6:52pm: While the Eagles didn’t announce it publicly, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link) believes Roseman will return to the head of the team’s personnel department.
6:19pm: With one week left in the regular season, the Eagles have announced in a press release that they’re parting ways with head coach Chip Kelly. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will serve as the club’s interim head coach in Week 17.
“I have made a decision to release Chip Kelly this evening,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “I spent the last three seasons evaluating the many factors involved in our performance as a team. As I watched this season unfold, I determined that it was time to make a change. As we move forward, the search for a new head coach will begin and will be led by myself, Don Smolenski and Howie Roseman. To the extent that we are able, we will try to keep you informed as we go through this process.”
The move comes as a surprise, particularly given the timing, since teams making head coaching changes typically wait until after their season ends to announce them. Since Kelly also served as Philadelphia’s de facto general manager, overseeing the construction of the 90-man roster in the offseason, the team figures to be making several new hires in the coming weeks.
One executive that has already been replaced is vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz, who has been let go along with Kelly. When the club re-assigned Roseman earlier this year, Kelly was tasked with picking a new personnel executive, and ultimately decided on Marynowitz, who received a promotion within the organization. Former NFL GM Tom Donahoe, who had been serving as a senior football advisor for the Eagles since 2012, will take over Marynowitz’s old role, at least for now.
In addition to the changes coming to the Eagles’ front office and coaching staff, the roster figures to be retooled this offseason, after Kelly’s overhauled it and brought in his own players. It was Kelly, of course, who orchestrated this year’s trade for Sam Bradford, so with the former first overall pick eligible for free agency this winter, it’ll be interesting to see if Philadelphia’s new decision-makers attempt to lock up Bradford, via the franchise tag or a longer-term deal.
During his three seasons as Eagles head coach, Kelly had a solid 26-21 record. However, after consecutive 10-6 seasons, the wheels came off a little this year, as the new-look roster, which was supposedly tailored to Kelly’s vision, struggled to produce on the field.
Although Kelly only took over final say of Philadelphia’s roster moves from Roseman a year ago, he influenced the team’s moves before then as well, and many talented players left town after not always seeing eye to eye with the head coach. DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and Evan Mathis are a few of the players that have departed within the last couple years.
As Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets, Kelly still had two years and at least $12MM left on his contract, so he doesn’t necessarily have to rush into any decisions on a new job this offseason. But it’s worth keeping an eye on the Titans, who will be in the market for a new head coach, and have Kelly’s old Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota on the roster. With Mariota and possibly the No. 1 overall pick this spring in play, the Tennessee position could definitely be of interest to Kelly, though it’s not clear yet if the Titans would reciprocate that interest.
The Eagles, meanwhile, join the Dolphins and Titans as teams that will definitely be hunting for a new head coach this offseason, with the Lions, Giants, Saints, Browns, 49ers, and Rams among the teams that could potentially join them.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.