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February 18, 2021

Eagles expected to bring in QB competition for Jalen Hurts

After trading Carson Wentz, Philly isn't going to just hand him the starting role

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Jalen-Hurts-Howie-Roseman_121320_usat Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts talks with general manager Howie Roseman before making his first NFL start.

On Thursday, news came down that the Eagles had finally pulled the trigger on a trade for Carson Wentz, sending the 28-year-old quarterback to the Colts for a pair of draft picks, one of which can convert to a first-rounder in 2022 if Wentz reaches some (rather attainable) milestones. 

That leaves Jalen Hurts as the lone QB on the Eagles roster — veteran backup Nate Sudfeld is expected to leave in free agency this offseason. But that obviously won't be the case for long, as the Eagles will need to fill out their quarterbacks room before minicamps start later this spring. 

But for anyone who thinks Hurts, the second-year QB and former Heisman finalist who the team took with the 53rd overall pick last year, is just going to be handed the starting job, they might want to think again. 

On Wednesday, before the trade was even finalized, Les Bowen of the Inquirer had a report about the ongoing negotiations that turned out to be spot on. Moreover, there was a little piece of info tacked onto the bottom of that tweet about the Eagles potentially drafting a QB with the sixth pick in this year's draft. We don't agree with that idea, and think Hurts deserves a little more time to develop considering what the Eagles spent on him in the draft, and would instead benefit from a veteran backup who can help him continue that development as he tries to adapt to life in the NFL. 

Four starts to end the 2020 season got the then-rookie his first real taste of NFL action, but there's still a lot Hurts needs to prove. And it seems like the Eagles might be preparing to bring in some competition for the 22-year-old out of Oklahoma. Here's more from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen:

Each team walks away from the deal with what it wanted across all fronts: Wentz will be reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich, his former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, and help fill the void left by Philip Rivers’ retirement while 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.  [espn.com]

That's not to say that the Eagles are already giving up on Hurts. After all, he definitely showed some flashes last season and the team did spend a second-round pick on him when they had plenty of other areas in need of improvement. Still, they opted to go with Hurts in that spot, so simply moving on after a handful of games would be a massive mistake, especially since his play wouldn't warrant that. 

Drafting another quarterback in the Top 10 would certainly change the dynamic, as that new addition — whether it's Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance or any of the other QBs expected to be selected after Trevor Lawrence likely goes first overall — would probably take over the starting job. A training camp competition would almost certainly ensue, but Hurts would suddenly have an uphill battle rather than being the presumed starter. 

If the Eagles bring in a veteran quarterback, perhaps a Tyrod Taylor, who was mentioned in a recent What They're Saying and would be a good backup option on a short-term deal, there might still be a competition, but it would come under the assumption that Hurts is, to borrow a phrase from another sport, sitting in the poll position. In other words, it would be his job to lose. 

Right now, the only thing that's certain is that the Eagles will be adding quarterbacks (yes, plural), so it will be interesting to see what sorts of players they go after and whether or not they look to bring in someone who they identify as their starter going forward, a short-term stopgap, or simply some bodies to backup Hurts. 

Either way, it's going to be an interesting offseason for the Eagles when it comes to the quarterback position. As if that wasn't already abundantly clear... 


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