The Eagles and Jalen Hurts are going to be together for a very long time.
Everyone knew a deal was coming, but it’s still a shock when your team dishes out a five-year, $255 million extension, with $179 million guaranteed, establishing him as the highest-paid player in NFL history.
For the moment, anyway.
Reaction to the Hurts deal will pour in over the next few days but, for now, here are 6 pros and 2 potential cons of the Hurts megadeal.
Pro: No Doubt He Can Win a Super Bowl
How many NFL QBs can one say with reasonable certainty can win a Super Bowl? Only a handful have actually played in one over the last 10 years, many of them well past their prime or not even playing anymore:
- Patrick Mahomes - Chiefs
- Joe Burrow - Bengals
- Matthew Stafford - Rams
- Jimmy Garoppolo - 49ers
- Jared Goff - Lions
- Tom Brady - (retired)
- Matt Ryan - (TBD)
- Russell Wilson - Broncos
- Cam Newton - (trying to get hired)
- Peyton Manning - (ManningCast)
- Nick Foles (GOAT)
What other QBs have the physical traits and talent to win a Super Bowl? Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, and Trevor Lawrence almost certainly. Is Aaron Rodgers still good enough? Kirk Cousins? Kyler Murray, Derek Carr? Tua Tagovailoa? DeShaun Watson?
Hurts is only one of maybe 5-7 quarterbacks in the league who has proven he can play his best on the biggest stage. His Super Bowl performance against the Chiefs was the stuff of legends, perhaps his best game ever (the fumble-six aside), and he did it carrying the entire team on his back.
There’s no questioning whether Hurts can win a Super Bowl. He’s proven he can, even though he hasn’t, if that makes sense. You must pay to keep that type of player in the fold.
Pro: Perfect for Modern NFL Offense
The NFL is in a place right now where dual-threat quarterbacks are all the rage. Defenses simply don’t know how to stop guys like Hurts.
Jalen Hurts had 18 Rush TD in 2022 including playoffs, the most in a season by a QB in NFL history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 17, 2023
In the Super Bowl, Jalen Hurts became the 2nd QB in NFL history to record 3 Rush TD in a playoff game joining Otto Graham in the 1954 NFL Championship. pic.twitter.com/jKjBMcV4OK
He came into the league with intangibles that were off the charts and a running ability that was second-to-none. However, his development as a passer in 2023 was perhaps the most stunning progression from one season to another that we’ve ever seen. He can literally do it all.
Plays like these are why @JalenHurts just got paid. pic.twitter.com/gzONDWvqfT— NFL (@NFL) April 17, 2023
That is why you pay Jalen Hurts. He is perfect for the modern NFL and does everything at an elite level.
Pro: Everyone Wants to Play with Jalen Hurts
Everyone loves Hurts. Everyone. If you find someone with a bad thing to say about the guy, it’ll be the first I’ve seen, and perhaps as much as anyone else in the league, his presence is a selling point to prospective free agents and trade candidates.
Teams know how good Hurts is and respect both his skills on the field and his presence off it. Players also want an opportunity to win a Super Bowl, and as long as Hurts is the starting QB, the Eagles will be perennial contenders.
So not only do you get a great player at the most important position in sports, you have an ambassador for your team who shows the world on a weekly basis how great it is to play in Philadelphia.
Hard work Always Prevails!!! Congrats to JHurts. Best thing about a guy like him is the work Never stops!— Budda Baker (@Buddabaker3) April 17, 2023
Pro: Got it in Before Burrow, Herbert, & Lamar
Getting the deal done now was extremely important, because a trio of QBs will be getting extensions of their own soon.
Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, who has also played, and lost, in a Super Bowl, has a bill coming due, as do the Chargers’ Justin Herbert and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. Had they signed before Hurts, there’s no doubt they would have locked in similar deals and driven up the price of Jalen’s contract even higher.
The Eagles are paying Hurts a ton, but if they’d waited, it would be a lot more. By the time those three guys have inked their deals, Hurts’ will look reasonable by comparison.
Pro: Stability and Cost Certainty
The NFL Network says Hurts’ deal will pay him $64 million through the first year of the extension, meaning $64 million over this year and next. With the cap expected to jump from $224.8 million this year to a projected $256 million in 2024, according to Over The Cap, now was the right time to get this thing done. And sure, the average annual value is high...
Highest-paid QBs in the NFL in new money average per year:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 17, 2023
1. Jalen Hurts: $51M
2. Aaron Rodgers: $49M
3. Kyler Murray: $46.1M
4. Deshaun Watson: $46M
5. Patrick Mahomes: $45M
6. Josh Allen: $43M
T-7. Daniel Jones: $40M
T-7. Matthew Stafford: $40M
T-7. Dak Prescott: $40M
...but as you’ll see below, it won’t count that much against the cap. It’s also much better than what the Giants had to do with Daniel Jones’ contract.
This reads like $64 million over this year and next.— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) April 17, 2023
Daniel Jones is making $82 million over that time. https://t.co/LacClNqwJZ
That’s why it’s better to extend a QB to spread the money out over the last year of his rookie deal than to wait until he’s a pending free agent.
Pro: Very Cap Friendly (For Now)
Seriously, Howie Roseman is a voodoo master. I mean, this is just hysterical.
Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts’ salary-cap numbers for the next four seasons after today’s $255 million extension:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 17, 2023
2023: $6.15 million
2024: $13.56 million
2025: $21.77 million
2026: $31.77 million
Of course, the 2027 cap hit might be around $1,003,003,103,010,301,301,030 dollars, but who cares about that now?
A $6.15 million cap hit allows Roseman to potentially sign some guys later in the summer or swing some trades on draft night, maybe for someone like, oh I dunno I’m just spitballin’ here...
Con: No More Rookie Deal
So there are only a couple cons that I can think of, one of them being the Eagles will no longer be able to structure the team around a quarterback on a rookie deal.
Of course, having a QB on a rookie deal often poses a problem in and of itself, as they are frequently learning on the job for the first couple years, as was the case with Hurts. Now that Hurts has established himself as a young, elite QB, you have to pay him as such. And yes, that does mean less money to spread around the roster.
That said, please once again take a glance at the salary cap numbers for Hurts during the next four years. I’m feeling pretty good they can put a championship caliber roster around him, even with him being off the rookie deal.
Con: Hamstrung if Things Go Wrong
Very few players in the NFL have no-trade clauses in their contracts and the Eagles have never given one out... until now.
Only Derek Carr, Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson and DeShaun Watson have no-trade clauses in their contracts, although Carr waived his to get out of Las Vegas. The no-trade would complicate matters if things were to unexpectedly turn sour.
Carson Wentz’ career deteriorated rapidly after he signed his big-money deal, and even though Roseman had to eat a ton of dead cap space in order to get him out of town, the absence of a no-trade clause at least made it possible to open up that roster spot for Hurts and for everyone to move on with their lives.
Imagine if Wentz were still locked in here as the starting QB. We would not have had a playoff appearance in 2021 and gone to the Super Bowl in ‘22. And we would not have had Jalen Hurts to marvel over, either.
The no-trade limits Roseman’s flexibility if things were to go wrong, but it’s a fair price to pay to lock in the second-best quarterback in football for six more years of his prime.