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Is Andy Reid Really On the Hot Seat?

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We’ve all heard the rhetoric. Last season was "disappointing". It was "unacceptable". Team owner Jeffery Lurie seemed mad enough to pull the plug on the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia after over a decade.

Except, as we all know, he didn’t.

Eagles nation rightfully read between the lines and assumed Reid would be on a short leash for 2012. Unless the Eagles make a deep playoff run, we said, Andy’s done.

But is it true?

In the wake of yesterday’s report that the Eagles are one of a few teams interested in trading for Cleveland’s fourth overall pick in the draft, presumably to nab Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, it’s worth exploring whether there is any truth behind the assumption.

During Lurie’s January press conference, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the 2011 season, but also gave Reid a vote of confidence, saying, "There's no doubt in my mind, if our focus is on trying to win a championship next year, the best coach for that is Andy." That isn't exactly a vote of no confidence.

Lurie also said that the players love and respect Reid, a refrain we heard all season. Heck, guard Evan Mathis caught flack for insulting fans who said Reid should’ve been canned.

Andy has long had the support of his locker room, and, from afar, the infusion of youth on the roster seems to have revitalized the coach as well. Even as the season was winding down, players seemed more than confident that Big Red was coming back. "We have a lot of trust in him, a lot of faith in him, and the franchise does too." said LeSean McCoy in December, "[The Eagles] know they have a good coach. If you ask around the league, he's by far one of the top coaches in this league."

As for the fourth overall pick in the draft, it’s reasonable to assume that teams are looking to move up and grab Tannehill, whose stock is skyrocketing. And with all the quarterback-needy teams out there, a move to the number four spot will require a hefty price tag. But as the Redskins showed us this offseason, you do what it takes to get your franchise guy.

But here’s the thing – if Reid is really on the hot seat, it would make more sense to move up to nab an impact defender, not a quarterback. And at number four, the best defender available will be Morris Claiborne, a cornerback. Even Fletcher Cox and Luke Keuchly, two of the draft’s top rated defenders, aren’t slated to go until several picks later.

Yes, he has a penchant for quarterback projects (and is even better at trading them), but Vick is still under contract for at least one more season, and if the defense fails the team again while Tannehill sits on the bench, Reid might not be here to groom him come next year.

Is Reid on the hot seat? There’s a convincing argument to be made, but if the past has taught us anything, it’s that Big Red is as close to bulletproof as anyone in football. This report is just yet another example.

For more Eagles news, humor and irreverence, follow Patrick on Twitter at @PatrickWall_NFL.