Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson may have made the questionable decision to bench Jalen Hurts in a winnable game against the Washington Football Team in Week 17, but his preference for the young quarterback over veteran Carson Wentz reportedly led to Philadelphia firing him.
FOX Sports color commentator and Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman appeared on Thursday’s episode of The Michael Irvin Podcast and said he spoke with Pederson after he was fired about why the Eagles let him go.
“[Eagles owner] Jeffrey Lurie has paid a lot of money to Carson Wentz, and they’re on the hook with him, and can’t get out of that contract right away,” Aikman told Irvin, as transcribed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s my belief that Doug Pederson felt that Jalen Hurts probably [should be] the quarterback going forward. But how does that mesh [with Wentz’s contract situation]? I believe it all came down to how they’re going to handle Carson Wentz.”
Aikman went on to add that “this kind of decision has probably multiple, multiple variables” but Pederson wanted to promote quarterbacks coach Press Taylor to offensive coordinator. Lurie wasn’t a fan of the idea of promoting the guy who was supposed to be helping Wentz develop. The former No. 2 pick regressed mightily in 2020, setting a career-low in passing yards with an NFL-worst 19 turnovers.
Hurts, on the other hand, threw for 1,061 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions over four starts and some change. He also added 354 rushing yards and three scores on the ground with two fumbles lost. The 2020 second-round pick showed flashes of potential as a long-term answer for the Eagles under center, but Wentz is still only one year into his four-year, $128 million extension.
The Eagles fired Pederson on Monday after five years with the franchise. He led Philadelphia to its first and only Super Bowl victory in the 2018 season.