Jeff Lurie calls shots at Doug Pederson 'clickbait' and 'hot takes'

Jeff Lurie calls shots at Doug Pederson 'clickbait' and 'hot takes'

Doug Pederson might want to send Mike Lombardi a fruit basket. Because now everybody has come to Pederson's defense.

On Thursday, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie added himself to the growing list. 

So what exactly did Lurie think about Lombardi's saying Pederson might be the least qualified head coach he's seen in his 30 years in the NFL? 

"First of all, those comments, you guys call it clickbait or hot takes," Lurie said at an impromptu press conference on Thursday afternoon. "That's how I saw that."

Lurie said he has a "strong endorsement" of Pederson. 

"Think about this," Lurie continued, "Doug took over a team that had locker room issues with the previous coach, lost his starting quarterback 10 days before the start of the season and was asked to use our young third-string quarterback. Had to put together a coaching staff, and my personal evaluation of the coaching staff he put together — or inherited, but was open to inherit — was outstanding, really outstanding. 

"That's a huge credit because quarterback analysis, locker room chemistry and the ability to put together a top-notch coaching staff, those are three real key ingredients, and I think he aced them all."

Lombardi, a former NFL general manager with a less-than-stellar track record, came out this week unprompted and ripped Pederson on The Ringer. Those comments have become fodder for local radio shows and have done the unthinkable: They've made many defend Pederson. 

"Now, everybody knows Pederson isn't a head coach," Lombardi said. "He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL. Pederson was barely a coordinator before he became a head coach!"

Lombardi might have had a point to some extent. Pederson didn't have as much experience as an NFL coach before getting a head coaching job as many others, but he did a pretty decent job in his first NFL season. The Eagles went 7-9 as Pederson navigated several tricky situations, including a few arrests, the quarterback shuffle and Lane Johnson's suspension. 

Earlier this week, Pederson defended himself (see story) and then one of the Eagles' most well-respected veteran leaders, Malcolm Jenkins, came to his defense, too (see story)

Lurie wouldn't say whether or not he expected the Eagles to make the playoffs in 2017. All he said was he expected the team to improve this season. 

"Yes, there's going to be growing pains with any first-year head coach," Lurie said. "We had that with Andy (Reid), we had it with Chip (Kelly), we've had it no matter who it is. I see [Pederson] as someone who can keep improving. He's a listener, he's a collaborator and I think he has terrific relationships with the players. The future is in front of him and it's there for the taking."

Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

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Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

The Eagles gave Nick Foles a little raise on Friday, reworking the Super Bowl MVP’s contract, a league source confirmed. 

Basically, the Eagles are rewarding Foles after he helped the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl a few months ago. 

Foles, 29, is still entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles, but the new deal also includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The mutual option will still allow Foles the possibility to test the free agent market next season, but could leave the door open to a possible return beyond this upcoming season. 

Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport from NFL Network first reported the revised contract, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and “several millions in incentives if he’s the starter and hits various benchmarks,” according to Rapoport. 

That part makes a ton of sense. If for some reason Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play in 2018 or if he goes down again, Foles will have a chance to earn what might be closer to starter money. 

Foles was set to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2018, with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million on the contract before Friday’s renegotiation. 

Wentz and Foles grew very close last season — third-string QB Nate Sudfeld too — and have both been very selfless in a situation that would be awkward for many others in the league. But both have been incredibly selfless throughout the entire process. Just this week, Wentz admitted he had to fight jealousy but was truly happy for his teammate and friend, who became the Super Bowl hero (see story)

Earlier on Friday, Foles tweeted out this photo with his wife and daughter from the NovaCare Complex. That’s a $2 million smile. 

Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

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Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

It turns out winning the Super Bowl is pretty good for business. 

The NFLPA on Friday released its top 50 player sales list from March 1-Feb. 28 and the Eagles were the most represented team on the list, with five players ranking in the top 50. 

3. Carson Wentz 
17. Zach Ertz
22. Nick Foles
43. Alshon Jeffery
45. Jay Ajayi 

This list is a combined total of all officially licensed merchandise, not just jerseys. It shouldn’t be surprising that Wentz is near the top of this list, behind just Tom Brady (1) and Dak Prescott (2). Even though he was injured late in the year, he was having an MVP season before going down and is obviously the Eagles’ quarterback of the future. 

But Foles making the list at 22? That’s pretty impressive. Remember, for most of the 2017 season, Foles was just a backup on a two-year deal. He had to make a heckuva comeback once he took over for an injured Wentz and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship. Foles returned to the top 50 list after two years off of it. 

Weirdly, Foles sold more drinkware product from Wincraft than any other player — 10 times more than any other player!

And there are likely a lot of Eagles fans walking around the city with players on their legs. Five of the top 10 sellers of Strideline socks were Eagles: Foles, Wentz, Chris Long, Ajayi and Jeffery. 

Only Brady and Odell Beckham Jr. sold more in Fathead decals than Wentz. 

Here’s the top 10: 

1. Brady
2. Prescott
3. Wentz
4. Ezekiel Elliott
5. Antonio Brown
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Beckham Jr. 
8. Russell Wilson
9. Rob Gronkowski
10. Derek Carr