PHOENIX — It’s been obvious for a while now that Jalen Hurts is the Eagles’ long-term solution at quarterback.
He’s only the eighth quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl before his 25th birthday with the chance Sunday to become only the fourth to win one at that young an age.
Still, it was significant to hear the organization acknowledge that for the first time.
Hurts has “nothing to prove,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in an interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio at Super Bowl Media Day Monday at the Footprint Center.
“He’s just what we’re looking for.”
Hurts, along with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Jefferson, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow, is a finalist for MVP this year and after his third season is officially allowed to renegotiate his relative pittance of a rookie salary.
Lurie’s acknowledgement that Hurts is indeed the guy means a long-term deal worth somewhere around $45 million per year will follow. Drafted players are not allowed to get new deals until the start of the league year following their third season.
Hurts is playing now on the third season of a four-year rookie deal that as a 2nd-round pick paid him just over $6 million with a signing bonus of less than $2 million.
He’s currently the 54th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, according to Spotrac, behind guys such as Nick Mullens, Trevor Siemian, Blaine Gabbert, C.J. Beathard and Kyle Allen.
Among the Eagles players with a higher average annual salary are Cam Jurgens, Boston Scott and T.J. Edwards.
Hurts said Monday night at Media Day the contract isn’t on his mind – “I haven’t thought about it at all” – but the reality is that in the next few months he’ll become one of the highest-paid players in NFL history.
The highest average annual salaries currently belong to Aaron Rodgers ($50 million), Russell Wilson ($48.5 million), Kyler Murray ($46.1 million), DeShaun Watson ($46 million) and Mahomes ($45 million).
Of course the Eagles just went through this. Less than four years ago, they gave Carson Wentz a four-year, $128 million contract that included the largest amount of guaranteed money ever given out ($107 million).
Less than two years later, Hurts had replaced Wentz as the Eagles’ quarterback and the Eagles had to eat the largest amount of dead money in NFL history ($33.8 million) when they traded him to the Colts.
But Lurie has no reservations about opening up the bank vaults for a young quarterback twice in just a few years, and he shouldn’t because at least based on the way Hurts has performed and led this franchise, there’s no reason to think history will repeat itself.
Hurts this year went 14-1 in the regular season with 22 touchdown passes, 13 rushing touchdowns, six interceptions and a 101.5 passer rating, 4th-highest in franchise history. He improved his completion percentage from 61.3 percent to 66.5 percent, lowered his interception percentage from one every 48 attempts to one every 77 attempts and rushed for 760 yards.
He hasn’t had to throw much in the postseason, but he’s played mistake-free football in easy wins over the Giants and 49ers, completing 63 percent of his passes with two TD passes, one TD run and no turnovers.
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