Eric Bieniemy takes job with Commanders, while Chiefs could replace him quickly

·3 min read
Nick Wagner/

Update: The Washington Commanders announced Eric Bieniemy as their new assistant head coach/offensive coordinator on Saturday morning.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has a new job — though it’s still a step below where he ultimately wants to be.

Bieniemy, who has been with the Chiefs coaching staff the last 10 seasons, has signed a multi-year agreement to be the Washington Commanders’ offensive coordinator/assistant head coach, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Friday afternoon.

KC’s offensive coordinator position might not be open for long. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Chiefs quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy “quickly emerges as the top choice” to replace Bieniemy as OC. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo also reported Nagy “had interest from other teams in recent weeks but knew he was likely in line” for Bieniemy’s job if he left KC.

This continues Bieniemy’s years-long quest to become an NFL head coach, as he should get to run his own offense with Washington under defensive-minded head coach Ron Rivera.

Bieniemy spent his first five seasons with the Chiefs as running backs coach before he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018. Under his guidance, KC’s offense ranked first, third, second, third and first in the NFL according to advanced numbers at Football Outsiders; that offense set the groundwork for two World Championships, three Super Bowl trips and five consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances during that time.

Bieniemy, when asked in mid-January about interviewing for the Indianapolis Colts’ job, made clear that becoming an NFL head coach was his ambition.

“Do I believe I’m qualified? Yes, I do,” Bieniemy said on Jan. 18, the week of the Chiefs’ first playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. “But that’s not the issue right now. The issue is making sure we’re taking care of business, and I’m doing my part in being accountable to those guys who are counting on me to be available, to be at my best when my best is needed.”

According to a recent USA Today report, Bieniemy has interviewed for 15 head-coaching positions with 14 teams over the last four hiring cycles. During that time, he spoke with the New York Jets twice.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has long been a public advocate for Bieniemy getting a head-coaching job. In an interview this week, he reiterated that stance when asked if he was pushing for Bieniemy to get one of the then-remaining NFL head-coaching or coordinator positions available.

“There’s no reason he shouldn’t get one of these jobs,” Reid said. “He’s too good of a football coach not to.”

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt spoke a few days before the Super Bowl last week about his disappointment that Bieniemy hasn’t gotten a head-coaching chance elsewhere.

“At this point, he’s maybe been through too many hiring cycles and it’s almost become a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Hunt said, “that he’s not getting the opportunity.”

This past season, Nagy returned to the Chiefs’ staff after spending four years as Chicago Bears coach. Nagy was also Chiefs’ QB coach from 2013-15 before getting promoted to co-offensive coordinator with Brad Childress in 2016. The following year, Nagy was named Chiefs offensive coordinator; Bieniemy took over for him when he left to become Bears coach the next season.