Jeffrey Lurie

Fallout From Doug Pederson Firing: Eagles, Wentz, Staff

Monday was a pivotal day in Eagles franchise history, as the team fired Super Bowl winning coach Doug Pederson. There’s been a lot trickling out since then, and we’re here to bring you all the fallout from the decision:

  • This all has been “boiling” since last offseason, when owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman pressured Pederson to fire offensive coordinator Mike Groh, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. A source told McLane that Pederson actually threatened to quit over it, but Eagles brass didn’t take it seriously. We noted in our initial writeup yesterday a report that “Pederson was sick of people telling him what to do.”
  • To that end, Lurie was apparently “underwhelmed” by the staffing suggestions Pederson made for the 2021 season when they met last week, a source told McLane. Pederson apparently wanted to promote from within, as McLane reports he wanted to promote QBs coach Press Taylor to offensive coordinator and to “bump up defensive line coach Matt Burke to defensive coordinator.” Clearly Lurie was more inclined to bring in bigger names from outside the organization, and it sounds like this was a sticking point in the ultimate divorce.
  • Finally, McLane points out in another tweet that Roseman will now be on his fourth head coach (third that he’ll hire), after Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, and Pederson. McLane writes that “Pederson and Roseman had decreasingly seen eye to eye on personnel.” Roseman is turning into somewhat of a polarizing figure, but he clearly has a lot of power.
  • One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind when the decision came down was what it meant for Carson Wentz. It might be good news for the former second overall pick, as a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that the firing “significantly increases the chances” of Wentz staying in Philly next season (Twitter link). We had heard just before the end of the regular season that the relationship between Wentz and Pederson was fractured beyond repair, and this could be a sign that Lurie and Roseman believe Wentz should be the quarterback in 2021. The increased likelihood of Wentz returning was confirmed by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who added that had Pederson been retained Wentz would’ve wanted out (Twitter video link).
  • Lurie released a statement through the team explaining the decision and thanking Pederson, which you can read via this tweet. Not surprisingly, he said Pederson will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.
  • The Eagles also tweeted a statement from Pederson, thanking the team, the city, and the fans.
  • We’ve already heard the team is interested in Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, but Lurie also said at his press conference explaining the decision that assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley would be a candidate for the job. Staley is very popular in the locker room and a number of former players immediately voiced support for him on social media, but that still seems like a pretty big long-shot.

Eagles’ Doug Pederson “Fully Confident” He’ll Return

Doug Pederson is not on the hot seat, according to Doug Pederson. The Eagles head coach says he is “fully confident” that he will return in 2021, despite the team’s disappointing season.

[RELATED: Eagles’ Doug Pederson On Hot Seat]

I feel fully confident to be the head coach of the Eagles in 2021,” said Pederson, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since his inaugural 2016 season in Philly. “The thing I’m most proud of this football team, we have been in the postseason three of the last five years since I’ve been here and that’s pretty good.”

We have won a championship here. We have gone through a season where a lot of our veteran guys are not playing due to injury. We are playing with a lot of young players. There is always going to be evaluation in the offseason and my job is evaluated as well. I fully expected to be the coach next season and I welcome the opportunity to get things right, get things fixed and take this team into next season.”

Depending on how the season finale goes, the Eagles will finish either 5-10-1 or 4-11-1. Either way, it’ll the worst report card in Pederson’s five years. In that span, the Eagles have invested serious resources in quarterback Carson Wentz, only to watch him regress dramatically in 2020. Now, owner Jeffrey Lurie will be left to decide whether Pederson — a Philadelphia hero, not long ago — is the right man to lead the Eagles moving forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Zach Ertz: I’m Not Sure If Eagles Want Me Here

Sep. 13: Rapoport says that Ertz and GM Howie Roseman got into an animated and heated discussion after a practice this week (video link). That discussion took place in front of several players, leading Rapoport to speculate that Ertz’s future in Philadelphia may be even more in doubt.

