Of all the various potential hypotheticals regarding the future of Eagles coach Chip Kelly, he never had been asked by the media about becoming the coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Now, Kelly has a clear path to Nashville, if he wants it. And if the Titans want him.
With Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie doing on Tuesday night what many national media members had said Lurie wouldn’t do, Kelly is now a free agent, able to be pursued and hired by the Titans or any other team. And the Titans continue to make the most sense, especially since they don’t have to give up a thing to get him.
With the Titans, Kelly would be reunited with quarterback Marcus Mariota, whom Kelly recruited to Oregon. Last year at this time, Kelly was raving about Mariota, technically in violation of league rules because he hadn’t been certified to enter the draft with remaining eligibility. Kelly then tried to trade up to get Mariota, but the Titans wanted too much.
Now, the Titans can have the coach who runs the system for which Mariota is a perfect fit.
While this year’s struggles could make the Titans leery about Kelly, he gives them something they’ve lacked for years: Relevance. And he could help give them wins.
Consider this — Kelly was viable in Philly despite a revolving door of mediocre quarterbacks, from Mike Vick to Nick Foles to Mark Sanchez to Sam Bradford. Despite not having consistently strong play at the most important position on the field, the Eagles won 10 games in 2013 and 10 more in 2014. With Mariota as the centerpiece of the team, things could turn around quickly under Kelly in Tennessee.
Much will surely come out about why Lurie decided to move on. Maybe Kelly tried to make another power play. Maybe Lurie told Kelly that, if he’s not the G.M., Lurie will hire one. Or maybe Kelly simply wanted out and figured out how to do it without putting the Titans in position to have to compensate the Eagles.
Regardless, if Chuck Pagano is going to be a commodity in the coming coaching carousel, Chip Kelly will be, too.