PHILADELPHIA — Long before the Eagles’ Super Bowl opponent was finalized Sunday, owner Jeffrey Lurie was thinking about the head coach he fired after an awful 2012 season.
It was one of the most distasteful decisions Lurie had to make since he purchased the team in 1994, what with Andy Reid having guided the Eagles to nine winning seasons in 14 tries, along with four conference championships and a trip to the Super Bowl. “Big Red,” as the players called him, is the Eagles’ winningest coach at 130-93-1.
People forget that it wasn’t just Reid who lost his job. His coaching staff, and others loyal to him were pushed out the door in one way or another in a purge that began before the end of the 2012 season. Reid knew his last game coaching the Eagles would be the regular season finale against the New York Giants. He got a head start that season clearing out the offices that are now Nick Sirianni’s workplace.
Deep down inside, Lurie knew there was a reasonable chance he’d collide with Reid in the Super Bowl because Big Red continued his winning ways with the Kansas City Chiefs, including a Super Bowl title in 2019-20, and the Eagles found the formula and won one of their own in 2017-18.
“I’ve thought about it because I admire him so much,” Lurie said Sunday in the locker room after the Eagles rolled to a 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game. “And you know we have an outstanding young coach in Nick, an amazing coaching staff. Amazing. And Andy is as good as they come. Give Andy a bye, which he’d have, very formidable. Give us a bye, very formidable. So, I think no matter what we’re going to play a really excellent team. Andy just makes it all the more formidable. Love the guy.”
Though the popular hot take is that Super Bowl LVII pitting the Eagles against the Chiefs in Glendale, Ariz. will be the first of many title games between the organizations, there’s a better chance that it’s a coincidence. The Chiefs have committed a chunk of their salary cap to Patrick Mahomes, the premier quarterback in the league. He accounts for 17 percent of the cap, which has limited the opportunity to attract marquee free agents and has cost them a superstar in receiver Tyreek Hill.
When the Eagles extend the contract of Jalen Hurts – and it’s a matter of when, not if – there will be similar consequences. Right now he takes up 0.7 percent of the club’s salary cap.
The Eagles and the Chiefs were constructed much the same way, starting at quarterback. Not coincidentally, Mahomes and Hurts are among the finalists for the league’s MVP award.
Reid hit a home run with Mahomes, who on one leg Sunday sparked the Chiefs to a 23-20 AFC title game win over the Cincinnati Bengals. In the 2017 draft the Chiefs dealt the 27th pick, a future first-rounder and a third-round selection to move up to the 10th spot for Mahomes.
The Eagles already had a franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz when they scooped up Hurts in the second round of the 2020 draft. Whether it was dumb luck or just flat-out great coaching and the will of Hurts to succeed, you won’t find a better bargain these days.
The Chiefs had a dynamic tandem in Mahomes and Hill (fifth-round pick in 2016) over four seasons, but the Chiefs were unable to afford Hill and he signed a mega-bucks deal with the Miami Dolphins.
The Eagles acquired their elite receiver A.J. Brown with first and third-round picks and essentially handed him a four-year, $100 million contract partly because they weren’t completely sold on 2021 first-round selection DeVonta Smith as their lead receiver. Brown’s deal won’t take up more than three percent of the cap until it jumps to eight percent in Year 3.
At tight end, Reid drafted premier tight end Travis Kelce in the third round and he’s on a cap friendly pact that won’t count more than five percent of the Chiefs’ salary cap until 2025. Eagles standout tight end Dallas Goedert is a second-round pick whose cap value doesn’t climb until 2024, when he’s due to occupy almost eight percent of the cap.
The Chiefs’ offensive line is solid, if unspectacular with one high-priced ticket in Orlando Brown, while the Eagles have one of the premier units in the league, including Travis Kelce’s older brother Jason at the center spot. All of the components were attained through the draft and under contract at reasonable costs.
Defensively the Chiefs have relied mostly on draft picks partly because that’s life when your pricey quarterback and top defensive tackle, Chris Jones (14 percent of the cap) take up so much space.
With Hurts in his rookie contract, the Eagles were able to sign pass rusher Haason Reddick, who took a cap-friendly three-year deal ($45 million, $30 million guaranteed) that won’t cost the Eagles more than 3 percent of the salary cap until Year 3. They also got players like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham to restructure their deals.
As Reid said after the Chiefs’ dramatic win over the Bengals, “Here we come, Philly!”
Enjoy it, because it’s not likely to happen again.
Source: Berkshire mont
Be First to Comment