Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota: Substantiating the Reports


Will Chip Kelly “mortgage the future” to land his former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota? That is the ultimate question. With the 2015 NFL Draft mere hours away, rumors and speculation as to what the Philadelphia Eagles might do are at an all time high. Is Sam Bradford actually the future at quarterback for the Eagles? It’s difficult to disseminate fact from rumor and substantiate the speculation, however, we have been given clues along the way as to what is most likely to happen.

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It is no secret that Chip Kelly likes Marcus Mariota. Okay, Kelly absolutely adores Marcus Mariota. Even so, whether he can or will pay the price to acquire him is very much still up in the air. Over the past few months, Eagles’ fans have been torn asunder over this very proposition. With substantial evidence supporting both sides, and the NFL in the height of an offseason so deeply entrenched in deception, it is difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. With so many teams’ personal interests at stake, disingenuous reports are spoon fed to the media in hopes of skewing perception and disguising a team’s true intentions. Occasionally, a report surfaces that (upon investigation) can be determined to be authentic, and lends a fleeting glimpse into a team’s best laid plans.

The one report through all of the chaos and confusion that I continually find myself revisiting, is the one by CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora from one month ago.

“People in contact with Kelly through his initial NFL coaching interviews say he gushed about Mariota even way back then, calling him the most talented player he had ever worked with, a tremendous kid and glowing quarterback whom Kelly believed “would win multiple Super Bowls.”

What makes this quotes so unique is the timeframe in which it occurred. We’ve all heard Chip Kelly refute the reports and claim that he won’t “mortgage the future” for Marcus Mariota, and that the proposition of doing so hasn’t even been discussed. Where I find issue with people putting so much stock into these quotes, consequently, is in regard to the timeframe in which they occurred. The fact of the matter is, given the current circumstances, Chip Kelly has absolutely no reason to be truthful in regards to any of his intentions. In the winter of 2013, however, Kelly was free to speak candidly and give his unfettered, untainted, opinion.

If Chip Kelly truly believes that Marcus Mariota will bring the Philadelphia Eagles “multiple Super Bowls”, it is almost unfathomable to imagine that he will not do everything in his power (and as of January that is pretty significant power) to ensure that  he gets his guy. To not do so would be blatantly irresponsible, if truth be told.

Chip Kelly is a supremely confident individual. He believes in his vision and makes moves with purpose and conviction. If Kelly feels that Mariota is his Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning, is there any price that is too high to pay for his services? Look at things from this perspective: What would you pay for a 21 year-old Aaron Rodgers? The answer to that question is likely some form of ridiculous compensation, almost incomprehensible, and surely unprecedented in today’s NFL. It stands to reason that this is how Chip Kelly views Marcus Mariota. If so, given Tennessee’s desperation to deal the pick, what’s stopping him?

It’s impossible to know whether the Mariota dream will ever come to fruition, but given Chip’s disposition, dogged pursuit, and stockpiling of ammunition it’s hard to believe the prospect of a Kelly-Mariota reunion isn’t likely. Only a few more hours, and we will know for sure.

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