What was expected to be a routine coaching hire has produced a juicy subplot.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday on NFL Total Access that Chip Kelly is a candidate to watch for offensive coordinator in Atlanta. That vacancy, of course, was just created by the departure of Kyle Shanahan for the head coaching job in San Francisco, which was vacated by the firing of Kelly after one season.
Rapoport added that Kelly's potential hiring would be contingent upon retaining the system Shanahan implemented and the Falcons' offense executed to produce franchise-record numbers. This could be a sticking point, considering Kelly's past interactions and his penchant for the spread and fast tempo that made his Oregon Ducks so successful, yet hasn't quite translated to the pro game.
Kelly was hired by the 49ers in 2016 just weeks after being unceremoniously dumped by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he wore out his welcome and bid adieu to important Eagles who went on to relative success elsewhere (Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy to name a few). His job was much tougher with a depleted roster in San Francisco, and an organizational house-cleaning cost him his job after a 2-14 season.
Even considering his head coaching history, Kelly is still considered to be an offensive innovator and great mind in football. How he could fit in with Dan Quinn's staff remains to be explored, presumably in the coming days and weeks.
UPDATE: The Falconshave agreed with Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to replace Shanahan as Atlanta's offensive coordinator. Sarkisian previously served as head coach at USC for less than two seasons, and at Washington for five seasons.