The Philadelphia Eagles made the last major hire in the coaching free agent market on Jan. 16. But even after the Eagles introduced Chip Kelly on Jan. 17, there were still a few more teams that had to find new coaches. As such, the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars ended things on Jan. 17 by hiring some familiar names.
First the Jaguars picked up the Eagles’ second choice in Gus Bradley, who had nowhere else to turn after the Eagles picked up Kelly. Just 48 hours earlier, Bradley looked like Philadelphia’s top and only choice, yet he settled for becoming the head coach of 2-14 Jacksonville in the end. That left the Cardinals as the last team which didn’t have a coach.
Two weeks earlier, there was massive speculation that Andy Reid would take over in Arizona, before he went to the Kansas City Chiefs. Then to further drive home the links between the Eagles and Cardinals, Philadelphia interviewed former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt at the beginning of this week, as he appeared to be the second choice to Bradley.
Yet in the end, Whisenhunt joined the San Diego Chargers and new coach Mike McCoy as their offensive coordinator on Jan. 17. Hours later, the Cardinals hired the only Eagles candidate who wasn’t actually interviewed by them.
Bruce Arians was originally rumored to talk to Philadelphia on Jan. 15, but nothing came out of it as the Eagles were focused on Bradley and Kelly. Nevertheless, Arians closed the coaching free agency season by signing with the Cardinals, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Eagles were among seven teams who fired their head coaches on Dec. 31, with the Jaguars firing their own days later. Now there are no more available positions until next season, unless there is a surprise firing or retirement in the months ahead. Nevertheless, the days of multiple teams battling it out for new coaches are done until next January.
Although the Cardinals and Jaguars officially brought this saga to an end by hiring Arians and Bradley, the Eagles made the last big splash by getting Kelly out of nowhere. Arizona and Jacksonville merely provided the epilogue, yet Philadelphia’s equally long search and its surprise ending will define the 2013 coaching offseason.