As you may have heard, the Eagles’ head-coaching job surprisingly opened up Monday when owner Jeffrey Lurie fired Doug Pederson, ending his five-year tenure with the team. Whoever replaces Pederson (who has a statue built in his honor outside Lincoln Financial Field) as head coach will have mighty big shoes to fill. Despite the allure of a ravenous fan base and a major media market, Keyshawn Johnson suspects the head coach opening in Philadelphia won’t garner as much interest as others across the league. In fact, of the seven jobs currently available, only one—the vacancy left by Matt Patricia in Detroit—would interest Johnson less.
“It’s right above the Detroit job,” the former receiver opined on ESPN Radio Tuesday morning. “You’ve got salary cap hell, older players, quarterback controversy. They just fired a coach who won a Super Bowl three years ago.”
Harsh as that criticism may seem, the arguments presented by Johnson are all valid. Whoever succeeds Pederson in Philadelphia will be entering a tense environment with little to no margin for error. The Eagles have a disgruntled quarterback in their midst (Carson Wentz appears to want out following his unceremonious late-season benching), a meddling general manager (Howie Roseman) who undermined Pederson every chance he got and a financial mess to look forward to with Philadelphia’s current payroll projected to be $51 million over the salary cap.
With all that in mind, if you were a hot coaching name like Brian Daboll or Robert Saleh, would you subject yourself to that misery? Personally, Johnson would let someone else fall on that sword. “If I have better options out there, then I’m not really that interested in Philadelphia,” said Johnson. “If I’m one of the top [names], the Brian Dabolls, the Eric Bieniemys of the world, who are supposed to be these top candidates, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the last on my list.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean the Eagles won’t find a quality candidate to replace Pederson. But with more appealing jobs available in Jacksonville, Los Angeles and Houston (though the recent uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson makes that an admittedly murky destination), the Eagles may be left fighting for scraps, especially when other teams have already had a week or more to interview candidates.