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March 23, 2022

Shander: The Eagles have no faith in Jalen Hurts

The Eagles have no faith in Jalen Hurts.

That’s the cold hard facts of the situation. A kid was drafted in the second-round as a stop-gap plan to move on from Carson Wentz. At no point in his tenure has Hurts done anything to secure the starting job moving past 2022, and it looks like he won’t be able to do anything more this year – outside of win a Super Bowl.

Fair? Not my concern. But the façade that the team will run out about how much they love and trust Hurts will inevitably make me sick. This place isn’t a QB factory. The audacity to say something like that hangs in the rafters alongside “Gold standard” and “Dream team”.

No, the Birds wanted their cake, to eat it, and then have another one too. They wanted it all this offseason and now look like the fox in Aesop’s tale of sour grapes. “Meh, we never really wanted [insert big name QB] anyways, we are more than happy with Jalen.”

That’s simply not true. The Eagles were reportedly suitors in both Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson trades. Strong suitors. That’s not just picking up the phone and doing your due diligence. That’s actively trying to move on from the current QB, the one that Roseman and Nick Sirianni publicly drooled over in January then again at the combine.

They struck out. They did again with other players at other positions. The trending narrative put out and maintained by the social media illiterates is “Well, if Calvin Ridley didn’t get nailed for gambling….”

That’s it? The whole offseason came down to being leveraged in deals for Wilson and Watson, and having NO other options other than Ridley. This is the DEFENSE of the lack of movement for the off-season. There’s also the narrative about teams not winning through free agency, another ridiculous notion that spending money to upgrade your team is somehow a bad thing.

Trading draft picks for players already in the league has proven successful. I know a lot of people in this city turn off the TV once our teams are through, but the Rams did that – a lot – and won the Super Bowl. It seems some fans are actually ok with no trade movement because the Ridley thing fell through.

What kind of organization has no plan B? Of course, the Eagles do, they simply didn’t want to broadcast it. The plan is to do absolutely nothing this year and hope that they can get a franchise QB out of next year’s draft. Then they can go “all in” and hope to bring in major name FA or via a trade, but only when they have the QB they want.

They don’t currently have the QB they want.

Don’t get mad at me, I saw it on Twitter – it’s really easy to upset people who go to a place to be upset – where “fans” of our team somehow missed all of the obvious things going on and instead thought it was a personal attack on... Hurts! Beyond the lack of self-awareness, it’s more a matter of how anyone can miss what’s been happening. It’s too easy and lazy to dismiss the Eagles as a non-destination based on guys getting more money. Roseman can work the cap, the Eagles can create money, he’s done it before. No, the lack of deal with either big name QB had little to do with money.

It had everything to do with the organization, how it’s run, and the constant changeover of culture. The constant has been Roseman and Lurie, but the coaching staff keeps changing, as does the main position of QB. The Eagles have commitment problems to two of the most important positions in football, the coach and QB, yet remain insistent that their front office culture is some anchor for big name players.

It's not.

The Eagles are best when they maximize a younger player, still on a rookie deal, getting ahead of the market on his first contract, and going from there. They burn out QBs and they burn out coaches. The latest optics feature a head coach who’s more lauded for his pickup basketball games and cornhole challenges than he is for anything else, and a QB who has been publicly praised just minutes before the team tried to replace him.

Here's the takeaway: the Eagles are in all of these sweepstakes as “strong suitors,” but never see to land that prize. They have money, draft picks, so they can get in the game, but it seems like they are always coming in second, or third, but overall, just being used as the leverage. That isn’t a reason to fire anyone, but it should be a heavy factor in a GM’s job report. “Hey, we tried," isn’t really an excuse as to why the Eagles continue to be leveraged.

Maybe it’s the lack of substance behind the money, the lack of faith in the commodities they own. The constant turnover and lack of any true commitment to coaches and QBs since Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb left is staggering, and quite telling.

The other major takeaway from all of this is the unfortunate and sobering reality that anything positive that happens in 2022 is a bonus. Getting into the playoffs alone last year took a parlay of circumstances, and banking on that again, while doing very little to improve, is waiving the white flag.

Then again, Hurts could go out and win a playoff game or two. But don’t worry, the Eagles will remind you they had it all along.

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

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