“Listen, I love Philly,” he said during an appearance on the Raw Room podcast last week. “If you don’t pay this man, just send me where he wants to go. So you’re talking about pressure: [General manager] Howie [Roseman]get it done.”
Roseman and CEO Jeff Lurie have publicly signaled that they intend to re-sign Hurts, who has one year left in his rookie deal and is now eligible for an extension. Lurie said during Super Bowl week that Hurts had nothing more to prove to be considered the quarterback’s long-term answer. Roseman recently added that ensuring Hurts remains an Eagle over the long term is a “priority for us.”
There’s a good chance Brown will get his wish, and soon, given the Eagles have enough incentive to move quickly. Let’s take a closer look at the various variables at play, the kind of money Hurts could have, and what that means for the franchise’s future development.
How much payday are we talking about?
The lower limit is over $45 million per year for upper-level quarterbacks. This has been established by recently issued contracts Aaron Rodgers ($50.2 million on average), Russell Wilson ($49 million), Kyler Murray ($46.1 million) and Deshaun Watson ($46 million).
Watson’s contract is the outlier with which Cleveland Browns the guarantee for the entire $230 million deal, while the average guarantees for Rodgers, Wilson and Murray are around $160 million.
What’s the rush to close a hurts deal?
He is under contract for the 2023 season for $4.2 million. While there’s an argument for holding off on an extension, the counter-argument is stronger to move quickly if the Eagles are sold at hurts — and it appears they’re after an MVP-level season that’s in a journey culminated in Super Bowl LVII.
As the salary cap in the NFL continues to rise, it has long been a team philosophy to ban core players as early as possible before the price inevitably increases. Adding to the urgency of this situation is that Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow And JustinHerbert are also pending for mega contracts. It makes good business sense to complete negotiations with Hurts before either of those QBs reset the market with their deal.
What is the risk?
As spectacular as Hurts has been this season, he has never had the opportunity to prove he can maintain this high level of play over a longer period of time. He showed promise in his first two years in the league, but not enough to keep the front office from looking at some other QB options this past offseason.
Hurts has dealt with injuries in each of the last two years: he underwent ankle surgery after the 2021 season and sprained the SC joint in his throwing shoulder against the SC last December Chicago Bears. Those injuries cost him just three games total, but both forced him to endure the pain on track. His playstyle lends itself to getting hit. Hurts is second in QB contacts (375) since the start of the 2021 season.
The last time the Eagles signed a quarterback to a long-term contract, things weren’t so hot, with Carson Wentz dropped dramatically shortly after signing a four-year, $128 million deal in 2019. When they traded him to the Indianapolis Colts After the following season, they absorbed a $33.8 million dead cap hit, the largest in NFL history at the time.
However, Roseman suggested that the past doesn’t give him cold feet when it comes to getting involved with Hurts.
“Each example is on its own. And you have to look at the individual player and that shouldn’t be decisive for someone we’ve given a contract that didn’t work out,” he said. “But I think when we talk about Jalen, we’re talking about a man that we have a lot of trust in, a man that we want to have here for a long time.”
Any chance of a team friendly deal?
Yes and no.
Hurts’ contract is likely to be close to $50 million per season, and you can bet his agent, Nicole Lynn, is looking after her client’s financial interests. It’s going to be a big piece of the pie, however you slice it. The Eagles just won’t have the same financial flexibility to build a roster as they had when Hurts was on a rookie contract.
By the looks of it, Philadelphia has 19 outstanding unrestricted free agents, including 11 starters, on a team desperate to return to the Super Bowl. But when it comes to the structure of the deal, the bet here is that Hurts will be open to any creative thoughts the front office might have to facilitate the hit in the name of preserving as much talent as possible.
When asked about his contract situation during the recent locker clearance, Hurts said: “The thing I focus on the most is winning. The only thing that interests me is winning,” he said, “and ultimately winning championships .”