ESPN Reveals What Held Eagles Back From Hiring Bill Belichick: ‘Still Had His Fastball’

Eagles, Bill Belichick

Getty Images Bill Belichick says he would consider coaching the Philadelphia Eagles.

Nick Sirianni will be back on the sideline for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2024. Still, according to a report from ESPN, both owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman had varying degrees of interest in replacing him with Bill Belichick earlier this offseason.

“There was chatter in league circles that Philadelphia and Belichick could be a match,” ESPN’s Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham write. “Despite some owners and executives believing the game had passed Belichick by, the Eagles felt he still had his fastball.”

After the Eagles’ second-half collapse from a perch atop the NFC to ultimately losing in the Wild Card round, on the road, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wickersham and Van Natta report that Roseman made a phone call to “check-in” on Belichick after the six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach and the New England Patriots parted ways back in January.

Likewise, Lurie weighed the options between bringing Belichick to Philadelphia against the massive undertaking that moving on from Sirianni would be, despite a woefully disappointing finish to the 2023 season.

“You’ll have to start over again,” a source with firsthand knowledge of the Eagles’ thinking told ESPN. “Who would replace him? He hasn’t had a good record of developing coaches. They were afraid that he’ll have changed everything and every person, and [then] you’ll be starting from scratch again. He didn’t demand those changes, but they felt like, if we hire him, we have to give everything to him and trust how he does it.”

Belichick is just 15 victories shy of surpassing Don Shula as the winningest NFL head coach of all time, and, according to ESPN, would have interest in coaching the Eagles, Dallas Cowboys or New York Giants in 2025.

The Eagles have hired two new coordinators and expended significant resources in free agency to elevate the veteran talent on the roster ahead of what could prove to be a pivotal year for Sirianni’s future.

It is worth pondering what the 2025 season might look like if the Eagles regress even further, two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and Belichick remains available.

Jeffrey Lurie’s Vote of Confidence to Nick Sirianni

Sirianni boasts a 34-17 record since becoming the Eagles’ head coach in January 2021, with a Super Bowl berth and three playoff appearances on his resumè.

Despite what Lurie labeled an “extremely disappointing” finish to the 2023 campaign, Sirianni will be back in Philadelphia in 2024.

During the NFL Annual Meeting, Lurie revealed that the decision to bring Sirianni back was made after arduously examining what went wrong.

“We go through a very, very intensive process after every single season,” Lurie told reporters from The Ritz-Carlton Orlando resort during the NFL Annual Meeting. “This season was no different. Extremely disappointing ending to the season, the last five, six games. Extremely disappointing to me, very frustrating for all of us.

“But what we do is, and I insist on this, is there’s no recency bias, there’s no latency bias, there’s no bias. Take a very hard look at exactly what the entire season looked at, what the entire history has been over the last few years for our organization, for our team and listen.”

Despite failing to live up to expectations, and even though Belichick was available, Lurie still believes Sirianni is the right coach for the roster Roseman has assembled.

“A very disappointing ending but I don’t take light 31-7 in the National Football League. That’s extraordinary,” Lurie told reporters. “And so the ingredients that I’ve always seen with Nick are very obvious: The ability to connect, the ability to be authentic, incredible work ethic, high football IQ. All the reasons that he was hired in the first place have been almost magnified in the first three years because they’ve been extremely successful and yet that doesn’t ever take away from the hard look at the disappointment and frustration as it ended.

“So I don’t mean to diminish that in the slightest because I don’t. I live that and I care. So every element of why we were not able to be resilient as we expected goes into that analysis.”

Don’t Expect Eagles to ‘Reach’ During NFL Draft

If Roseman and the Eagles had an offseason “checklist” of needs to fill, nearly all of them would be crossed off by the franchise’s bombastic moves during free agency.

Saquon Barkley arrives as an upgrade at running back, linebackers Devin White and Zack Baun just might transform a roster weakness into a position of strength, and the receiving corps is deeper today than it was when the Eagles walked off the field in Tampa Bay to end a disastrous 2023 season.

After a frenetic free agency, Roseman says the Eagles won’t need to draft based on plugging a hole this year.

“What we try to do to the best of our abilities is go into the draft trying to fill as many needs as we possibly can through free agency, so we can be open to the best players in the draft,” Roseman told reporters.

The Eagles have garnered meaningful praise for being able to meaningfully upgrade the roster while preserving significant cap space. Now, Roseman and Philadelphia have the chance to add young talent and depth across the roster during the draft.

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