Lots of people have opinions about the Philadelphia Eagles decision to fire Doug Pederson, but your ears perk up when certain people speak.
Paul Domowitch of The Philadelphia Inquirer obtained a snippet of an upcoming Michael Irvin podcast where Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman - also a long-time analyst for FOX - suggests that he believes the decision to fire Pederson had to do with Pederson preferring to move forward with Jalen Hurts, as opposed to Carson Wentz.
“Jeffrey Lurie has paid a lot of money to Carson Wentz, and they’re on the hook with him, and can’t get out of that contract right away,” Aikman said of the situation.
“It’s my belief that Doug Pederson felt that Jalen Hurts probably [should be] the quarterback going forward. But how does that mesh [with Wentz still being owed a ton]? I believe it all came down to how they’re going to handle Carson Wentz.”
Because the Eagles were one of the sport's worst teams in 2020, Joe Buck and Aikman, FOX's No. 1 team, didn't call any of the four games that Hurts started at quarterback in September. Still, the duo has called enough Eagles games in the last half decade, that it's fair to assume Pederson has had some candid conversations with Aikman before games. (The two also had playing careers that had some overlap in the 1990s.) You're just left to wonder if, at any point, Pederson expressed frustration with Wentz, or if Aikman was able to sense that in pre-game meetings.
By all accounts, there wasn't one specific thing that caused the Eagles to move on from Pederson just three seasons after a Super Bowl title. Certainly, the team is in a difficult position moving forward at quarterback. But there's evidence that the front office meddled in Pederson's coaching staff, something that he may have eventually gotten fed up with. Lurie also seemed to suggest in his meeting with the media earlier this week that the Eagles feel they are in a position where a retool - if not an altogether rebuild - is necessary. You got the feeling that either Pederson didn't agree with that assessment or he just didn't want to be part of a few lean years before potentially returning to contention.
Still, this insight from Aikman is interesting to consider. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported earlier this month that the relationship between Pederson and Wentz was "fractured beyond repair." Though Pederson has publicly said he thought he and Wentz could still be successful together, it's possible that he expressed something different behind closed doors. Wentz, for as disastrous as 2020 was, is a year removed from leading an undermanned Eagles team to the postseason. And, as Aikman noted, the Eagles have a financial incentive to try to repair things with Wentz, and perhaps they didn't believe Pederson was the best person to do that.
If the Eagles preference is to move forward with Wentz - or at least have him compete with Hurts for the job - that seemingly could affect who they hire as their next head coach. For as great of a job as Lincoln Riley has done as Oklahoma's head coach, one of the quarterbacks that he has most successfully whispered to is Hurts. One would think if the organization hopes for Wentz to reclaim the spot as the franchise quarterback, they wouldn't hire someone so associated with Hurts. But with the Eagles, who really knows.