When Chip Kelly turned down the NFL before most teams could get a good look at him, he had already tossed two fan-bases into an opposing corner of the boxing ring business side of the NFL. Both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns scoff at the very mention of Kelly’s name, after he flirted heavily with both teams, batting his lashes, only to drop them off without sealing the deal with a kiss.
The Eagles knew they’d have to seriously convince Kelly to leave Oregon and as soon as they slid the napkin with Kelly’s salary across the table to him, and Kelly gave it a look, there was no going back.
The reason: the amount on that napkin was $32.5 million.
Philly had already met with Kelly before making him an offer nobody would refuse, so in addition to seeing what he did to two other franchises, they knew they had to go big or go home. And go big they did, as Kelly’s contract will pay him $6.5 million annually and makes Kelly one of the highest paid coaches in the NFL.
Sean Payton inked a massive extension with the Saints earlier this month which pays him $8 million annually while Bill Belichick’s salary is rumored to be just under $8 million, making both of those men the highest paid coaches in the NFL.
So while he’s accomplished nothing, Kelly is one of the top 10 highest paid coaches in the NFL and is, at least financially, already in the same league as guys like Payton and Belichick.
The Eagles are gambling big time on Kelly, who has zero NFL experience. Usually you’ll see a guy become a first time head coach out of college, but he’s been an NFL assistant of some kind at some point during his career. Not Kelly; he’s been an assistant before, but his resume only includes jobs at Columbia and New Hampshire prior to the Oregon gig.
Not every one is sold on Kelly’s offense sticking in the NFL, but the Eagles apparently are. However, the Eagles may have hired Kelly so there wasn’t a mutiny after the way the coaching search was botched up to that point. Only time will tell, but the Eagles have already made a $32.5 million donation to the Chip Kelly ways of worship, and fans everywhere are hoping it pays off.