Chip Kelly headed to the NFL?

ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "have identified Oregon head coach Chip Kelly as the main target of its search for a new head coach and the two sides are involved in active contract discussions."

Schefter reported Kelly "interviewed with the Buccaneers last week and the two sides are aiming to work out a deal within the next 48 hours."

So not a done deal, but obviously this would feel fairly cataclysmic for Ducks fans. The Pac-12 blog was of the mind at the Rose Bowl that Kelly was in for the long term with Oregon.

Couple of quick thoughts.

  • Tampa Bay must really want Kelly. Unless there's a negotiated settlement, Kelly's buyout is $3.75 million and he's scheduled to make $3.5 million next year. So we're talking -- conservatively -- $8 million just to get started. Of course, top NFL salaries are $7 million.

  • Would Kelly bring a spread-option to the NFL (even though he ran less spread-option last year than ever)? Maybe. It seems the NFL, long staid about what offenses should look like, has become more open-minded of late.

  • Some will immediately think Kelly is getting out ahead of NCAA sanctions, see Pete Carroll at USC. That's not my take. The recent scuttlebutt has hinted that the sanctions won't be severe.

  • That said: Kelly is a football savant who loves coaching and watching film -- and watching film and coaching. College coaching includes a lot of non-coaching responsibilities, including the NCAA, recruiting and boosters, etc. That has never been Kelly's cup of Joe.

If this happens and Kelly leaves, the name you would hear immediately would be Boise State's Chris Petersen. While his name comes up with just about every major opening, he has strong ties to Oregon. He coached there from 1995-2000. When people talked about jobs that might lure Petersen away from his comfort zone in Boise, Oregon often topped the list.

The Ducks could double his $2 million salary -- and give his assistant coaches huge raises, too.

So stay tuned. As stories go in the Pac-12, this could become a biggie.

The Oregonian reacts here.

And the Eugene Register-Guard.