Follow the bread crumbs. That’s the key to figuring out scavenger hunts. Two days after Doug Pederson left the Philadelphia Eagles, those crispy leftovers are turning into stuffing.
Pederson toed the company line in Philly for five years as head coach, never questioning personnel decisions or dragging the organization through the mud. But his sudden and surprising dismissal has raised red flags. Now there are reports indicating the former head coach wanted to cut ties with Carson Wentz and name Jalen Hurts the starter in 2021.
It’s a plausible scenario considering it was his decision to bench Wentz in the first place. Meanwhile, there has been a growing feeling that Pederson wanted to leave and opted out of his contract. The 52-year-old had two years left on his deal.
Troy Aikman appeared on the Michael Irvin Podcast on PodcastOne to share insight on the Eagles’ situation. According to the former Dallas Cowboys legend, Pederson felt Hurts “should be the quarterback going forward” and team owner Jeffrey Lurie wasn’t on board. Interesting.
I think everyone needs to be careful using "fired" in the headlines today. This was clearly a mutual parting of ways and an amicable one. #Eagles want to go in a different direction and Doug Pederson wants more control. Both sides are entitled to it. #FlyEaglesFly
— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) January 11, 2021
Aikman confirmed he spoke with Pederson about it and revealed Wentz’s contract had a lot to do with how everything went down. Philly owes Wentz $78.4 million in base salary over the next four years, per Spotrac, with a potential $81.8 million out in 2022. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Paul Domowitch transcribed the conversation:
“Jeffrey Lurie has paid a lot of money to Carson Wentz, and they’re on the hook with him, and can’t get out of that contract right away. It’s my belief that Doug Pederson felt that Jalen Hurts probably [should be] the quarterback going forward. But how does that mesh [with Wentz’s contract situation]? I believe it all came down to how they’re going to handle Carson Wentz.”
— Paul Domowitch (@pdomo) January 13, 2021
Pederson May Take Year Off, Not Seek New Job
There should be no shortage of suitors for a Super Bowl-winning coach of Pederson’s caliber. In fact, he has already been loosely linked to several jobs like the New York Jets and Houston Texans. But it’s been an exhausting year for Pederson and he may want to take a year off from coaching, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The Eagles’ organization put him through the wringer in what was an already volatile year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source close to Doug Pederson said it wouldn't surprise to see the recently fired #Eagles coach take a year off. He might get intrigued by one of the HC openings but, as the source said, it's been a loooong year for Pederson.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 13, 2021
Lurie mentioned Pederson easily finding another head-coaching gig on Monday when talking about the “tough, tough decision” to part ways. Remember, neither side has labeled it a firing and the mounting evidence shows that Pederson chose to leave an unstable environment where he had no control.
“I really, really expect him to be a successful head coach in this league, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he is on another NFL team later this week,” Lurie said. “I’m certainly there for any owner that wants to talk about hiring Doug, because I will be a major fan.”
From NFL Now on @nflnetwork: Tough to get a good read on the #Eagles' coaching search right now because they didn't expect to be conducting one right now. They're playing from behind and trying to get their bearings after Jeff Lurie bounced Doug Pederson. pic.twitter.com/ykoxV0HcI4
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 12, 2021
Future Bright for Super Bowl Champion Coach
Pederson referenced the “ups and downs” of his tenure in Philly during a team-sanctioned farewell statement. His future appears bright if he wants to continue coaching.
“Although I am disappointed that this chapter of my career has come to an end, I am extremely proud of what we accomplished together,” Pederson said. “Through all the ups and downs, one thing remained constant about our team — an unwavering commitment to battle through adversity and to achieve our goals not as individuals, but as a collective unit.”
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 11, 2021
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