Where Should Chip Kelly Land?


After months of speculation, the Philadelphia Eagles made it official yesterday and relieved head coach Chip Kelly of his coaching and personnel duties, one week prior to the end of the season.

As we discussed earlier, Kelly the GM was so toxic that it completely overshadowed any of Kelly the head coach’s positive features which led him to a 26-21 record over the better part of three years (ask the people in Jacksonville if they’d like to have that record).

In Kelly’s final press conference before his dismissal, he was asked if his offseason moves contributed to the disappointing season.

“No, I’m not looking at it that way,” the now former Eagles head coach said. “I’m looking at it as we’ve got to finish out the season the right way. We’ll have a thorough evaluation when we’re done in terms of how we do everything and be very meticulous and detailed in terms of what we’re doing in terms of moving forward. I was asked that question the other day. We are not looking from long term what the season was about, all those other things.”

Kelly has plenty of merit as a head coach, and he could learn from this setback and become a better dictator leader.  Coaches must adjust on this level and learn how to interact with their employees, who often earn more money than they do and are just as educated.

So where are the best landing spots for Kelly?  

  1. College Football, In 2017.  Chip Kelly is a micro managing coach by nature and that plays perfectly in a situation where he has complete and absolute authority.  He doesn’t have to deal with egos, free thinking young men and millionaires in college.  He will presumably have his choice of whatever job he wants after taking a year off, earning half of the remaining $13 million left on his contract.  The former Oregon head coach can repair his image by doing television work.
  2. Miami Dolphins.  From an X’s and O’s standpoint, the Dolphins have plenty of pieces to contend and a quarterback that can run Kelly’s offense in Ryan Tannehill.  Miami had a soft head coach in Joe Philbin, and a tough replacement who didn’t have much ability in Dan Campbell.  The team might just be embarrassed enough for the quick fix, shock to the system which is Chip Kelly.
  3. Tennessee Titans.  Sometimes the obvious answer is one of the best answers.  Marcus Mariota and Chip Kelly won’t pick right up as they left off at Oregon, but the learning curve will be significantly lessened with a quarterback that’s been in Kelly’s system for three years.  Tennessee’s defense was respectable in 2015 and they have some young pieces on offense around the former Heisman Trophy winner that Kelly might not run off.
  4. Cleveland Browns.  How could expectations be much lower for the Browns?  Although this will likely end up in disaster, the team hasn’t responded to several different coaching styles and if anyone is going to get anything out of Johnny Manziel, it’s Chip Kelly.  Or they can make a play for Paxton Lynch in the 2016 NFL Draft or even try and trade for Colin Kaepernick.  Cleveland has nothing to lose and if he can make them a winner, there will be a statue of him next to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
  5. San Francisco 49ers.  The 49ers organization might have to kiss and make up with Colin Kaepernick, but if anyone can save his career it’s Kelly.  He’s arguably a more talented quarterback than he’s ever had at Oregon and just like in the Tennessee and Cleveland jobs, expectations are very low.

Our guess:  Kelly doesn’t coach anywhere in 2016 as the growing reputation of being a dictator and the whispers of racism could make him untouchable.  He can wait for the market to open up next year and possibly take the University of Texas job or a better NFL opening if one is available. 

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.