Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
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Jones has been at the forefront of the reporting on not only the NFL's interest in O'Brien, but his interest in return. When asked today about the Eagles rumors, Jones said
"If the Eagles offer him the job, he's gone."
Further, Jones thinks that's the only NFL opening that O'Brien would consider. He also reminded everyone that O'Brien did say just a month ago "I'm staying." Of course, he'd hardly be the first college coach to fib about that...
Jones also speculated that while O'Brien's interest in the NFL is real, his flirtation this season could be as much to force a new deal with Penn State as anything else. Several reports have surfaced saying that in return for the near legendary job security given to O'Brien in the wake of the NCAA sanctions, Penn State inserted an incredibly onerous buyout clause into O'Brien's deal.
Some reports say it is over $9m, while others say it's in excess of $18m. This is money that O'Brien would have to shell out personally should he terminate his contract at any time.
Jones says that it's very likely that O'Brien and his agent may use this interest from the NFL to negotiate that buyout out of his deal to give him future freedom.
So, I don't think the objective for O'Brien is money. I think it's future freedom. Unless the buyout clause is nullified in some way, no NFL club can reasonably be expected to shell out that kind of cash simply for the rights to negotiate a deal with a man who's only been a head coach at any level for 11 months.
Jones also said there's "no way" the Eagles will pay any buyout to get O'Brien.
I've been assured by people close to the Philadelphia Eagles, for instance, that there is absolutely no way owner Jeffrey Lurie would pay even $9.2M up front, let alone $18.4M.
I already gave my thoughts on O'Brien here if you're interested. In short, while I respect the job he's done so far at Penn State, I have absolutely no interest in him taking over the Eagles at this point.