Eagles poised to pay Jalen Hurts as price tag rises

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 57 football game, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

If Daniel Jones can secure a ridiculous $160 million contract over four years, with $82 million fully guaranteed at signing, then imagine what Jalen Hurts is going to get. Back the Brinks truck up right now. The new franchise quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles is leaps and bounds better than Jones — unbiased, throw on the tape — and everyone knows it.

Hurts developed into an MVP candidate in Year 3, taking the Eagles on an improbable Super Bowl run while ignoring his many doubters, plus a bank vault of rumors saying the Eagles were trying to trade for someone else (Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson to name a few). Now he’s poised to fill that bank vault with cold hard cash. How much? Enough to trademark every motivational quote he has ever spewed.

“I had a purpose before everybody had an opinion,” Hurts famously told reporters during Super Bowl Week. “It’s not about anybody else.”

That purpose now has a price tag. Spotrac just upped their financial estimate on a contract extension for Hurts to $44.2 million per year, or six years at $265.3 million. It’s a life-changing number. Credit Jones and the New York Giants’ front office for setting the benchmark for Hurts — and for Joe Burrow (Bengals) and Justin Herbert (Chargers), his 2020 draft classmates — as the Eaglers’ starter approaches the negotiating table.

Eagles need to act fast?

The Eagles want to — no, need to — get ahead of those other bank-breaking quarterback contracts before the bands become too large to conceal. If they wait too long, then they’ll be reacting to the market rather than setting it. Not ideal, especially not when you have 19 unrestricted free agents ready to seek big paydays elsewhere. Hurts takes top priority as the new face of the franchise, something general manager Howie Roseman fully understands in the moment. He already went on record with a read-between-the-lines promise to get a deal done sooner than later.

“Tremendous respect for the people that work with him to do this, and you go through it in a way that you want to find a win-win solution,” Roseman told reporters on February 28. “You want to find something that he feels really good about, and at the same time that we feel good about and surround him with good players. He knows that. He’s a smart guy. He understands that. That doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be a tremendous contract for him because he deserves that, too.”

Franchise Tag Remains Highly Unlikely Option in 2024

The Eagles could play the ultimate waiting game and not extend Hurts in 2023. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal — one that pays him $4.2 million next season — and the team controls his rights until 2024. They could conceivably let the dual-threat quarterback play it out and slap the franchise tag on him next off-season. It might upset Hurts, but it would be an interesting business decision.

Slapping the franchise tag on Hurts seems highly unlikely, though. Roseman and the rest of the Eagles’ brain trust, including team owner Jeffrey Lurie, have gushed more than Niagara Falls about how much they love Hurts. They don’t want to put a bad taste in his mouth. It could cost them extra loot in the long run. Vice versa, Hurts loves Philadelphia. It’s a Philly thing after all.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have gone 15 straight years without using the tag, including five total times since its inception in 1993. The chances of Hurts becoming a test case are slim to none. He’ll get his money and it’ll be a mutually-beneficial deal.

“Obviously we want to keep our best players here for the long term,” Roseman told reporters on February 16. “And he’s certainly one of our best players. So that’s something we’ll keep all the contract talks internal but we’d definitely like to keep Jalen Hurts here long term.”

AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez