Sam Madison makes sense for Chiefs as potential Dave Merritt replacement

If Dave Merritt leaves this offseason for a promotion, there's an obvious replacement sitting out there.

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs
Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The work done by Kansas City Chiefs defensive backs coach Dave Merritt has been exceptional over the last few years. The secondary itself has been a unit marked by stellar results and strong production despite suffering serious losses and working with inexperienced players. It's a testament to Merritt's tutelage that the Chiefs have gotten so much during this run of success.

Perhaps that's why Merritt's phone is ringing more and more these days.

On Wednesday, NFL reporter Mike Garafolo posted the news that the San Francisco 49ers were interested in interviewing Merritt to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy. While that doesn't mean he's guaranteed to leave, it does bring up the question of what the Chiefs might do if and when that happens.

If Dave Merritt leaves this offseason for a promotion, there's an obvious replacement sitting out there.

Let's not forget that Merritt already referenced a future outside of Kansas City earlier this offseason when he stated an eventual desire to return to coach with the New York Giants as a personal homecoming down the road. Again, that doesn't mean he's bound to leave in 2024 or that his mind won't change at some point, but it does mean the Chiefs would do well to keep some potential replacement candidates in mind for now.

One name should be more obvious to Andy Reid than others who might also warrant inclusion on such a list, however. That's because Sam Madison has already coached alongside Reid during this current dynasty.

Madison was hired to help coach the defensive backs with Merritt when Steve Spagnuolo was first hired to be the Chiefs defensive coordinator. He won Super Bowl LIV with the Chiefs in 2019 and was on the sidelines through the 2021 season when the Dolphins called and offered him a chance to coach with Mike McDaniel. Given that he played most of his career with the Dolphins, it was a chance to return home like what Merritt referenced with New York.

The problem, however, is that Miami jettisoned most of their defensive coaches earlier this offseason in an attempt to raise the level of play on that side of the ball. After firing Vic Fangio as coordinator, the Dolphins also let go of Madison and other assistants. Just like that, Madison was a free agent coach and he remains unemployed for now.

If Merritt finds a new home, the Chiefs could enjoy a smooth transition and an important continuity by calling Madison to see if he's interested in a reunion. A lot of the faces have changed, but Madison would know what to do with the talented players in K.C. He's certainly done it before.