Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was open to speaking with college coaches for his open head coaching gig and according to David Jones of PennLive, he is "intrigued" by Penn State coach Bill O'Brien. Jones reports that the Eagles plan on setting up an interview with O'Brien.
The Nittany Lions coach's name has popped up as an NFL candidate over the past couple weeks and since then the main obstacle that has emerged has been a financial one. Reports say that O'Brien has a buyout clause in contract worth upwards of $9.2 million. Presumably an NFL team would have to pay that and pony up a salary of $4 to $5 mil a year.
And just what would they be paying all that cash for? Not a lot.
O'Brien's resume hardly has the look of an NFL coach. He spent one year as the Patriots offensive coordinator before moving to take over the head coaching job at Penn State, where he's been for one year.
There's little reason to think he had any more influence on the Patriont's offensive success than any of the other parade of former coordinators and assistants who have gone on to be NFL (and college) head coaching failures. In fact, given how little time he spent there's probably even less reason to believe he did as much for the Pats offense as guys like Charlie Weiss or Josh McDaniels.
While he has received high praise for his leadership and handling of the fallout in the wake of Jerry Sandusky, on the field he had what could probably be described as modest success. The Nittany Lions finished 8-4, which considering the talent he inherited is largely in line with expectations.
A lot has been made of this big buyout being the main obstacle for getting O'Brien, but frankly I have a hard time seeing how he's a candidate at any price.
Unlike these other college guys we've heard rumored, he hasn't built a program or complied any notable record of success. It didn't seem like he was doing anything particularly innovative at Penn State. It may be that O'Brien will turn out to be a fine coach one day, but I just can't see how that day is now. Give him a few years.
Check out what our pals at the Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries have to say about the O'Brien rumors.