3. Houston Texans
Thanks in large part to serious cap space issues, limited draft capital, and serious personnel deficiencies, the Texans’ situation is frustrated, especially on defense. The 4-12 team doesn’t have a 1st or 2nd round pick in this year’s draft, which is quite a handicap in getting some cheap, immediate improvement.
But they have Deshaun Watson. The odds of finding a quarterback of that caliber are just so low, and the value of Watson so high, that the surefire excellence of Watson makes the cap and draft capital problems easier to stomach. A marquee QB means you have a shot in every game, and Watson happens to be playing at the top of his game.
I have the Texans at No. 3 simply because it doesn’t seem like their roster will be drastically different next year. On the other hand, Bieniemy’s leadership, combined with Watson’s skill, would surely be intriguing. While I wouldn’t mind Houston for Bieniemy, I think a team with the potential to get significantly better in his first year would be more favorable.
I should mention that the Texans have not requested an interview with Bienemy. We’ll see whether Bienemy emerges as a candidate for the Texans’ job down the road.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have a good history of drafting Pro Bowl-level players under GM Tom Telesco. They appear to have the long-term answer at quarterback, too. Justin Herbert had a surprising, albeit excellent rookie campaign. I have the Chargers at No, 2 mostly because it feels disingenuous to be putting them at No. 1 on any Chiefs site. But honestly, you could switch around the top two teams here.
The Chargers lost their stalwart safety Derwin James for all of 2020. His return should help strengthen their pass defense. The Chargers have a nice combo of talent, around $30 million in cap space, and draft decently high (No. 13). Bieniemy and Herbert seem like a perfect match. Herbert showed immense promise in his rookie year, but Bieniemy would help him get a bit more consistent and decisive with his decisions. More importantly, I think Bieniemy would find working with Herbert extremely fulfilling.
One challenge to this situation is similar to the Falcons: soul-crushing last-second defeats plagued the Chargers. So, just like with Atlanta, Bieniemy would have to work to reverse the franchise’s fortune. He’s up to the task, but it’s a sizable amount of pressure regardless. Oh, you could also throw in having to play the Chiefs twice a year as a downside to this location.