As he preps the Oregon Ducks for the Fiesta Bowl, head coach Chip Kelly is also routing through offers from several NFL teams.
According to multiple reports, the 49-year-old has been linked to the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, and Philadelphia Eagles. As of right now, it is unclear where or if Kelly would jump to the NFL.
Kelly has taken the Ducks to four straight BCS bowl games, and has previously fielded NFL offers. He was linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vacancy last season, but reportedly turned down the offer because he wanted total personnel and team control.
With new ownership looking to make a splash, Cleveland let Pat Shurmur go and have reportedly targeted Kelly. The Browns finished 5-11 this season, but rallied towards the end of the year. Kelly’s expertise lies on the offensive side of the ball, and Cleveland boasted the 24th best offense in the NFL with 18.9 points per game, and the 19th ranked pass offense.
According to NFL.com, the Panthers could pair Kelly with multi-talented but inconsistent quarterback Cam Newton if they decide to let Ron Rivera go after two seasons. Kelly knows quite well how dangerous a player Newton can be. Newton led Auburn over Kelly’s Ducks in the 2011 BCS National Championship.
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The Panthers need to have a vacancy in order to hire Kelly, and there are many conflicting reports as to whether Rivera will return next year.
The Eagles had perhaps the most expected vacancy in the league, as Andy Reid was considered a prime candidate to move on after back-to-back disappointing seasons.
Philadelphia has made Kelly its “prime target,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Like Carolina, the Eagles have several high-profile and talented young players that can fit in Kelly’s high-flying system. Running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver DeSean Jackson could benefit greatly with Kelly calling plays.
Since taking over as head coach in 2009, Kelly has a record of 45-7 with Oregon. He was twice named the conference Coach of the Year, and in 2010 he was named AP Coach of the Year.