The New England Patriots may be on the verge of losing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after he was named “a prime candidate” for the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coaching vacancy by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler this week.
Multiple sources connected to #Eagles coaching search believe #Patriots OC Josh McDaniels is a prime candidate for the HC job. #Bucs DC Todd Bowles interviews this afternoon and has some internal support. #Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy does not have interview planned. Stay tuned.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 18, 2021
In order to entice McDaniels to leave the club he has dedicated 17 of his last 20 seasons to, the Eagles will have to jump pretty high to best the salary he’s receiving from the Patriots. The 44-year-old coordinator’s earnings likely set the bar for a coach with his tenure and resume and could be the key to what happens with other top head-coaching candidates around the league.
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McDaniels’ Current Salary Rivals Some Entry-Level Head Coaches
According to Spotrac, McDaniels is currently raking in $4 million per year in his current role with the Patriots.
Josh McDaniels earns a reported $4M per year as the #Patriots' OC.
Does a deal north of this keep Eric Bieniemy w/ the #Chiefs?
— Spotrac (@spotrac) January 17, 2021
That’s about as much as an entry-level head coach would make in today’s NFL. Though he has other responsibilities as New England’s de facto general manager, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is rumored to be the NFL’s highest-paid head coach, though not many outside of Robert Kraft can confirm that. A few media reports from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio in 2018 place Belichick’s annual wages between $10 million and 12.5 million, but again, no one on the outside can say for certain.
Word on the street is that Belichick makes $12.5 million per year. https://t.co/xY6fSvblRe
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 6, 2018
Regardless, McDaniels is still a ways off from bringing in the kind of coin associated with the league’s top head coaches.
As Spotrac notes in its tweet, you’d have to guess that the Kansas City Chiefs might have to give Eric Bieniemy a massive raise to bring him above McDaniels. Considering the Eagles put in a request on Saturday to interview the Super Bowl-winning offensive coordinator (per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo), that might be a necessity if they hope to convince him to stay with the organization.
After seven interviews and no job offers over the past two offseasons, Bieniemy is arguably the hottest head-coaching candidate in the NFL again this year. Thus far, the 51-year-old has conducted virtual interviews with six clubs, though five of the openings have been filled, leaving just the Houston Texans and Eagles as potential landing spots.
Something tells me he’s ready for the next challenge, and the likelihood of him turning down a head-coaching opportunity — no matter what or where the offer might be — to remain a coordinator is unlikely.
The Eagles Job Might Be McDaniels’ Last Chance
As respected as McDaniels is in some circles when it comes to his performance as a coordinator, he’s not as highly thought of as a head coach. In 2009-10, he had an opportunity to run the show in Denver after being given complete control over player personnel decisions for the Broncos.
Unfortunately, that went south quickly and he was fired early in his second season with the team. Fresh off of a high-scoring Super Bowl loss to the Eagles back in 2018, the Indianapolis Colts announced him as their new head coach, but McDaniels changed his mind and reneged on the offer. There is some belief he stained his reputation by turning his back on the Colts after agreeing to become their head coach.
When you also consider the Patriots’ offense, which is his primary responsibility, struggled mightily in 2020, there are several reasons to be down on McDaniels’ chances of becoming a good head coach.
That’s why it could be perplexing for someone to automatically assume McDaniels will beat out the likes of Bieniemy or Todd Bowles, who also interviewed “well” for the Eagles job on Monday, per John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
In any case, McDaniels will be an even richer man if he is offered the job in Philadelphia. If not, his Patriots salary is nothing to sneeze at, and he’s still the most likely successor for the Patriots whenever Belichick decides to retire. Overall, McDaniels could be in a far worse spot.
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