Breaking down the factors that led to Chiefs, Dorsey parting way - KCTV5 News

Breaking down the factors that led to Chiefs, Dorsey parting ways

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KANSAS CITY, MO (FOOTBALLKC) – The Kansas City Chiefs and General Manager John Dorsey parted ways on Thursday in one of the most stunning moves in recent team history.

Most changes at head coach or GM normally comes with clear reasoning, whether that be a lack of wins or visible tensions with the team or front office.

In this case, there is no crystal clear reasoning from the outside. Dorsey took over a team that went 2-14 and sculpted a roster that never finished below .500 and made the playoffs three out of four years.

Still, there must have been something going on behind closed doors that Chiefs fans, and really the rest of the NFL, did not see. Dorsey has a great reputation across the league after his time in Green Bay that was solidified by success in Kansas City.

Owner Clark Hunt placed Dorsey and Head Coach Andy Reid as equals when they each were brought on, and it’s believed that they each reported directly to Hunt, not to one or the other.

While at the end of the day this was Hunt’s decision, Reid likely had a significant role in this decision, which was announced less than an hour after he signed a contract extension of his own.

A potential rift between these three decision makers is just one of many factors that puts all of the team’s recent moves into question, making it one of the most bizarre situations to transpire in recent Chiefs history.

What might have gone wrong:

While we may never know the exact reasoning outside of just rumors, there are a number of factors that may have shown the writing on the wall leading up to the departure.

Dorsey by no means had a perfect tenure leading the team, as he did make a few miscue’s in free agency, the draft and in cap management. However, no GM is perfect, and the wins speak for themselves. Only time will tell whether or not these decisions should have cost Dorsey his job.

The biggest factor that led to Dorsey’s departure most likely centered around the way the Chiefs managed the cap over the last four years. Its mishandling caused a number of the recent controversial decisions in cutting Jeremy Maclin and Jamaal Charles.

Dorsey started his tenure by signing receiver Dwayne Bowe to a long-term contract, followed by quarterback Alex Smith. He then opted to franchise Justin Houston and Eric Berry for one year, only to end up signing them for much more money the following year.

If Dorsey had been more ahead of the curve with these cap decisions, the Chiefs could have more room to keep the likes of Maclin, Charles and Dontari Poe. The consistent lack of space left the Chiefs with very few options in free agency and forced them to make some tough cuts.

The lack of cap space might have led to a potential rift between Reid and Dorsey, as Reid coached Maclin in Philadelphia, attended his wedding, illegally tampered with NFL rules to get him to sign in KC, only to cut him two years later due to a lack of cap space. This may have been a tipping point for Reid and Hunt, but saying it’s the sole reason Dorsey parted ways is still far-fetched.

A similar outcome came in the Jamaal Charles negotiations, as Charles left for Denver feeling as if the Chiefs thought he could no longer play. Charles could have re-signed on a lower contract with KC, but with little available space, that’s another high profile player that left scorned under Dorsey, maybe to Reid’s dismay.

Another factor is the way in which the last two off-season’s have transpired for Dorsey. In 2016 the Chiefs lost a third round pick for tampering, cut third pick Keivarae Russell just one week into the season, and whether or not this was his fault, the handling of Charles and Justin Houston’s injuries were completely botched.

This Chiefs made the playoffs in both years, falling by a score in the divisional round each year. Had Houston and Charles been healthy, they likely win one of those games. Instead, the team rushed each player back too soon, each player had multiple setbacks and Houston waited three months to receive his ACL surgery.

This may not fall on Dorsey at all, but when a team let’s go of one of the most respected and successful GM’s in the league, there has to be a number of reasons that led to the departure.

From a PR standpoint, the handling of Maclin’s release also did not bode well for Dorsey and may have been a red flag for Hunt. It’s come out recently that Maclin played last season with a torn groin, and Dorsey told the wide receiver he was released via voicemail. The decision alone was controversial in and out of the organization, but the way Dorsey handled the release might have been a final straw in the minds of Hunt or Reid.

