Within hours Russian and British press reports made it sound all but a foregone conclusion that the Massachusetts Democrat will be elevated to the position of America's top diplomat in President Obama's second term.
But closer to home, others wondered whether the potential political implications of plucking a leading Democratic lawmaker might prevent Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, from achieving what many close to him say is his dream job after losing the presidency in 2004.
The Hill newspaper, for example, pointed out that Republican Senator Scott Brown, who was defeated by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, could make another bid for an open seat if the Bay State's senior senator stepped down, the Boston Globe reported.
Speculations that Kerry could replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has said she will not serve in a second Obama administration, has swirled for months.
Kerry declined to speak about the popular Washington parlor game but in the past has sought to quell any such speculation.
"I'm doing the job I love as chairman and senior senator," he told the Globe in June. "I'm working hard at both, and I'm already preparing to run for reelection" in 2014.
The 68-year-old Kerry has been a key ally of the administration and played chief surrogate in a series of global hot spots over the past four years. For many, he is seen as a logical choice to manage the nation's thorniest foreign policy problems.
"I think he is a real prospect," said Jon Wolfsthal, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden until earlier this year. "Above all things the president values two qualities: One is capability, the second is loyalty. Over the past four years Kerry has shown both of those in spades." Kerry stood in for Mitt Romney during the president's debate preparations.
A senior State Department official who asked not to be named speculating about who might be his future boss, described the "water cooler conversation" in Foggy Bottom about Kerry like this, "Because of the number of trips he has taken as head of Senate foreign relations he is pretty well known to a number of people and he is very highly regarded. So I think it would be a popular choice."
There are other leading candidates for secretary of state who have been widely mentioned, including US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and Obama's National Security Adviser Thomas E Donilon, a Rhode Island native who served as chief of staff at the State Department during the Clinton administration.