It’s been a rollercoaster year for Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts. He’s experienced some scintillating highs and delivered some worrying lows. We’re now 12 weeks into the NFL season and he has 16 starts under his belt. Unfortunately for Hurts, there’s a ticking time bomb and he’s getting no closer to figuring out which wire trips it and which saves his Eagles career. Unfortunately, the decision could be made before he has a chance to cut the wire.
Jalen Hurts is who we thought he was. A project quarterback who possesses tremendous leadership skills and a dazzling athletic skillset. What’s holding him back is a very raw passing skillset, weaker than average arm talent, and a weakness in reading defenses. We knew this coming into the season and 12 games into his 2021 campaign, the scouting report hasn’t changed. There in lies the issue.
It’s not that Hurts has regressed, and it’s not even that he hasn’t progressed, because he has. It’s that this was supposed to be a season that drew an overall conclusion. Three quarters of the way into the season and we’re not really any closer to finding one…and that could be a conclusion in itself.
Howie Roseman is a shrewd general manager and one that even in the midst of an absolute blow-up somehow tries to ensure that his team remains competitive and contending for an NFC East Crown. This constant itch for instant gratification has hurt the Eagles in the past and while this team is in a very different spot to where it was at the end of the 2020 era, there’s one gigantic factor to remember.
The Eagles don’t only have a trio of first-round picks next year, but for the first time in a long time, they’ll have some actual cap space at their disposal. This is more than enough for Roseman to make his push to land the quarterback he believes will take the team to the next level if it’s not Jalen Hurts.
That’s bad news. There has to be this sense of existential dread beginning to set in for fans. Anyone can see that Jalen Hurts has an incredibly high ceiling and has made progress as a passer. Unfortunately, that progress isn’t really enough to guarantee his spot for next year. If the Eagles move on from Hurts, it’s very reasonable to believe he’ll eventually kick on and find his way in the league as a solid starter, much like Lamar Jackson did during his second season. It’s not like he’s a bad quarterback, he’s just a raw one.
For every gorgeous deep pass, there are a series of misfires. For every rushing touchdown, there’s a poor read. Through 16 games, he has a 57% completion percentage. For context, that would rank at the very bottom of the 2020 QB standings. He would’ve ranked 18th in yardage, 19th in touchdown passes, 23rd in picks. As a rusher, he’d rank 2nd in both yards and touchdowns.
It all comes down to the type of team and type of quarterback that the front office wants. If they’re happy being a run first outfit and building outwards, then Hurts is among the best options available. If they want someone who does bring passing reliability to the table, nothing has changed in the past 12 weeks.
Jalen’s career in Philadelphia isn’t progressing as quickly as it needs to for the front office to get a firm read on who he is as a quarterback. He’s the same player he was coming out of college. If he’s unable to move the needle over the final few weeks, his future in Philadelphia is out of his hands. It isn’t about what he can or can’t do, but more so how long Roseman is willing to wait to see the finished product, and how long he can resist hitting that shiny red button to acquire the quarterback of his dreams, knowing full well he has the power to.
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