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January 10, 2021

Report: Doug Pederson 'could be out' as Eagles head coach

Could Jeffrey Lurie be looking to trade his head coach to another team?

When the Philadelphia Eagles made Doug Pederson available for an end-of-season press conference last Monday, it was assumed that Pederson would remain with the team in 2021, unofficially confirming reporting the previous Saturday by Adam Schefter of ESPN that Pederson was "expected to return" as the Eagles' head coach.

On Sunday of Wildcard weekend, Chris Mortensen and Tim McManus of ESPN are now reporting that Pederson "could be out if owner Jeffrey Lurie is not confident about Pederson’s vision going forward."

Why now? Why would Lurie still have questions about Pederson's direction of the team going forward, a full week after the season ended, and two weeks after the team was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention?

One possibility is that the Eagles could perhaps be looking to "trade" Pederson for draft pick compensation. As we noted in our mailbag Sunday morning, there was a recent report by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk that suggested that one of the teams looking for a new head coach might be interested in an already employed head coach:

It’s a viable strategy for any coach seeking a new head coach, and hoping to hire a proven commodity instead of relying on the potential Peter Principle-proving promotion of a coordinator. It’s not a trade per se, because it starts with the new team calling a coach’s current team, inquiring about whether the current team would be willing to be compensated for losing the coach, and reaching a deal for what the compensation would be. Then, the new team would communicate directly with the coach in the hopes of working out a contract pursuant to which he’d be employed by the new team.

In the current cycle, there’s buzz that one of the teams currently looking for a coach — the Jets, Jaguars, Lions, Falcons, Chargers, and Texans — could attempt to hire a current head coach with another team. The coach’s current team could end it all quickly by hanging up the phone. But it costs nothing to make the call, and it’s believed that at least one team may make the call to one of the teams that, at least for now, has a head coach.

The Jets need a head coach, and obviously, Pederson and Joe Douglas worked together in Philly. The Jets also have an extra first round pick, an extra third round pick, and either an extra fourth or fifth round pick, depending on conditions from their trade of Leonard Williams. Add in recent reporting that Pederson wouldn't mind being somewhere else, and that possibility is beginning to make some sense.

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It's also worth noting that my podcast partner Brandon Gowton of BGN dug up the following blurb about the Jets' coaching search from a month ago, via ESPN's Rich Cimini:

A Philly special in N.Y.? When the Jets start their head-coaching search, which appears inevitable, one name to watch is Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson. You can already hear the rumblings in league circles. His stock is down because the Eagles (3-7-1) are struggling and quarterback Carson Wentz is regressing, but he's a Super Bowl-winning coach with an important connection to the Jets.

Pederson and Jets GM Joe Douglas arrived the same year (2016) in Philadelphia, where Douglas served as the vice president of player personnel. They worked together for three years, highlighted by the Super Bowl championship in the 2017 season. Right now, things are so bad in Philly that Pederson's job security has become an issue. If he gets fired, he'd be free to talk to any team. There's some thought the Eagles might look to "trade" him, extracting compensation from another team.

The Eagles' 2020 regular season was a outright disaster. The 2021 offseason is not off to an encouraging start.

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