UCLA Football: Rumors Of Chip Kelly’s Return To The NFL Heating Up

Two days ago, it was reported that a return to the NFL for UCLA Football head coach Chip Kelly was a real possibility. This return would not be as a head coach but as an offensive coordinator. Well, now rumors surrounding this report are heating up.

It is now being rumored that Kelly could be a package deal with potential head coach Dan Quinn, and the most likely landing place is with the Seattle Seahawks.

This is an interesting scenario for a number of reasons. For starters, this would be essentially a demotion for Kelly and most likely, a pretty hefty pay cut. Kelly is set to make $6.1 million this season and will make $6.2 million in the ’25, ’26, and ’27 seasons.

The highest-paid coordinator currently in the NFL is Miami Dolphins DC Vic Fangio. The actual figure has not been revealed, but it is assumed that his 3-year deal with a 4th-year option averages around $4 million per year. No knock on Chip Kelly, but it’s hard to imagine him becoming the highest-paid coordinator in the NFL, and if he did, he would still be taking roughly a $2 million per year pay cut.

So Why Chip Kelly To The NFL Now?

UCLA Bruins coach Chip Kelly
Nov 25, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the California Golden Bears at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With this new age of college football in terms of recruiting and NIL, getting to focus solely on offensive strategy, play-calling, and installation may be exactly what Chip Kelly is looking for as his career potentially winds down.

A coaching job in the NFL is still a grueling affair that requires more hours than most professions, but a coordinator role is notably different and less taxing than being the head ball coach of a college football program that requires so much more than just coaching football.

The UCLA Football program is also in a very trying time. They are coming off a disappointing season. The Chancellor is on his way to retirement. They are heading into a new era of Big Ten play. All of these changes are occurring and Chip Kelly’s job, even though extended through 2027, is seen as a somewhat lame-duck scenario.

At this point, Chip Kelly heading to the NFL is still more of a rumor than an actuality. But it is picking up steam and you can see the dominoes start to fall.

If it does indeed happen, the UCLA Bruins will need to move extremely quickly in hiring his replacement. And then the question remains, will this spark the search for a long-term coach, or will the University hire a bridge coach to get them through this season?

So many questions that need answers, and fast.