The Philadelphia Eagles were locked in a tight battle with the Cleveland Browns over Chip Kelly last week. Neither the Eagles nor the Browns won that battle, yet there was always a chance they could fight over another candidate. However, Cleveland has its future coach as of Jan. 11, unlike Philadelphia.
According to ESPN, the Browns have hired Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as their new head coach. This makes Cleveland the third team to hire a coach this offseason, along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
As for the Eagles, they are still looking at the likes of Brian Kelly, Bruce Arians, Gus Bradley and Mike McCoy. But the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears and now the Jacksonville Jaguars are without a coach as well. As such, Philadelphia could have to battle one or a few of these teams for a coaching candidate down the line, like it battled with Cleveland over Chip Kelly.
The Browns were a unique adversary, in that their CEO is former Eagles president Joe Banner. When Cleveland became a frontrunner for Chip Kelly, it seemed to be poetic justice that Andy Reid’s old partner would keep Philadelphia from hiring its top replacement for Reid. Now it is merely poetic justice that Reid has a new job with the Chiefs and Banner has a new coach, while the Eagles are still coming up empty for now.
At the moment, the Eagles are the team most likely to lure Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame, however. They will meet with him again this weekend, and still have talks forthcoming with Arians and Bradley.
If Philadelphia’s top choice is Kelly, its toughest competition will likely come from Notre Dame. But if it goes for Arians or Bradley, other pro teams will probably try to outbid it. But the Browns are no longer a team that the Eagles have to outbid, at the least.
The Browns have found their man, although with one playoff berth in 14 years and six coaches in that span, they may have to find a new one soon enough. Meanwhile, the Eagles are still looking for their second coach in 14 years, as their candidates and obstacles remain plentiful.