Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie wants Jalen Hurts to be Philadelphia’s starting quarterback in 2021, according to a report from Chris Mortensen (via @WordOnTheBirds). The NFL insider had the following to say during a recent ESPN appearance:
MORTENSEN: “Yes, Jalen Hurts is the guy. Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Eagles, has basically sent the message to his personnel department and Howie Roseman that he wants to do everything he can to help Jalen Hurts be successful and NOT bring in somebody to compete for the job. Now, they have a new head coach in Nick Sirianni, he understands what the owner wants, the owner gets. And I might remind people on this one: last year, the owner was in favor of drafting Jalen Hurts. That created a ripple effect. But one thing that happened with the Eagles, screams to me, why Ja’Marr Chase should be in play with this pick, is that they did not stay true to their draft board. And their personnel department has a lot of Ozzie Newsome disciples from Baltimore. Ozzie always stays true to the draft board. Somehow, they got off the draft board and at No. 21 they took Jalen Reagor, the wide receiver, instead of Justin Jefferson, who had a higher grade on the Eagles’ board. How do you explain that? We don’t have enough time. But Jalen Hurts is the quarterback for this year, they don’t want to bring in competition for him.”
There are a number of things to unpack here.
- For starters, we should note how this intel differs from what Mortensen and Adam Schefter previously published in a joint report after Carson Wentz was traded last month. They said the “Eagles are likely to turn to Jalen Hurts, though they also intend to bring in competition for him. The Eagles’ starting job is not expected to automatically go to Hurts.” Now Mortensen is saying the opposite: Hurts is the starter and there’s to be no competition. Why the discrepancy? Well, Mort notes that everyone isn’t necessarily on the same page:
I would not report the Eagles have internal unanimity on Hurts as QB1 but sources say the boss, Jeffrey Lurie, has instructed his group to prioritize making Hurts successful in 2021 as opposed to creating a true competition.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 8, 2021
- Not very comforting to see the owner being this involved in personnel decisions. Ideally, you want an owner who hires a good general manager and head coach and trusts them to decide on the starting quarterback. Doesn't seem like that’s the setup here.
- The feeling here is that Hurts SHOULD be the Eagles’ starting quarterback this year. What does the organization really stand to gain from paying and playing a dead-end veteran (ex: Marcus Mariota, Jacoby Brissett, Tyrod Taylor) instead of him?
- One must consider the #smokescreen angle to this report. If the Eagles truly want to draft a quarterback, they don’t want everyone to know that. Being in that position would ruin their leverage for a potential trade-up or motivate teams to get ahead of No. 6 overall.
- Interesting to see the note about Jefferson being higher than Reagor on the Eagles’ draft board last year brought up here. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that. Jeff McLane previously reported the scouts had Jefferson higher but the coaching staff preferred Reagor. But ... it’s not like the coaches had the final say on that decision.
- I was a little lost at first on why the Reagor/Jefferson thing came up but Mort seems to be suggesting that the Eagles will pick Chase at No. 6 (if he’s there) and not force a pick on a quarterback because they’re going to go back to trusting their board and also trying to build around Hurts. Indeed, the Eagles should not be going into the draft with the mindset they need to draft a passer at No. 6 no matter what happens. At least three quarterbacks are likely to go off the board before their selection, assuming they don’t trade up.