The Eagles will likely have three first-round picks in the 2022 draft and we’ve heard a lot about the possibilities that gives them at the quarterback position going forward.
If the Eagles want, they’ll have the means to trade up to get one of the best quarterbacks in the draft next year or perhaps even trade to land a star like Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson.
There’s another option, though. And it’s one NBC Sports’ Peter King thinks the Eagles are rooting for heavily.
“I think that for those who think that Jalen Hurts can’t win this job, I think the Eagles desperately want him to win this job,” King said on the Eagle Eye podcast this week.
“Because then they will be able to spend draft choices to build a great team in 2022. Instead of having to package a bunch of picks to be able to move up to get the next quarterback. They don’t want to do that. They want Jalen Hurts to play great.”
Hurts, 22, started just four games in 2020 but showed some promise. It just wasn’t enough to know if he’s really the answer or not. And there’s reportedly not a consensus inside the NovaCare Complex about him right now.
But for those who think Hurts doesn’t even have a chance to win this job in the long-term, King says, “Just look at the 2016 Dallas Cowboys.”
Before the 2016 season, the Cowboys drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round but when Tony Romo got hurt, it became Prescott’s team. He went on to start every game that year, lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and make it to the Pro Bowl.
Five years later, he hasn’t given up the job yet and just cashed in on a mega deal.
“And so I don’t think that Jalen Hurts is going 13-3 and I don’t think he’s going to play a full season and complete (67.8%) or whatever Prescott did, throw four interceptions. It was an incredible year,” King said. “But I do think it’s going to be one of those things, you’re going to know by the end of the year whether he’s done enough. That’s how I’d look at it.”
Aside from the obvious benefit of having those first-round picks to use for other players if Hurts ends up being the guy, it would also help the Eagles financially.
If the Eagles were to trade for a star like Watson or Wilson, that player would take up a large percentage of their salary cap. In 2022, Wilson has a base salary of $19 million and Watson has a base salary of $35 million. For 2022 and 2023, Hurts is scheduled to make $1.08 million and $1.33 million.
So if Hurts has a great 2021 season, the Eagles would have a ton of early draft picks and also have a lot of money to spend on free agents until they would eventually have to pay Hurts a big contract.
You can see why the Eagles will be pulling for Hurts to play well in 2021.
“He has a chance,” King said, “But obviously he has to play great with some thin talent on that offense, particularly what is his protection going to be like? Are they finally going to be able to get enough out of receivers who just never seem to be, no matter how much draft capital they spend on them, just never seem to be enough at that position for the Eagles. …. But I think he definitely has a chance and if he were to win this job and play really well this year, if I am Nick Sirianni, Howie Roseman, Jeff Lurie, what’s going through my mind is, ‘Man, imagine when he gets some real thorough talent in positions that right now we’re kind of Scotch-taping together.’”
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