It's not very often that the Dallas Cowboys front office can puff out its chest with pride as its lack of dysfunction. But relative to the Philadelphia Eagles?
Puff away, Jones family. ... But not too much - not if Philly gets its Lincoln Riley wish.
I wrote a week ago that Eagles bosses Howie Roseman and Doug Peterson were involved in a "finger-pointing tug-of-war,'' and that owner Jeff Lurie "didn't know which side to take.''
On Monday, Lurie picked his GM. And coach Pederson is out.
Quickly thereafter, however, two sources tell SI reporter Ed Kracz:, Roseman reached out to Riley, the 37-year-old standout University of Oklahoma coach.
Writes Kracz:: “A source close to the Eagles said general manager Howie Roseman reached out to Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley about being the team’s next head coach, a call made not long after the team parted ways with Doug Pederson on Monday.
“It isn’t the first time the Eagles have talked to Riley about his potential interest in the Eagles. In fact, he and general manager Howie Roseman have a good relationship and it was a consult with Riley that helped sway the Eagles to draft both Jalen Reagor and Jalen Hurts, per sources.
“So, put the Sooner at the top of any list to be the next head coach.
“Of course, making it happen with Riley is another matter. He is making $6.5 million and has a record of 44-8 over four seasons in Norman.”
Some are wondering whether Philly did this without a plan. I say that's not an issue. Roseman is a very bright person. And his agent Bob LaMonte is a very powerful person. In one motion, Roseman can hire Brian Daboll, the touted Bills offensive coordinator, and put him in charge ... without ever having to mention that the marriage may have been pre-arranged, for, you see, Bob LaMonte is also the agent for Daboll.
(Daboll will be in who-you-know demand elsewhere, however. Chargers GM Tom Telesco is also in need of a coach and is also a LaMonte client ... and Telesco and Daboll attended the same high school!)
Or Lurie/Rosen hire a Pederson top aide like Mike Kafka or Duce Staley. Or they hire an Andy Reid disciple (the rumors of Eric Bieniemy "interviewing poorly'' are true, but that doesn't mean he can't coach).
Or ... Lincoln Riley.
Yes, we are just three seasons removed from Pederson’s winning the Super Bowl, one of the Eagles franchise's all-too-few moments of glory. But Howie was sick of Doug and Doug was so sick of Howie that the coach - who endured a trying season full of not only losses but also a bout with COVID - may have actually wanted out.
And that may have been the case before their controversial Week 17 tankathon.
But that doesn't make the job unattractive. There are now seven vacancies. There are plenty of candidates and even plenty of "hot'' candidates. (Is Oklahoma's Riley ready to move?) And while the roster is bloated financially, a healthy Eagles team - without the QB drama involving Carson Wentz and the drafting of Hurts, the fault of all the bosses - might've very well been the class of the division.
UPDATE: Two additional issues have come to light ...
1) Riley is aware of the power structure in Philly, where Roseman is the boss. He is also aware of the power structure in Carolina, where the former college coach Matt Rhule is the Panthers boss. A Riley move to the NFL would, ideally for him, follow the Rhule model.
2) Just as the Eagles have their Riley relationship, so do the Cowboys, the result of COO Stephen Jones' son having been recruited by OU. While it's too late now, with Mike McCarthy having been hired a year ago, Cowboys Nation would like to assume that Stephen contacted Riley a year ago (and was turned down), just as the Eagles are contacting him now.
The Houston Texans' situation, so screwed up that even good-guy loyalist Deshaun Watson is wobbly about staying, is way worse. Yet I guarantee you, Houston will hire a viable head coach. And the coach, guided by his agent (in Houston, probably LaMonte again) will get a $5 million a year contract.
Some people think the Cowboys are "screwed-up.'' I've tried to explain that Dallas is viewed by the coaching fraternity as "The Big Stage'' and that guys want this job, no matter the goofiness of it all. I think defensive coordinator-to-be Dan Quinn is proof of that.
There are ways to win everywhere, including in Philadelphia. Maybe especially with Lincoln Riley in charge. But Dallas? The Cowboys hope it takes them a long, long time to figure it out.