With the Atlanta Falcons extending the contract of head coach Mike Smith for three years, I’ve been asked by a lot of people if Clark Hunt should do the same thing with Todd Haley. After all, Haley has taken the Kansas City Chiefs from just two wins all the way to 10 and a division title.
When asked by Randy Covitz about new deals for both Haley and GM Scott Pioli, the Chiefs owner was effusive in his praise, but non-committal about extensions.
“First, let me say, I’m delighted with both of them,” Hunt said. “They’ve both done a tremendous job, Scott on the personnel side, Todd on the coaching side.
“The foundation they’ve laid is starting to show this year with the division championship, and I feel great about them as leaders of our football team going forward. But I think it’s premature at this point to think about extending either one.”
Before anyone starts to think that Hunt is just giving us lip service to hide doubts about Haley as his head coach, remember that he still has two years left on his contract. Smith was entering the final year of his deal with the Falcons, which really meant his contract was over. Rarely will you see a coach play out the final year unless there is a lack of interest from one side or the other.
What this means is that no matter what happens next season, if we are sitting here during Super Bowl week 2012 and Haley is still without a new deal, then Hunt may be thinking about his next head coach.
As for Pioli, is there anyone that is worried about him being the general manager anywhere other than Kansas City for the next decade? I know, I know… two seasons — and one good draft — doesn’t give him an unlimited hall pass at Arrowhead, but short of the Chiefs completely falling apart for the next few seasons with little impact from their young players, Pioli isn’t going anywhere. Hunt didn’t let Pioli completely remake the franchise from top to bottom to start all over again after three or four years.
Plus, as Hunt says, just because now isn’t the right time, doesn’t mean anything about the future.
“The right time will come.”