The Philadelphia Eagles went out on a limb to hire Chip Kelly from the Oregon Ducks. Not only are the Eagles putting their entire future on Kelly, they paid him through the boatload to get him to Philadelphia. In fact, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Jan. 20, Kelly will earn $32.5 million over the next five years because of it.
Kelly hasn’t coached an NFL game in his life yet, but this deal will make him one of the highest paid coaches in the league. With an annual salary of $6.5 million a year, the Eagles hope they will get more than six wins a year out of it as well.
This will likely only fuel speculation that Kelly left Oregon -- after a week of rumors that he would stay -- just for the money. Yet if he were to change his mind again at some point and come back to college after two or three years, he would leave a lot of money on the table. However, there’s no word on whether the Eagles are including a buyout clause in this contract, just in case he gets tempted.
Of course, the odds of Kelly lasting the full five years in Philadelphia are very uncertain. It will probably take just a few years to find out if his system can really last in the NFL, and if he is a true NFL coach. By then, the Eagles would probably fire him themselves if things didn’t work out, or restructure and sweeten his contract further if his first few seasons were a success.
These days, NFL coaches that actually last five years are rare, unless they win big immediately. The Eagles already spent 14 years with Andy Reid, which made them keep him on longer than they should have. With that in mind, they will probably have a quicker trigger finger with Kelly, assuming it isn’t too costly for them to fire him.
If Kelly coaches the full five years of this contract, either the Eagles will be contenders again or they will be too stubborn to admit their mistake. Either way, with $32.5 million owed to a coach who already has many question marks, the bulls-eye on Kelly’s back would be even more substantial.