In a subsequent tweet, however, RapSheet said that the exchange also included owner Jeffrey Lurie and ended on a professional note. So clearly there is some tension there, but the situation does not appear to be beyond repair.

Sep. 10: Eagles tight end Zach Ertz says he wants to stay in Philadelphia, but he doesn’t “know for sure if that feeling is mutual,” (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Talks recently broke off between the Eagles and Ertz, who characterized the process as “frustrating at times” and “difficult.”

Ertz is believed to be eyeing numbers similar to those achieved by George Kittle and Travis Kelce, who pushed the TE ceiling to $15MM per year. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ last offer to the 29-year-old was reportedly worth less over the next four years than Austin Hooper‘s four-year, $42MM Browns deal. Of course, it’s important to note the framing of those numbers – Ertz has two years to go on his current deal, so the mashup of old money and new money isn’t exactly fair.

Ertz is set to earn base salaries of $6.7MM and $8.3MM in 2020 and ’21, the final seasons of the five-year, $42.5MM pact he inked in 2016. Overall, that deal averages out to $8.5MM/year, which ranks seventh among TEs. With no guaranteed money to go, Ertz wants a raise, and additional security.

Last year, Ertz racked up 88 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns – an especially solid stat line given the Birds’ up-and-down season. In 2018, he notched career highs in just about every category with 116 receptions (also an NFL record for TEs), 1,163 yards, and eight touchdowns. A Pro Bowler in each of his last three seasons, Ertz has 525 grabs, 5,743 receiving yards, and 35 touchdowns to his credit across seven pro seasons. Meanwhile, he’s led the team in catches and receiving yards in each of the last four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bradberry, Jenkins, Lions

Count Panthers head coach Ron Rivera among those who’d like to see cornerback James Bradberry signed long-term.

“He is a guy that I hope we do keep around because he is important to what we’ve done,” Rivera told Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. “We’ve kind of shown that you have to be able to keep that type of a corner around.”

It’s pretty easy to surmise that Rivera is talking about former cornerback Josh Norman, who left the organization following a messy contract dispuit. Since then, Bradberry has been one of the lone consistencies among Panthers defensive backs, so it only makes sense that the coaching staff would want to keep him around. The 25-year-old is heading into the final season of his rookie contract.

“I think I’ve shown that I am capable of being a top corner in this league,” Bradberry said. “I just had to make sure I stayed on my P’s and Q’s, on top of my toes. Did a lot of film study each and every week.”

That commitment has certainly paid off. The former second-rounder had another solid season in 2018, finishing with 70 tackles, 15 passes defended, and one interception.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie played a role in convincing safety Malcolm Jenkins to attend the team’s minicamp. The veteran had previously missed the team’s voluntary workouts, and there was concern that he’d skip training camp in pursuit of a new deal. However, after talking to Lurie, Jenkins was in a better frame of mind. “One of the reasons that I feel comfortable being here,” Jenkins told Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer, “is because of my relationship with Jeff Lurie and understanding that I do feel valued and respected.”
  • The Lions did not waive Michael Roberts as an injured player, meaning there was no injury settlement, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. We learned yesterday that Roberts’ trade from the Lions to the Patriots was called off, and the tight end was subsequently waived by Detroit While a failed physical has been the assumed reason for the failed trade, Birkett notes that different teams’ doctors could have differing opinions.
  • Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton has yet to ink his exclusive rights free agent tender and continues to push the club for a new deal. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that the player may have been inspired by teammate Alejandro Villanueva, who pulled off a similar move in 2017. “I can’t say if it’s better to sign now or later,” Villanueva said. “But betting on yourself, in this business, usually works.” Fowler writes that the two players have discussed the matter, although Hilton may not see the same kind of resolution as Villanueva.

