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April 18, 2023

What they're saying: Jalen Hurts is everything that Carson Wentz wasn't

Rounding up the latest news and analysis about the Eagles in the aftermath of Jalen Hurts' new five-year contract extension.

Eagles NFL
Carson-Wentz-Jalen-Hurts-Eagles-2020 James Lang/USA Today Sports

Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts

Eagles franchise quarterback Jalen Hurts, riding high off an MVP-caliber season, has a new five-year contract extension worth up to $255 million with over $179 million guaranteed. In the aftermath of the biggest Eagles contract ever, everyone has a take on Hurts and how it will shape the Birds, and the NFL at large, going forward. 

Let's check in on the rest of the media world and see what they're saying about Hurts and the Eagles...

The Antidote to Carson Wentz

Marcus Hayes | The Philadelphia Inquirer

Inquirer columnist Marcus Hayes didn't hold back after Hurts' new deal was announced, comparing him to his predecessor, Carson Wentz, as the two QBs will be forever intertwined in Eagles history. Between their leadership ability and their commitment to the Eagles organization, they're polar opposites, writes Hayes:

Hurts has shown his bosses, his teammates, and his chroniclers — in every minute of his employment — immutable character; an obsession with improvement; a voracious desire to learn; and an astounding capacity to absorb and execute.

Further, unlike his feckless predecessor, Hurts has shown inclusive, nonjudgmental leadership. That is precisely what the Eagles’ locker room will need once Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham leave it. Considering his intangibles, Hurts might actually be underpaid. [Inquirer]

Hayes is right. 

Wentz's contribution to the Eagles' 2017 Super Bowl run is undeniable, but the difference in the way Eagles players responded to Hurts and Wentz could not be more different. The Eagles gambled taking Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, causing blowback with the fan base and with Wentz himself, playing a part in his 2020 downfall. Things, clearly, worked themselves out for the Birds. 

Howie's Gamble

Jeffri Chadiha |

Speaking of the Eagles' gamble in drafting Hurts, columnist Jeffri Chadiha discussed how that franchise-altering move has paid off for general manager Howie Roseman:

Nobody could've known what the Eagles had in Hurts when Roseman, the team's general manager, selected him in the second round of the 2020 draft. Philadelphia was still hoping Carson Wentz could alter the decline that ultimately saw him go from being an MVP candidate in 2017 to being an asset Roseman traded to Indianapolis after the 2020 season. Hurts was an intriguing talent that needed plenty of grooming. Look at him now. The Eagles rebuilt the offense around him in his first season as a starter, in 2021, and he used that run-heavy system to lead the team to a wild-card spot. A year later, Hurts worked himself into a complete quarterback, one who could beat teams with his arm and legs.


The Eagles will have some tougher challenges to face with Hurts moving into a higher income bracket in the coming years. What they won't have to worry about is whether he's worth the money. [NFL]

Hurts' year-to-year transformation, dating back to his freshman season at Alabama, is unparalleled. Josh Allen had previously stood as the biggest outlier for a jump in quarterback play in today's NFL, but Hurts going from a guy who completed 52 percent of his passes as a rookie to a QB who out-played Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl should blow the mind of even the staunchest early Hurts supporters. 

Planning Ahead

Mike Jones, Dan Pompei | The Athletic 

The Eagles handed out their big-money to deal to Hurts while other star quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow are waiting for their own. The sooner a team can get that inevitable gigantic contract signed, the better with how each successive contract eclipses the previous one as the market continues to reset itself. 

Question: What are your initial thoughts on the Hurts contract? It includes the highest average annual salary in NFL history, but did the Eagles perhaps get a deal in securing the 24-year-old Hurts for the long term?

Jones: The Eagles were smart to get this done now. The Ravens continue to haggle with Lamar Jackson, and it remains to be seen when/if they’ll reach an agreement. But on deck are Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. The Eagles may have had to write a big check, but waiting would have likely cost them because Hurts’ camp would have then asked for more money than whichever quarterback got paid first.

Pompei: Regardless of how this looks in hindsight, today it’s a good deal for both sides. If Hurts continues to ascend, and if the contract is eclipsed by the contracts of Burrow, Herbert or Jackson, we might look at this contract in a few years and say the Eagles got a deal. But the reality is Hurts has had only one transcendent season, and he’s just 24 years old. It’s difficult at this point to predict what his career will look like in a decade. [The Athletic/$]

Howie Roseman... smart GM! I gave Roseman tons of flack, even calling for his job, after the crash and burn of the Super Bowl-era squad in 2020, but the way he's rebuilt this team through both the draft and free agency over the last two years showcases his elite ability in the front office. I was wrong! Hand up!

Roseman's ability to find talent is catching up to his ability as a cap wiz, which should frighten every other team in the NFC. 

Dak's Payday Coming?

Todd Brock | The Cowboys Wire, USA Today

I couldn't end this without taking a look around the NFC East! Cowboys writer Todd Brock discussed how Hurts' contract extension could affect how the Cowboys handle Dak Prescott's future, writing:

No. 4’s contract with the Cowboys binds him to the team through 2024, but the club has an escape clause after this coming season. The Joneses did a restructuring of Prescott’s deal back in early March to free up roughly $22 million in cap space, and while that move hinted at the franchise’s commitment to their two-time Pro Bowler and reigning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, it hasn’t precluded the organization from talking pretty openly about possibly kicking the tires on a young quarterback on the final day of this month’s draft.


But in all probability, that extension for Prescott is coming, either this offseason or next. And the longer ownership waits, the higher the price tag will almost assuredly be. Cowboys Wire’s projection less than a month ago was for a five-year extension worth $255 million… or exactly what Hurts just signed for in Philly. [USA Today]

Prescott is the second-best QB in the NFC behind Hurts, which really says more about the state of the conference than Prescott at this point. The Dallas quarterback, especially back in the days of the heated Prescott vs. Wentz debates, has been much better than Eagles fans have wanted to give him credit for, but Prescott missed five games due to injury in 2022 and 11 games in 2020. He's entering his age-30 season. The QB aging curve is much different than other positions, obviously, but a campaign like Prescott had in 2019, tossing nearly 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, isn't something I see being replicated in the future with him. 

The Cowboys: eternally on the track of relevance without true contention, all style without an ounce of substance! 

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