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QB Sticker Shock Should Make Things Easier for Eagles


Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

It wasn’t perfect but Jalen Hurts proved quite a bit in the 2021 season while helping the ‘transitioning” Eagles get back to the postseason en route to earning Pro Bowl-alternate status.

In his first opportunity as a full-time starter, Hurts showed he could win games with a unique skill set, something that should continue in 2022 now that the QB1 in Philadelphia has a better supporting cast and an even more manageable schedule.

The nebulous demarcation line to determine if Hurts is the long-term future for the Eagles remains fluid, however, and shifted again after a 7.0-magnitude financial earthquake out in Arizona when an offseason of discontent between Kyler Murray and the Cardinals finally ended with a massive five-year, $230.5M extension with the Cardinals.

That number is no coincidence either after Deshaun Watson got five years and $230M (fully guaranteed) from Cleveland. Moving forward, you have a pretty good idea of where the starting point is for the upcoming Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert negotiations.

Now Hurts isn’t in that stratosphere but he is eligible for an extension himself after the 2022 season and a similar campaign to the one he just had would certainly kickstart any conversations for a new contract at a $30M to $35M average annual value even in the most team-friendly format.

The Eagles still do have options when it comes to kicking the can down the road with Hurts, at least in practice. The organization could certainly force Hurts to play out his rookie deal as a lame duck in 2023 with the franchise tag serving as insurance for 2024. However, that path is typically not the way Philadelphia does business for good reason.

Allowing a QB or coach to enter a lame duck year in the NFL is a decision in itself, almost an acknowledgment that ‘we aren’t able to turn the page at the moment but we plan to.’ More so, the actual tag number this year was already $29.703M entering free agency before the explosion fueled by Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Watson, and Murray over the past year with more to come.

Once Murray is factored in the 10th highest-paid QB in the NFL right now will be Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins at a $35M AAV. You can imagine what the tag will look like in 2024.

Murray is an electric player but no superstar, at least not yet. Contracts are always about timing and circumstance, though, and the 2019 No. 1 overall pick happened to be next in line. Lamar Jackson should be on deck to surpass Murray, at least if he gets an agent, and the carousel will move on from there as QB prices serve as inflation talking points.

It’s hard to envision a tipping point where the Eagles believe Hurts has reached a standard where he is worth the current price of doing business at the QB position.

In many ways, a debate that has been raging around the Delaware Valley when it comes to Hurts’ future with the Eagles is being answered by the sticker shock of others paying the “elite quarterbacks.”

The path forward at QB in the NFL has never been clearer. If you have a star signal caller, pay him. If not, it’s time to take a college approach and turn it over every four years until you find one.

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