The drafting and trading up for Patrick Mahomes is another decision that may have caused a divide in thinking, but with how important the quarterback position is, Reid and Dorsey are not likely to trade up and draft Mahomes if they both weren’t on board. Reid was just as vocal of a supporter of Mahomes, so it’s unlikely that was the cause of Dorsey’s departure.

While Dorsey’s roster led the team to general success for four years, there’s also the possibility that Reid and Dorsey simply were not satisfied with just making the playoffs. It’s a bold move to let go of proven success, but if they truly believe Dorsey could not construct a Super Bowl roster, they wouldn’t keep him around.

While none of these by themselves seem like strong enough reasons to let go of Dorsey, it’s clear someone did not like the direction the team was headed. Dorsey drafted and brought in numerous All-Pro players along with locking up key players long-term, but even wins cannot keep a divided brain trust happy for long.

The Timing:

While the decision alone is stunning enough, the fact that it occurred in June, after the draft, after free agency, after potential new GM’s came off the market, adds a whole other level to the situation.

Chris Ballard, who now serves as the Colts’ general manager, was one of the key minds in the Chiefs' front office and many credited him with a number of the Chiefs’ draft picks. More than qualified, he would have been a logical replacement, and likely would have the job if it came open in January.

Instead, he’s in Indianapolis, and the Chiefs have limited options. Reid taking over is always a possibility, he did so in Philadelphia, but Hunt is likely to bring someone from the outside or promote within, even if the options are not as good as they would have been months ago.

The timing of Dorsey’s departure also points to the recent decisions serving the main tipping point in Reid and/or Hunt’s mind. If they were not satisfied after the season, they would have done it then. The fact that it came after the draft and after the release of Maclin and Charles is probably not a coincidence.

The roster is pretty much intact for the 2017-18 season so the new general manager won’t have many decisions to make until training camp. It’s also not a coincidence that the Chiefs don’t have to talk to the media about this move until then. OTA’s just ended, and had they made this decision a couple weeks ago, Reid and the team would have to answer questions right away. This now allows them a month with little outside access to get their house in order.

Also, keep an eye on where Dorsey ends up, because Green Bay GM Ted Thompson has flirted with retirement for a few years now. It’s pure speculation, but if Hunt knew Dorsey was in line to take the Packer job in the near future, he may have wanted to get ahead of the curve.

Perhaps the strangest part of all is that the team announced a contract extension for Reid just 40 minutes before parting ways with Dorsey. If these decisions were made at the same time, did Hunt have to choose between one or the other? It’s no surprise he went with the established head coach, but perhaps the controversial decisions put Hunt in a position to where it could only be one or the other.

What this says about the future:

Hiring a general manager is almost as important as hiring a head coach, and Hunt obviously has to get this one right. He didn’t with his first hiring of Scott Pioli, and with this team poised for a playoff run over the next few years, the time to win is now. It’s not hard to find GM’s that can scout and draft well, finding one who can manage the cap and find UDFA will be the difference for the team moving forward.

This also puts the entire draft and offseason into question. It was Dorsey making the decisions, Reid and Hunt were not satisfied, so should Chiefs fans be worried? Perhaps Reid is not confident in the receiving core without Maclin, or the defensive line without Poe, or the offense without Charles. He says he is, but letting go of Dorsey sends a different.

The draft has been Dorsey’s strength, and the 2017 class has talent geared more for the future than this year. But again, the man who crafted this draft, this offseason and this team for the foreseeable future was let go, the team must be concerned about the direction in one way or another.

If Maclin, Poe and Charles go out and have successful seasons, and if Mahomes disappoints, Chiefs fans can see where things went wrong with Dorsey. But until then, all fans can really do is speculate. Is it one of the many reasons listed, or is there something no one outside of Arrowhead Stadium knows?

Fans may never fully know, but at the end of the 2016-17 season, with most of the same roster returning, they have every right to expect the team to return to the playoffs. But after a chaotic offseason where the team drafted a quarterback in the first round, cut Maclin and Charles and lost Ballard and Dorsey, the current and future state of the team is very much in flux.

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