Eagles Notes: Jenkins, Wentz, Staff

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins did not report to team OTAs earlier this offseason in the hopes of renegotiating his contract. At the first day of minicamp on Tuesday, the veteran defender opened up about his desire for a new deal and said that both sides are still talking, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane tweets.

Though he wants to rework his current deal, Jenkins said he did not consider skipping minicamp, citing his relationship with owner Jeffrey Lurie and the need to be with his teammates as motivating factors for showing up.

Jenkins is under club control through 2020 thanks to a four-year, $35MM extension he signed three years ago, but after the safety market famously stagnated in 2018, it came back in 2019. Jenkins is now the 10th-highest-paid safety in the NFL in terms of total value, full guarantee, and per-year average.

“I’m happy whenever any other player gets paid,” Jenkins said, as tweeted by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Zach Berman. “You start to look at where you are and evaluate your position, just like anybody in any job. If you feel like you’re the best at what you do and there are other people out there making more than you, you want to renegotiate your contract make sure you’re getting the value you should be. Any business and any businessperson should think like that. I think any player should think like that.

As McLane notes, Jenkins and Lurie have a solid relationship and talks are ongoing, which should signal that a new deal could be in the offing before the start of the season.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • After an injury-plagued 2018 campaign, the Eagles decided to shake up their medical staff in 2019, McLane writes. The team parted way with its head physician and internist, Stephen Stache, and hired Arsh Dhanota to be the chief medical officer. Stache was in the position for just one season and the team saw a 57-percent increase in player injuries from the 2018 campaign.
  • Among the pros of Carson Wentz‘s new deal with the Eagles include the annual cap hit and his future potential, 94WIP’s Eliot Shorr-Parks writes. In his pros-and-cons list, Parks notes that his current average between $26 and 27MM a year would rank ninth among all quarterbacks, a significant value for the potential of the signal-caller, which is a top-five passer. The obvious con is the risk involved with a deal for a player riddled with injuries through his first three seasons in the league.

Seahawks Targeting John DeFilippo As OC

Earlier this week, SI.com’s Albert Breer reported Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is set to be a coaching free agent and could be a candidate for an OC job should he not become the Cardinals’ head coach.

The Seahawks are interested in DeFilippo to succeed Darrell Bevell as OC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding he will join Brian Schottenheimer as a sought-after interviewee for Seattle — should the Eagles lose to the Falcons today.

The Eagles prevented their QBs coach from speaking with the Jets about their OC job last year, with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reporting Jeffrey Lurie overruled Doug Pederson‘s decision to let DeFilippo do so, but can no longer block him from interviews going forward. Seattle has interest in Schottenheimer but has yet to set up any interviews with candidates. This is the first time in seven years the Seahawks have had an OC vacancy.

DeFilippo played a key role in Carson Wentz rocketing from Division I-FCS product to one-time MVP frontrunner. The Seahawks, who are the first team to have reported interest in the soon-to-be 40-year-old coach as a coordinator, have a franchise quarterback but struggled offensively this season. Seattle had the league’s No. 13-ranked scoring offense this season — its lowest finish since 2010.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FO/Staff Notes: McDaniels, Lurie, Shanahan

Earlier this week, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulled himself out of the race to become San Francisco’s head coach. It turns out he might be content to remain an assistant in New England until head coach Bill Belichick retires, at which point he would potentially take over, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). There are no indications the 64-year-old Belichick is pondering retirement, however, and Cole adds that McDaniels could leave the Pats after next season if either Tennessee or Detroit fires its head coach. McDaniels’ goal is to work with a general manager with “strong personnel skills,” per Cole, and he’s familiar with both Titans GM Jon Robinson and the Lions’ Bob Quinn. Those two were longtime members of New England’s front office before departing for their current jobs last offseason.

