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Eagles head coach Doug Pederson to return for 2021 season

The coach is expected to meet with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie on Tuesday to go over the 2020 season and make plans and potential changes for 2021.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is expected to return next season, according to reports.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is expected to return next season, according to reports.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Doug Pederson is slated to return as the Eagles’ head coach for the 2021 season, NFL sources said Saturday.

Pederson’s return was increasingly expected and was first reported by ESPN and confirmed by multiple outlets, including The Inquirer.

The Eagles had no comment.

Pederson’s agent, Bob Lamonte, didn’t initially respond to a request for comment. The coach is expected to meet with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie on Tuesday to go over the 2020 season and make plans and potential changes for 2021, but it’s considered merely a formality, sources said.

Pederson’s fifth season at the helm concludes Sunday evening against Washington. The Eagles are 4-10-1 heading into the finale and will finish with their first losing mark since 2016 -- Pederson’s first season as head coach in Philadelphia.

After that 7-9 campaign, the Eagles had three straight winning seasons with postseason appearances. They went 13-3 in 2017 and, of course, would go on to win Super Bowl 52. And they followed up with back-to-back 9-7 seasons in 2018-19.

But the Eagles have regressed over the last four seasons, taking a step back in terms of playoff victories in the first three, and dramatically this season. They will finish 2020 with their worst record in eight years when they finished 4-12 in former coach Andy Reid’s final season with the Eagles.

Pederson, whose overall record is 42-36-1, projected confidence earlier in the week when asked about whether he’d be back, but said he hadn’t been given any assurances about his job security from Lurie.

“Look, as far as the reassurances go, listen, I expect to be here in 2021 until something else happens,” Pederson said during his Friday news conference. “But that’s the confidence I have in my ability, and that’s how I’m going to approach the next few days and really 2021.”

The Eagles will be without many starters and key players Sunday, mostly because of injury, but also because the team was eliminated from the postseason last week. Pederson said the Eagles would play to win to keep Washington from winning the NFC East. But he also conceded that many young players would be on the field.

Pederson is also considering not dressing quarterback Carson Wentz and if current starter Jalen Hurts and the Eagles were to struggle, play third stringer Nate Sudfeld in the second half, NFL sources said. A loss would mean the Eagles would have anywhere from the No. 3-6 pick in next year’s draft. A win and they would be choosing anywhere from No. 7-10.

It’s unclear how Pederson’s expected return will affect general manager Howie Roseman, but an NFL Network report suggested the organization will focus on getting the current leadership to turn things around. Lurie hadn’t considered not bringing the 11-year GM back as of two weeks ago, according to an Inquirer report.

Pederson and Roseman signed extensions together in August 2018 that would keep them under contract through 2022.

Even with Pederson expected to keep his job, the Eagles’ coaching staff will undergo considerable change this offseason. The news of Pederson’s job security came a few hours after it was reported that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is planning to let his contract expire at the end of the season and step down after five years leading the Eagles’ defense.

The offensive staff, which Pederson is more involved with as the play-caller, was shaken up last offseason after offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wide receivers coach Carson Walch were fired by Lurie’s direction. Pederson promoted Press Taylor from quarterbacks coach to passing-game coordinator, and the team brought in Rich Scangarello as a senior offensive assistant and hired Marty Mornhinweg as a senior offensive consultant.

» READ MORE: Will the Washington game be Zach Ertz’s last with the Eagles? | Jeff McLane

Also of question is whether the Eagles decide to keep Wentz, who was benched in Week 13 amid the worst season of his career. The Eagles may be tethered to Wentz, though, and the four-year, $128 million contract extension he signed in June 2019.