Sal Pal: ‘I Don’t Think Pederson Survives a Three-or-Four-Win Season’
Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the Doug Pederson era in Philadelphia?
The only coach in Philadelphia Eagles history to ever win a Super Bowl, just three seasons ago, has the look of a coach who is looking for a way out.
All week leading up to the Eagles game against the Seahawks, we heard that second-round pick Jalen Hurts was going to be a bigger part of the game-plan, including running plays without Wentz on the field.
He played two snaps, throwing one completed pass for six yards.
However before the game, Geoff Mosher from the Inside the Birds Podcast and Football at Four, reported that team owner Jeffery Lurie gave the directive to play Jalen Hurts if Carson Wentz struggles.
Pederson said all week that Hurts did not take any more practice reps than a normal week, and reiterated that during his post-game press conference on Monday night.
"The plan was to use him when we could," described Pederson. "The way the game started, we just didn't have many opportunities, too many three and outs. I don't think we got a first down until the second quarter. We just didn't -- we failed to execute. It just wasn't in the cards, I guess, so to speak, early in the football game.
"But no more, no less than what we would use him each week."
Pederson of course acquiesced and put Hurts on the field for a play, before pulling him the very next play.
As the Eagles sit at 3-7-1, the NFC East is still in reach, but searching for another victory on the remaining schedule is very difficult. They will likely be an underdog in every game moving forward, except the Washington game to close out the season in Philadelphia.
So what if the Eagles end up with just three or four wins this season?
Could they really part ways with the only coach who has won a Super Bowl in franchise history?
"I don't think he survives a three-win season," said ESPN's Sal Paolantonio on The Sports Bash. "I don't think he survives a four-win season based on what I'm hearing now."
At this point it appears the Eagles are no better than a three or four win team, which means they might be looking for a new head coach for the 2021 season, because their starting quarterback isn't going anywhere.
No matter how bad Wentz plays, his contract says he will be back in next season, with a dead-money hit of $59.2 million if he is released in 2021.
"Everybody in the organization owns that decision," Paolantonio told me on the Sports Bash, when asked about giving Wentz an extension.
The Eagles finalized the contract in 2019, with immediate cap flexibility in mind, loading future years with bonuses to spread the hit. They just paid a $30 million option bonus in March, which prorates from now until 2024.
That leaves a $34.67 million cap hit in 2021, which is not exactly team-friendly with the looming salary-cap decrease to as low as $175 million because of financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic.
Wentz's overall payout is reasonable: a $15.4 million base salary with a guaranteed $10 million roster bonus in 2021. The deal offers more flexibility in 2022, with $24.5 million in dead cap and an overall cap hit of $31.3. At that point, the Eagles will have paid Wentz nearly $82 million over three years and could call it a day.
All of that is means if the Eagles are going to make a major change, its not going to be at the quarterback position.
"I don't think we can sit here on Dec. 1 and say with confidence and say Doug Pederson is safe," ESPN's Dan Graziano said on Get Up.
So what about Howie Roseman?
He is a popular target among Eagles fans about the way this team has been built. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf. Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson. Deciding on Hurts in the second-round of this years draft.
These are some of the higher profile misses the team has made, and that fans criticize Roseman for making.
"They all own it," Paolantonio explained about the decision-making process on draft day. "They all talk about having a commonality of thought. Talking to one-another before they make big decisions. They all talk about how Pederson and Lurie and Roseman are all on the same page.
"So they all own the decision, there is no wiggle room out of that."
"They were the ones who decided Reagor over Jefferson. They were the ones who decided to take J.J. Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf."
So while many fans want to point the finger directly at Roseman, there is much more going on inside the Eagles front office when making these important decisions.
The Eagles close out the season with Green Bay, New Orleans, Arizona, Dallas and Washington.
Something tells me we could be in for an interesting offseason.
The Eagles are on the clock with the future of their franchise, and being on the clock isn't something they handled very well in the recent past.
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