Elsewhere around the NFL…

  • Since the Eagles brought an end to the Chip Kelly era late in 2015, owner Jeffrey Lurie has taken on a more active role with the franchise, league sources told Tim McManus of ESPN.com. For instance, it was Lurie who pushed to re-sign quarterback Sam Bradford last offseason and Lurie who denied the Jets permission to interview quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for their offensive coordinator vacancy earlier this month. One reason for Lurie’s involvement is head coach Doug Pederson‘s inexperience. Pederson, who’s fresh off his first season as a sideline leader, told reporters in December that he had weekly meetings – “very positive” ones, he added – with Lurie and de facto GM Howie Roseman.
  • The Falcons probably won’t let offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan take any of their position coaches with him if he accepts the 49ers’ head coaching job, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com hears (Twitter link). Maiocco reported Wednesday that Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel was a candidate to become Shanahan’s defensive coordinator in San Francisco, but that now appears unlikely.
  • The Jaguars are set to hire Jason Rebrovich as their assistant defensive line coach, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Jacksonville will be Rebrovich’s third stop under head coach Doug Marrone. He previously served on Marrone-led staffs at Syracuse and in Buffalo.
  • The Colts will not bring back wide receivers coach Lee Hull next season, relays Caplan (Twitter link). The ex-college coach lasted only one year in Indianapolis.

NFC Rumors: Kelly, Eagles, Randle, Cowboys

Chip Kelly told Philadelphia-area media, including Jeff McLane of Philly.com, he didn’t communicate directly with Howie Roseman last season before being fired by the Eagles. The current 49ers coach said owner Jeffrey Lurie constructed an arrangement where the then-demoted Roseman sent messages to the then-empowered Kelly through player personnel VP Ed Marynowitz.

Kelly also asserted he didn’t control the contracts given to Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray, with the three-year Eagles coach telling media Roseman, who has since traded both players, constructed those deals.

I wasn’t the personnel guy. I was in charge of the 90-man roster,” Kelly said. “But I didn’t negotiate and say this guy gets this amount of money and that guy gets that amount of money. And Ed was the one who ran our personnel department. That really fell on Ed’s shoulders in terms of how he handled everything. And Ed communicated with him all the time.

Here’s some more on the Eagles and news from some additional NFC teams.

  • Former Eagles first-round linebacker Marcus Smith will move to defensive end in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 scheme, Zach Berman of Philly.com reports. Doug Pederson told media, including Berman, his linebackers right now will consist of Mychal Kendricks on the weak side, Jordan Hicks in the middle and Nigel Bradham on the strong side.
  • The Vikings inquired about Rueben Randle early in free agency, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets, but no substantial interest materialized prior to Randle choosing to trek to Philadelphia.
  • The Giants, however, had no interest in re-signing Randle, Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger tweets. John Mara said last week the Giants were going to seek receiving help, but the market has been mostly raided in terms of notable first-time free agents. Veterans Roddy White, Marques Colston and Percy Harvin remain unsigned.
  • The Cowboys are expected meet with Paxton Lynch again before the draft after doing so in a productive meeting today, NFL.com’s Rand Getlin tweets. Dallas is allotted 30 visits with prospects.
  • Washington safety Kyshoen Jarrett‘s status is uncertain for this season, with Jay Gruden telling media — including JP Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com — he’s “very concerned” about the lack of strength in Jarrett’s shoulder presently. A key backup and part-time starter as a rookie last season, Jarrett was injured in Week 17 against the Cowboys.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Draft Notes: Panthers, Cowboys, Eagles, Colts

The Panthers worked out three Clemson defenders – end Shaq Lawson, cornerback Mackensie Alexander and linebacker B.J. Goodson – on Tuesday, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter links) and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). Lawson had a “fantastic” workout with the team and looks like a top-15 pick in the making, per Miller. That would put Lawson well out of the range of Carolina, which has the 30th selection.

