Kansas City, Mo. (ap) — Andy Reid and John Dorsey arrived with the Kansas City Chiefs within weeks of each other, the coach and general manager given the massive undertaking of turning around a 2-14 franchise.
Reid will head into Year 5 by himself.
The Chiefs announced Thursday they had signed their coach to a contract extension, and then revealed less than an hour later that they parted ways with their GM. Those were massive decisions handed down by chairman Clark Hunt in a pair of statements on what is typically a quiet week in the offseason.
“My family and I have been very pleased by the success the franchise has sustained over the last four seasons under Coach Reid,” Hunt said. “He has already established himself as one of the best coaches in the league, and he is well on his way to solidifying a place among the all-time greats.”
It wasn’t just Reid that got the Chiefs on the winning track, though.
Dorsey arrived from Green Bay with a reputation for being a savvy scout, his track record working in the front office of the Packers seemingly impeccable. And over the past four seasons, he managed to turn a roster with a few big names but little depth into one of the strongest in the league.
It still wasn’t enough to keep his job with the Chiefs.
Just like Reid, Dorsey was entering the final year of a five-year contract. But unlike his close friend, he was informed by Hunt that his contract would not be extended. So the two agreed to part ways now rather than wait until next offseason, leaving a significant void in the front office.
Hunt did not say who will handle the GM duties on an interim basis, though Reid juggled coaching and personnel decisions in Philadelphia with varying levels of success.
“This decision, while a difficult one, allows John to pursue other opportunities as we continue our preparations for the upcoming season and the seasons to come,” Hunt said.
Hunt did not say why he thought the organization needed to move in a different direction, nor was he made available to answer questions. But he said in a letter to season ticketholders later Thursday he will conduct a search for a new GM in the coming weeks that includes internal and external candidates.
“I believe that we have a strong foundation in place,” Hunt wrote, “and we will continue to work tirelessly to build on the success we’ve sustained over the last four seasons.”
Dorsey made many wise decisions in revamping the once-downtrodden franchise, particularly when it came to the waiver wire, but he also made numerous moves that left him open to criticism.
The large contract given to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was a failure. The move to sign linebacker Tamba Hali to a $21 million deal was made worse by an administrative error that resulted in $4 million in additional dead money. Then there was the signing of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, during which the Chiefs were found guilty of tampering, docked draft picks and levied a substantial fine.
Maclin was given a $55 million, five-year deal, but injuries, productivity and salary cap woes forced Dorsey to release Maclin this offseason — in a voicemail, no less.
That situation also demonstrated a problem that has plagued Reid and Dorsey since their arrival: management of the salary cap. The Chiefs have been consistently strapped for cash, and that led to the ouster of salary cap guru Trip MacCracken from the front office.
Still, Dorsey uncovered plenty of gems during his tenure. He also swung the deal for quarterback Alex Smith to stabilize the most important spot on the field, and boldly moved up in this year’s draft to take Patrick Mahomes II and give Kansas City its quarterback of the future.
“I want to thank Clark, the Hunt family and the Chiefs fans for the opportunity to be a part of Chiefs Kingdom over the last four seasons,” he said in a statement. “I believe this team is well positioned for the future and I wish Coach Reid, the players and the entire organization all the best.”
While Dorsey mulls his future, Reid heads into a season filled with expectations.
Most of the team that went 12-4 and won its first division title since 2010 returns intact, and there is reason to believe the Chiefs could be even better. Top linebacker Justin Houston will be healthy after dealing with knee trouble last season; the secondary has been solidified after safety Eric Berry signed a long-term extension; and rookie running back Kareem Hunt gives the offense another weapon.
Smith is also entering what could be a make-or-break season. His contract next year makes it pricey to keep him and cheap to let him go, so the veteran quarterback has even more incentive for a career year.
““We’ve made quite a bit of progress over the last four seasons, but we are not done yet,” Reid said in a statement. “We are going to continue to work toward our ultimate goal of winning championships. I’ve been blessed by the support of the community, our fans, the Hunt family and the entire Chiefs staff. I’m looking forward to the years ahead as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.”