If you've followed the news around why the Eagles fired coach Doug Pederson, you have been assured multiple times it had nothing to do with quarterback Carson Wentz. In fact, team owner Jeffrey Lurie said as much when addressing his decision to fire Pederson three years after he led the team to their first Super Bowl.
My first allegiance is [to] what will be best for the Philadelphia Eagles and our fans for the next three, four, five years. It's not based on does someone deserve to hold their job or deserve to get fired; that's a different bar.- Jeffrey Lurie
Well, according to Troy Aikman, who spoke with Pederson, it did come down to a question of Wentz versus rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts and how the team would proceed. Pederson felt Hurts should start. Lurie disagreed. Here's what Aikman relayed on Michael Irvin's podcast.
I reached out to Doug Pederson yesterday when I heard the news. I'm surprised. What I gathered, it came down to was a difference of opinion as to how they were moving forward at the quarterback position. I sense, here 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. And yet, it’s my belief that Doug Pederson felt that Jalen Hurts was probably the quarterback going forward. How does that mesh? Without having any understanding of what took place in that meeting...I think it all came down to how they’re going to handle Carson Wentz.- Troy Aikman
Based on that, it appears Pederson wanted to move forward with Hurts as his starter and Lurie wants to give Wentz another chance. That makes sense from Lurie's side. He signed Wentz to a four-year, $148 million contract in 2019. Because that deal comes with a massive dead cap hit if Wentz is traded or cut this offseason, the Eagles are essentially stuck with him for another year.
Wentz and Pederson were already at odds based on how Pederson handled Wentz's benching in favor of Hurts this year. Keeping the two together felt impossible given the multiple recent reports of Wentz's discontentment. The Eagles tried to spin it as if the decision wasn't connected, but the truth was evident to anyone with eyes. Now it's been verbalized by Aikman.
The interesting question is what does this all mean for Hurts? Lurie spoke highly of Wentz and, while he didn't guarantee Wentz would be the starter next year, he gave every indication Wentz would be given the chance. Hurts, who impressed many in his rookie season, likely wouldn't be happy to head back to the bench, but that will be a question for the next head coach.
Regardless of what happens there, it appears we have a pretty concrete understanding of a big reason why Pederson was fired. The reports of disagreements between him and Lurie on coaching personnel also likely played a role. As most assumed, however, this was about Carson Wentz. Lurie appears more bullish on Wentz's future with the organization than Pederson. Ultimately that disagreement spelled the end of Pederson's time with the team.