On February 24, the Kansas City Chiefs re-signed offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to a one-year deal, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. The following day, the team announced it had hired former Chiefs offensive coordinator and Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy as a senior assistant/quarterbacks coach.
But Bieniemy holding the OC role in Kansas City for the 2022 season doesn’t mean Nagy won’t be calling plays for the Chiefs in the near future.
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The reactions from many Twitter users — which we highlighted in a recent article at Heavy on Chiefs — were for the most part positive in regards to Nagy re-joining the Chiefs. Although Nagy’s stint as an NFL head coach was short-lived, his resume in Kansas City still stands in high regard.
Nagy was the Chiefs quarterbacks coach from 2013 to 2015 and the team’s offensive coordinator in 2017 — the final season in which Alex Smith was the starting quarterback in Kansas City. During that season, Nagy schemed up an offense that ranked sixth in points scored and fifth in total yards, which was the first time since 2005 that the Chiefs ranked top 10 in both of those categories, according to Pro Football Reference.
His tenure as a coordinator lasted only one season, however, as Nagy would take the head coaching job with the Bears the following offseason.
But now he’s back with the Chiefs and it’s worth wondering: why?
Granted, Nagy wasn’t getting another head coach gig this offseason, otherwise he would have been hired during the 2022 cycle. He instead had “several coaching opportunities with similar titles” along with the offer from the Chiefs, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson. Out of the opportunities he had to choose from, Nagy chose Kansas City.
Based on his coaching accolades, it would make sense for Nagy to settle into a coordinator role in the near future. From that role he could try to replicate the success he had in 2017, which could catapult him into another head coaching endeavor a few years down the road. That’s why joining a coaching staff this offseason that would allow for him to grow into a coordinator role in the near future would make sense for Nagy.
So he joined the…Chiefs?
Yes he did. And it makes sense.
Bieniemy Chiefs’ OC…for Now
Since Bieniemy took over as offensive coordinator in 2018, Kansas City’s offense has ranked first in the league in total yards two out of the four seasons, and top five in total points scored in three seasons, per Pro Football Reference.
It’s no coincidence that quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ breakout sophomore campaign in which he threw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns came in Bieniemy’s first season as the Chiefs’ offensive play-caller. Bieniemy has been a pivotal piece of Kansas City’s success over the past four seasons, which includes four straight AFC Championship appearances, two Super Bowl appearances, and a championship.
During the 2021 season, teams began defending the Chiefs’ offense differently, which forced Bieniemy and company to shift the way Kansas City utilized its offensive superstars. This caused growing pains for the offense, which — paired with a struggling defense — had the Chiefs with a 3-4 record to start the regular season.
All that being said — Kansas City’s offense finished the season fourth in points scored and third in total yards, according to Pro Football Reference. So, a unit that was trying to change the way they attack defenses midseason was still one of the league’s best offenses. Bieniemy deserves a large portion of the credit for that.
Yes — Bieniemy is Kansas City’s offensive coordinator for 2022. But that doesn’t guarantee he will be after the 2022 season.
Next offseason will bring about more opportunities for someone like Bieniemy, whether it be as a head coach or in a similar role for a different NFL team. This could be why Josina Anderson of CBS Sports cryptically tweeted about Nagy’s role with the Chiefs as he enters his second stint with the team.
“Things in Kansas City are going to be quite interesting to keep an eye on right after the NFL Combine & next season…Matt Nagy’s addition will not only prove to be good timing to handle the upcoming allocation of duties….but also is very well-received by Patrick Mahomes,” Anderson wrote on February 27.
Signs Point Towards Nagy as Chiefs’ Future OC
No matter the outcome of the 2022 season for the Chiefs, Bieniemy’s future in regards to his position in Kansas City is nearly set in stone.
If the Chiefs’ offense puts together another elite season, then Bieniemy will be a hot name during the 2023 hiring cycle and could finally land his long-awaited head coaching job in the NFL. From there, Nagy could be promoted to OC.
If the Chiefs’ offense struggles, however, then Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has a strong reason to let Bieniemy walk when his contract expires next offseason and could also then promote Nagy to OC.
Either way, Matt Nagy once again becoming the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator is a scenario that could happen after 2022.