Philadelphia Eagles Week 17 Stock Report
The Philadelphia Eagles dropped a bombshell this week when just days after being eliminated from playoff contention, the organization released Chip Kelly after three seasons. Depending on where you stand on the head coach and personnel czar, this either sends the team's stock soaring or plummeting.
On one hand, Kelly made a mess of things, beginning in January when he took over the front office. He made wholesale changes to a roster he guided to back-to-back 10-win seasons, only to take a huge step back in 2015, winning only six games. Of course the Eagles had to get him out of there.
On the other hand, it's not as if the next head coach is walking into a great situation. The starting quarterback is a free agent. The offensive line is depleted. The defense ranks near the bottom of the NFL by virtually any meaningful measure. Neither the handsomely paid free-agent running back nor cornerback had very good seasons.
The Eagles Kelly leaves behind are a group in turmoil. Maybe it's a good thing they parted ways, but what lies ahead certainly looks a little bleak.
Stock Up: Jeffrey Lurie
The mood in Philadelphia was not good. Based on Internet comments and talk radio, the overwhelming majority of fans not only wanted Kelly fired, but were relieved when it happened. They feel as though they got their team back.
Jeffrey Lurie is probably feeling the same way after Kelly's hostile takeover last year. The owner turned over personnel duties to the head coach because he insisted on having them and watched as a lot of very good players, players Lurie liked, were dumped during the offseason. Then when it didn't produce results, he cut his losses and said no more.
Lurie has been the type of owner to show patience with coaches in the past, perhaps to a fault in the eyes of many fans. Not this time. He did what needed to be done and swiftly, and now the Eagles can begin picking up the pieces of what Kelly destroyed.
Stock Up: DeMarco Murray
This is a speculative stock up for DeMarco Murray. In theory, the next head coach may install an offensive scheme that makes better use of the running back's abilities. Murray is likely excited by the prospect of getting into a system that more closely resembles one in which he led the NFL in rushing last season.
That being said, from where I'm sitting, Murray's issues this season had more to do with declining talent than usage. He lacked explosion, appeared as though he had to slow down to make a cut, looked hesitant to hit holes, bounced runs outside unnecessarily and too often went down on first contact.
Murray would probably perform better in another system. However, he may never return to the form that made him a two-time Pro Bowler.
Stock Up: Sam Bradford
One thing is for sure, and that is this situation probably doesn't work out too badly for Bradford, at least from a financial standpoint. Not only did Kelly revamp the quarterback's image around the league this season, but the head coach's dismissal suddenly gives him a lot more leverage over the Eagles.
Bradford would've been better off returning to Philadelphia if he was going to stay in the same system. That would've allowed him to progress. With that aspect out of the equation, it makes far more sense to consider all of his options, which could mean either the Eagles are forced to overpay or a large free-agent paycheck.
The Eagles could always use the franchise tag on Bradford to limit or prevent his movement, but that's not a horrible situation, either. That pays a one-year salary equal to the average of the top-five biggest earners at the position. In other words, Bradford is getting paid one way or another.
Stock Up: Pat Shurmur
The Bradford situation may wind up working out well for offensive coordinator and interim head coach Pat Shurmur, anyway. While other assistants are likely looking for work next week, the Eagles may be more inclined to hang on to Shurmur given his relationship with the quarterback.
Shurmur was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams in Bradford's first season in 2010. That combination worked out well, as Bradford wound up winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Perhaps Shurmur staying on and being able to play in a familiar system would make negotiations run a little more smoothly.
Ultimately, it will be up to the next head coach to choose his offensive coordinator, assuming that's not Shurmur. Then again, a wise coach might be willing to keep Shurmur on as an assistant if it's going to help in the efforts to re-sign Bradford.
Stock Down: Chip Kelly
If you're the Tennessee Titans and have Marcus Mariota, the quarterback Kelly coached in college, you're at least going to talk to him about your vacancy. If you're the Cleveland Browns and are in a constant state of mediocrity, again, you should probably at least pick up the phone.
Then again, it's far from assured Kelly is going to land another head coaching job in the NFL, and that's based in large part on the way he was let go in Philadelphia. Eagles owner Lurie said a lot of things in his press conference about the need for change, but the most damning was how many times he mentioned leadership.
Kelly turned out to be a poor leader. He was divisive, both in the front office and with some of the players. If you're an NFL team, you're taking a big risk hiring this guy to do anything right now.