Forecasting a Jalen Hurts contract extension: Is $50M per year a fair price?

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) celebrates his touchdown during the game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 21, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles are now 9-1 and Jalen Hurts has proven that he belongs in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks. Whether it’s his refined passing mechanics, lethal dual-threat ability, or his smarts when protecting the football, Hurts has taken the kind of leap that Eagles fans dreamed of one year ago. But with next season new being his contract year, it’s a good time to start forecasting what an extension may look like.

Jalen Hurts has a big payday coming

Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer posted an article today citing that the Eagles may be looking to pay Hurts a deal with an average salary of $50M. This may seem expensive, but when you zoom out, it quickly becomes apparent that $50M would be a very fair price.

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. All signs right now are pointing towards Hurts being everything the Eagles need him to be, but is this offseason a good time to pen that extension?

How do you determine a ’fair price’?

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. That went well. Both quarterbacks are dual-threat guys who will absolutely provide a benchmark for Jalen Hurts. You could also argue that both have fallen extremely short of expectations this year, which should act as a stark reminder to Howie Roseman that quarterbacks can be a fickle mistress.

He doesn’t need to go back far to backtest that. The decision to jump the gun and sign Carson Wentz to a monster deal worked great for the first couple months…and then the season started. Before you knew it, the wheels were flying off the Wagon, and Roseman was already looking for a potential heir to Carson’s throne. By some miracle and some frankly brilliant trade negotiations, the Eagles GM was able to claw himself out of a very deep hole and it’s one he would be reluctant to fall into again anytime soon.

With that said, there is reason to believe that a $50M average salary is a very fair benchmark.

NFL Quarterback average salary list

QuarterbackAverage salary
Aaron Rodgers$50,271,667
Russell Wilson$48,517,647
Kyler Murray$46,100,000
Deshaun Watson$46,000,000
Patrick Mahomes$45,000,000
Josh Allen$43,005,667
Derek Carr$40,500,000
Dak Prescott$40,000,000
Matt Stafford$40,000,000
Kirk Cousins$35,000,000
Where does Jalen Hurts fit into this list?

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. Tua is a borderline MVP candidate, Burrow has been to a Super Bowl, and Herbert won the Rookie of the Year award. All three will be looking for big-time paydays.

If Roseman is too patient, there is every possibility that these four quarterbacks end up completely resetting the market. That’s not something that the Eagles GM likes doing. He’d much rather get in early and hold the value, even if it does mean potentially jumping too fast. He did it with Wentz, he did it with Fletcher Cox, and he did it with just about every cornerstone he’s had in the past few years.

If Kirk Cousins is getting $35M this year and Derek Carr is getting $40M, $45M feels like the bare minimum that these five quarterbacks (Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts included) should earn. That number is only going to trend upward. As soon as the QB extension snowball starts rolling, there’s no stopping it. The offseason very much becomes a game of who’s going to strike first. If Herbert set the market at $55M and the other four are now looking at that paygrade, we could see Tua push $57M, and Burrow $53M. This would all but force Roseman to pay a premium for Hurts, whereas a month earlier, that price may have been $7M-$8M lower.

Do not be surprised to see Jalen Hurts eclipse the $50M mark this offseason. It’s not an overpay, it’s not excessive, it’s right in line with a rising market and pricing in the extensions of four other extremely talented young quarterbacks.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire