2. Los Angeles Chargers
- Established general manager? Check.
- Young, star quarterback on a cheap, rookie deal? Check.
- Several outstanding wide receivers? Check.
- Several pillars on defense? Check.
- Offensive line that needs improvements? Check.
- Porous secondary? Check.
- Plays in a city (and stadium) that has a more popular team? Check.
- In the same division as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs? Check.
Justin Herbert is a stud. He totally surprised me this season by how well he played after the team’s trainer accidentally punctured Tyrod Taylor’s lung. (Ouch.) He damn nearly beat the Chiefs in his first start before breaking the rookie quarterback record for touchdown passes in a season (31) while adding another five on the ground. He finished second in passing yards by a rookie behind only Andrew Luck. And he set the rookie record for pass completions (396).
Bieniemy has done very well with another young gun quarterback, and by the time Bieniemy would work with Herbert, he would be further along in his professional career than was Mahomes.
Still, there are areas on the roster that need to be improved, and the Chargers really need to fix not only their special teams’ problems but also their issue with closing out games. And perhaps playing the same division as Mahomes and the Chiefs won’t be nearly as daunting for Bieniemy as it would be for some other head coach. After all, Bieniemy could take what he learned under Andy Reid and, to the Chiefs’ detriment, implement it in L.A.
The Chargers could very well become the Chiefs’ biggest intra-division threat for the next decade if they hired Bieniemy, who played for the team back in the ’90s.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Once Jaguars owner Shad Khan fired Doug Marrone, I wrote about how the Jacksonville job would be the best landing spot for Bieniemy. And I still think that, for numerous reasons.
The first is because the team owns the No. 1 draft pick. Most likely, they’ll use that on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence who is–ahem–a generational talent. Lawrence should transition to the pros more easily than the other available quarterbacks. But the Jags also have an additional 10 draft picks. Depending on who the team hires to run the show, those draft could be utilized in a variety of ways, including to group to trade up, or to trade down for even more capital, possibly for future drafts.
Like the Jets, the Jaguars also have a lot of money to spend–and a lot of holes to fill. Spent wisely, that cap space would be weaponized to quickly build a contender around the young Lawrence.
Lastly, Khan is a patient owner, so Bieniemy would get some time to build up this team. And if the Jaguars really want him, Bieniemy could also be heavily involved in whomever the team hires as its next general manager.
That GM-head coach partnership is paramount for rebuilding this club into a contender.
Where do you think is the best destination for Eric Bieniemy in 2021 and beyond?