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Report: Jim Schwartz won’t return to Eagles in 2021

Philadelphia will have a new defensive coordinator in 2021.

New York Jets v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Fans and media members alike have called for changes on the Eagles’ offensive coaching staff after a new think tank failed to produce positive results in 2020. But the first change to the Eagles’ coaching staff in the 2020 offseason wasn’t on the offensive side of the football; it was on the defense.

Longtime defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz intends to let his contract expire with the Eagles and is contemplating retirement.

The news was first broken by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and later confirmed by multiple other Eagles and national writers. Pelissero reports that Schwartz will take a year off from coaching as he mulls his coaching options for the next stage of his career, and will consider retirement.

Schwartz is 54 and started working in football at 23. His only off year was in 2015, when he was let go as the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills and took the year to consult with the league office on officiating judgments. Pelissero’s report also notes that Schwartz has had recent hip and eye surgeries and wants to take a break from the daily grind of coaching, which is remarkably rigorous.

Schwartz has been the czar of the defense under green head coach Doug Pederson since 2016, when he was paired with Pederson as an experienced right-hand man. After finishing with the 4th and 5th ranked defenses in his first two seasons by DVOA, Schwartz’s defenses have ranked 15th, 12th, and 17th over the last three seasons. The Eagles have signed mega-extensions for Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, as well as added high-ticket free agents like Malik Jackson and Javon Hargrave over that time, as a strong front-four is the calling card of the Schwartz defense.

The next coordinator the Eagles bring in will likely share a similar philosophy in building through the trenches, but should bring some creative ideas to buttress a secondary that currently lacks any young and exciting talent.