Jalen Hurts has enjoyed an explosive start to the 2022 NFL season. He’s currently third in the MVP odds race and it’s easy to see why. Hurts has only turned the football over once this season, has 916 passing yards, 167 rushing yards, and has accounted for 7 total touchdowns. But with such an exciting start to the season comes a pressing question: When will Howie Roseman look to sign him to a new contract?
The lay of the land
Jalen Hurts currently has two years left on his rookie contract and the Eagles have a plethora of top draft picks in their arsenal. This gives them the ultimate flexibility in finding their long-term solution at quarterback. If Hurts struggled despite there being the best possible environment for him to thrive in, then the Birds could find their guy.
The good news is that Hurts has shown tremendous growth as a passer. He’s looking accurate on those intermediate throws, confident in launching bombs to his boys downfield, and has a new-found trust in his arm. If this trend continues, the Eagles could easily have a top-10 QB on their hands and a bevy of draft picks to continue to build around him.
So, then comes the next part: Paying him.
NFL Quarterback picture
The Arizona Cardinals gave Kyler Murray a five-year deal worth $230M this offseason (and a nice new clipboard), while Russell Wilson was given a five-year deal worth $245M before even playing a snap for his new team. Both quarterbacks are dual-threat guys who will absolutely provide a benchmark for Jalen Hurts.
When we look at the average salaries of the top-10 highest paid QB’s in the league, we can begin to see roughly where Hurts would fall.
NFL Quarterback average salary list
Sitting between Murray and Wilson would feel like a fair place to put Hurts, but only for now.
Lamar Jackson has gambled on himself in search of a big payday, and there is a trio of quarterbacks from the same class as Hurts who will also be looking to secure the bag. Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, and Tua Tagovailoa will all play a huge part in resetting the quarterback market for the next five years.
The Eagles could always use a franchise tag on Jalen Hurts after next season, which would cost them around $35M. This number could increase if any of the aforementioned names get a contract extension before then, which seems inevitable.
Red pill or the blue pill
There are two ways that this plays out. Howie Roseman jumps the market to reset it himself, cashing on on the early rise of Jalen Hurts and locking him down to a long-term extension before any of the other candidates get paid, bumping their price up. The other is that Roseman stands pat and waits for the market to establish itself, reacting to the new contracts as opposed to being proactive.
In the meantime, there is every chance that Jalen Hurts continues to ascend up the quarterbacking hierarchy, which will only further complicate things for Roseman, who would be sat back watching the future price to pay rise on a weekly basis.
Sitting back is not something Roseman is particularly renowned for. He did the exact same thing a few years ago in extending Carson Wentz before the Dallas Cowboys paid Dak Prescott. While the move obviously didn’t pan out as hoped, the logic was clear to see and the knock-on effects were identical. Dak is still the 8th-highest paid QB in the entire league.
We’re only three weeks into the season, but Howie now has to work out what else he needs to see from Jalen Hurts. If the questions were ‘could he get to that level?’ then they’ve been answered. If they’re about consistency, then time will eventually tell. But if Roseman does want to extend Jalen Hurts, it makes sense to strike sooner rather than later.