped by Reid.
For the Chiefs, it could be their best way to maintain at least some stability after an offseason in which they’ve already lost their top two personnel men and two other key employees.
Every team in the league preaches the draft, in part because it’s the best way to build culture and cohesion in a roster. The same can be applied to the front office.
The Chiefs should search as wide as they can. It’s an important hire. Even if Hunt intends to promote Veach, talking to others could be validation of Veach’s strengths, and it can’t hurt to hear ideas from the outside.
The mere idea that the Chiefs are searching for a new general manager after the last four years is a shock to many inside the organization, around the NFL, and Kansas City.
But the team is looking for stability, commitment to the organization, and a strong relationship with Reid, among other things.
The man who fits that description better than anyone has an office right down the hallway.