Eagles reward their best coach from 2023 with a contract extension

Eagles reward their best coach from 2023 with a contract extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles have rewarded their best coach from the 2023 season.

The team and special teams coordinator Michael Clay have reached an agreement on a contract extension to keep Clay in Philly beyond the upcoming season, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

This is very much deserved for the 32-year-old coach who has a resurgent 2023 season after a really shaky 2022 and 2021. The Eagles were patient with Clay and he came through for them.

In fact, while the Eagles struggled on offense and defense this past season, their special teams units were consistently very good.

In 2023, the Eagles led the NFL in special teams DVOA and were even ranked much higher in traditional special teams statistics too. The Eagles were also 10th in Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings after being 31st in 2022.

There’s no question that the Eagles were much improved in the third phase of the game this past season and Clay deserves a ton of credit.

In December, Clay was asked about the vote of confidence he received from head coach Nick Sirianni after the 2022 season and it was clear how much it meant to him. He said Sirianni did an “unbelievable job instilling trust and confidence” in folks in the building.

Why did Clay think Sirianni was confident in him?

“I think he understands in terms of work ethic we all have in this building special teams-wise,” Clay said on Dec. 22. “The end product at times last year wasn’t what we wanted. Call a spade a spade. Wasn’t good enough in the NFL. It’s a production-based business.

“He understands how hard we work to try and help this time any way we possibly can. Seeing what the guys will do for us in terms of just understanding that we always have their back and just trying to look out for them to get the best they possibly can.

“I think back to Nick just being unbelievable in terms of that, is he keeps seeing it, I got to keep repaying it back to him to put this team in the best possible spot. Like I said, the guys have done an unbelievable job all year and it’s shown in a lot of big games that we helped in field position and spark the energy for this team."

The Eagles also got some great individual performances on special teams this season. Jake Elliott had the best season of his career, making 30 of 32 field goals and 7 of 8 from 50+, including some with incredibly high degrees of difficulty. Punter Braden Mann took over for Arryn Siposs and had a great season. Britain Covey continued to improve and was one of the best punt returners in the NFL. And guys like Josh Jobe and Kelee Ringo were fantastic gunners in punt coverage.

This offseason, two of the Eagles’ three specialists (Mann and long snapper Rick Lovato) are pending free agents. So Howie Roseman has some work to do to keep some of Clay’s top guys together.

The Eagles hired Clay as their special teams coordinator under Sirianni for the 2021 season. Before then, he was an assistant special teams coach with the 49ers from 2018-2020. While the Eagles’ coaching staff is undergoing major changes this offseason, it’s a wise move to lock up Clay for even longer.

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