More on the draft:

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t expect the club to take a quarterback or running back with the fourth overall pick, as Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.
  • Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III says the Dolphins “have shown heavy interest” in him, tweets Jesse Re Simonton of the Miami Herald. Hargreaves, a surefire first-round pick, has a meeting with Miami scheduled for today.
  • The Eagles made significant financial commitments to Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel earlier this month, but owner Jeffrey Lurie indicated that he wants to draft a quarterback at least every other year, per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The Eagles haven’t selected a QB since taking Matt Barkley in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.
  • On drafting a running back, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said, “We’re not done yet” (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star). The position could be a priority for the Colts, Holder tweets. Notably, the Colts had the second-worst yards-per-carry average in the league last season (3.6) and have an underwhelming stable of running backs led by Frank Gore, who will turn 33 in May.
  • TCU receiver Josh Doctson has visits and/or workouts set up with the Vikings, Browns and Bengals, reports Getlin (Twitter link). The Vikings reportedly think highly of the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Doctson.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Packers, Cowboys, Lions

The Eagles were prepared to offer new Giants head coach Ben McAdoo their top coaching job had he come in for the second interview he scheduled, Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The Giants moved up their interview with their then-offensive coordinator to expedite their process and retain him, but multiple sources told the Inquirer he would’ve gotten the Eagles’ job had he interviewed again.

Philadelphia also did not offer new coach Doug Pederson final say on the 53-man roster like Adam Gase, the Eagles’ initial coaching interview as part of their 10 “Tier 1” candidates, received upon accepting the Dolphins’ job.

Linebackers coach Ken Flajole turned down the UTEP DC job to land in Philadelphia. UTEP had to amend a Jan. 14 press conference to inform that Flajole, the Rams’ DC from 2009-11, would be returning to the NFL instead of guiding the Miners’ defense.

Jeffery Lurie told Berman the regular season’s final week, after he fired Chip Kelly, proved beneficial in terms of communicating with the players on what exactly went wrong under Kelly and how best to re-route the team.

Here are some more notes on the Eagles, along with the latest from other NFC locales.

  • With Pederson saying Sam Bradford “fit perfectly” into the offense he plans to run with the Eagles, Daniel Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com notes in his Eagles mailbag the best course of action for the franchise going forward would be to sign the former No. 1 pick to a long-term deal. Despite an unremarkable season, Bradford will still figure to have his share of suitors if he reaches the market, with the Texans and Browns also in dire need of a quarterback. Bradford threw 19 TDs, 14 INTs and completed 65.3% of his passes in 14 games — the most he’d played in since 2012.
  • Tony Romo will undergo a CT scan this week to determine if he’ll require any surgery to repair his troublesome collarbone, according to a report on the Cowboys‘ website. “We have a pretty good idea, but we’re going to get a CT scan here this coming week and then make all the choices from there,” Romo said. “I think we know which way we’re siding and some of the things. We’ve had exhaustive discussions about it.” In December, Romo discussed attaching a plate to his collarbone to reduce the reinjury risk. Romo said he’ll be “ready to rock” by the time OTAs begin.
  • Lance Dunbar, Rolando McClain and Morris Claiborne should be available to the Cowboys on cheaper, one-year deals, and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap lists them as free agents the team should consider bringing back. Fitzgerald suggests the team move on from Greg Hardy and consider bringing back DeMarcus Ware on a one-year deal in the event the Broncos release him to clear cap space.
  • The Packers hired Rams running back coach Ben Sirmans for the same position, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports (on Twitter). Sirmans will now be traveling from the league’s second-largest market to its smallest. He coached running backs in St. Louis for four years after spending the previous 16 coaching in college.
  • Lions defensive tackle Caraun Reid underwent ankle surgery this week but is expected to return sometime during the offseason, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. Reid started 12 of the 14 games in which he played, but was hampered throughout the season by the high-ankle sprain he suffered in training camp. The team regularly held its 2014 fifth-round pick out of practice down the stretch as a result. Reid is the only interior defensive lineman guaranteed to return to Detroit, with Haloti Ngata, Jason Jones and Tyrunn Walker‘s contracts having expired.