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Pioli’s limbo status is keeping him from playing musical chairs

Scott Pioli, Clark Hunt

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, left, talks with Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt prior to an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)


If the Chiefs fire G.M. Scott Pioli, it’s unknown whether he’d draw interest for any of the current G.M. vacancies. But until the Chiefs terminate him, the question remains moot.

And if, of course, he’s terminated once the music stops elsewhere, it will be too late for him to transition from one G.M. job to another -- if another team is interested in hiring him.

He arguably would be better off if he’s fired later instead of sooner. Then, he could get paid by the Chiefs for 2013 and lay the foundation for a return to a front office in 2014, instead of rushing toward any chair that may be open.

In contrast, it would be better for the Chiefs to make a move while the music is still playing. This would increase the possibility of his buyout being reduced, if he ends up with a new job in the current hiring cycle.

Maybe that’s what the Chiefs are hoping to do. By making it clear that Pioli could be fired, perhaps owner Clark Hunt hopes other teams will request permission to interview Pioli, in the hopes that someone will take his contract off Hunt’s hands. If so, it would be a more subtle example of what the Jets did last year with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, clumsily hyping him for head-coaching jobs while having no intention of bringing him back.

Either way, Pioli is getting paid in 2013. The question is whether he’ll be working for the Chiefs, for someone else, or not at all.