Oregon head coach Chip Kelly wanted to come to a quick decision about his next job, and he may have narrowed down his choices.
The 49-year-old coach, who just led the Ducks to a blowout victory in Thursday’s Fiesta Bowl, is reportedly going back and forth with the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Early Saturday it appeared that the Browns were the front-runners, with Kelly and the team ironing out a deal that would make him their sixth head coach since 1999. Sports Illustrated's Peter King tweeted Sunday that the Browns may be out of contention, and that Kelly is choosing between Philadelphia or staying on with Oregon.
Kelly still had meetings with the Buffalo Bills and the Eagles, and wanted to honor both requests. Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Lurie may have made a strong impression and offer to Kelly, and the Eagles could have pulled ahead of Cleveland. Kelly reportedly met with the Eagles for nine hours on Saturday.
Each team has their pluses and minuses.
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Cleveland has a new ownership group that can start their endeavor by building around Kelly and their nucleus of running back Trent Richardson and 29-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden.
The Browns also have talent on defense with cornerback Joe Haden and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who lead the team in total tackles with 118.
Philadelphia’s roster does look much stronger on paper. Running back LeSean McCoy and receiver DeSean Jackson would exponentially increase their offensive output in Kelly’s hurry-up, quick strike offense, and the Eagles could even consider bringing quarterback Michael Vick back next season.
The Eagles also own the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft, while the Browns possess the No. 6 pick. Either team could address their defensive issues with the pick, or add another weapon to Kelly’s offense.
Though he has no professional experience, Kelly has been credited with influencing NFL offenses from the Eugene campus. The Ducks went 46-7 and appeared in four straight BCS bowl games since he took over in 2009.
It is currenly unclear how lucrative a deal Kelly is seeking. This is his second go-round with NFL teams, after turning down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a year ago.