Chip Kelly is a smart man. Sure, his offense with the Oregon Ducks requires a post-grad degree, but his advanced negotiating skills are on full display this weekend. Over lunches that turn into dinner meetings, Kelly appears to be playing the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles off each other in an effort to secure the best possible deal for his services.
On Saturday night, Kelly was reportedly meeting with the Eagles. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that meeting ran long and forced him to miss a date with the Browns in which he was supposedly going to start hammering out contract details.
A deal with the Browns was said to be close on Friday afternoon, which sure looks like a convenient way to setup his Saturday meeting with the Eagles. Now, reports are coming out of Philadelphia that the team's brass is doing all they can to woo the coach. There was even a report that the Eagles and Kelly were close to a deal.
Meanwhile, Cleveland is throwing out a little subterfuge of its own. To wit:
Not a bad move for the Browns to put it out there that the team isn't married to Kelly. It might even be a way of suggesting that owner Jimmy Haslam has made his final offer. Besides the money and years involved in a deal, a decision might come down to how much say Kelly has on personnel matters.
So where does Kelly land? It's hard to say with negotiations having reached a pitched battle being played out through leaks and cancelled dinner plans. He could well end up in either spot. Don't forget that Kelly played the Buccaneers into a better deal at Oregon last year.
Anything can happen, but it does at least look like we could know something relatively soon.