Kansas City Chiefs General Manager — and Central Connecticut State graduate — Scott Pioli was a guest on the local ESPN radio affiliate in CT today. Pioli talked to host Jason Page about everything from his transition to the Midwest to the Chiefs massive amount of salary cap space.
You can stream the interview here or check out my notes after the jump.
Highlight of the interview was his reaction to calling on “the Arby’s hotline”:
“Do I get a free sandwich out of this?”
All of Page’s questions and Pioli’s comments are paraphrased.
How has the transition been to the Midwest?
It’s been great. I’m a native northeasterner, born and raised in New York and went to school in Connecticut then spent the last 9 seasons in New England. It’s a step in a different direction to come out to the Midwest, but it’s been a very pleasant first six months. My wife was born in Wichita, so it’s been great so far but it’s easy to be great since we haven’t played any games yet.
On the NFL being a year-to-year league:
Without a doubt. And sometimes it’s halves of seasons. There have been teams I’ve been a part of where we didn’t start well but finished strongly. Fortunes are always changing.
Have you noticed any change in Matt Cassel from his time last year in New England?
I think it’s too early to tell because we haven’t played any games yet. Here’s what I do know: the change I’ve seen in Matt from the time we drafted him and watching him evolve on a year-to-year basis, you can measure some of that. One of the things I’ve noticed about Matt was his maturity level and his emotional strength and sticktuitiveness, where here is a guy that was not starting week-to-week but when his opportunity came he was ready. The emotional endurance that takes and the opportunity that is ahead of him now, I’m excited for him. I’m excited he’s going to be our quarterback this year, hopefully.
You’ve got tons of cap space. What is the game plan with all that cap space you have?
There was a lot of cap space coming into this year, but one of the things I told the owner during the interview process was that they don’t hand out any award at the end of the season for having the most amount of cap space, that’s not what the Lombardi trophy is for. Our goal is to spend wisely and put together the best football team.
This year we are entering the last capped year, so at some point and time this is going to go away. You never know when there is going to be opportunity. Last year everyone talked about the cap space the Miami Dolphins had going into the season. They had no idea a player like Chad Pennington was going to be available and because they had that space, it afforded them some opportunity. A lot of other teams who maybe could have used that player and would have liked to have that player weren’t allowed to be players in that game because they didn’t have the cap space.
You have to spend wisely, but understand at the end of the season, they aren’t handing out the Vince Lombardi trophy to the team with the most cap space.
Do you think a team will take a chance on Michael Vick?
I’m not sure because there are teams that have said “absolutely not” and there are some people that said they would consider it. Then as we know, sometimes people say they won’t and then they turn around and they do it. I’m not in the predicting business. I have no idea what those people are going to do because I don’t know the circumstances on their roster or within their organization as to how they want to or don’t want to run their organization.
Wow, is that last comment a true run around answer or what? I guess it is noteworthy because the Chiefs have said “absolutely not”, so maybe the door on Vick isn’t completely closed in Kansas City. I love how he added the “hopefully” when talking about being excited about Cassel being the Chiefs quarterback this year. I know both Pioli and head coach Todd Haley are preaching open competition at every position, but can we at least make Cassel the official starting quarterback and move forward? It was mildly believable when Cassel was working on the one-year deal, but after investing that kind of cash (on top of the 2nd round draft pick) I would put the chances of anyone other than Cassel starting for the Chiefs week 1 at 5%.