The plot thickens.
Carson’s future. Jalen’s future. The Eagles’ future.
All of it got a lot more intriguing Sunday evening when Hurts put together a historic performance in the Eagles’ loss to the Cards.
The narrative that Hurts would come in late in the season and do some nice things and then Carson Wentz would retake the starting quarterback reigns next summer took a hit Sunday when Hurts put together a performance that very few rookie quarterbacks have ever matched.
Hurts became only the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for 330 yards with four combined passing and rushing TDs and no interceptions as a rookie, and he did it on the road against a top-10 defense in his second career start.
It was the kind of performance that makes owners, general managers and head coaches take notice. Especially when their $128 million franchise quarterback hasn’t had a game anywhere close to this all year.
Does one game change a franchise’s future? Does one terrific performance mean Hurts is the Quarterback of the Future and Wentz is history?
It doesn’t. But when the Eagles’ brain trust sits down after the season and sorts out exactly what’s next, a game like this can be pretty darn convincing.
Hurts has two more games - who knows, maybe more - to build on what he’s done so far, but he’s clearly injected some life in an offense that was dormant under Wentz.
Watching the Eagles the first 12 weeks of the season, it was hard not to think … “Maybe he’s not the guy.”
And watching that game Sunday, it was hard not to think … “Maybe he is the guy.”
I don’t know if Hurts can do enough in the limited time he has to convince the Eagles to try and unload Wentz. I still haven’t completely given up on the notion that Wentz can one day regain his form and be what he used to be.
But it’s getting harder and harder to think that way.
Hurts is playing with the same receivers as Wentz, behind the same shaky offensive line as Wentz, with the same coaching staff as Wentz.
And he’s just been better. A lot better.
Wentz threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 11 ½ games. Hurts has thrown 5 TDs and 1 INT in 2 ½ games.
Sunday was the first time I really started thinking it might make sense to try and trade Wentz this offseason if you can get some decent picks, and just accept the NFL-record dead money hit that would mean and start building for the future.
But then I think … what if Wentz just needs to regroup this offseason. How can we really know he’s done? We can’t.
And then I think … how can we really be sure in a late-season cameo that Hurts is the answer? We can’t.
That’s what makes this is all so tricky.
No matter what happens the rest of the season, the Eagles will go into the offseason unsure about both Wentz and Hurts.
That’s why you can make a case for bringing them both back and letting them sort it out in camp.
But can Wentz flourish with Hurts waiting in the wings? And can Hurts really begin next year as the backup if he keeps playing the way he did Sunday?
So maybe the Eagles just need to decide. Pick the guy they believe in the most and unload the other one.
Which leaves open the possibility Wentz goes somewhere else and reverts to 2017 Carson Wentz while Hurts struggles here or Hurts goes somewhere else and lights it up like he did Sunday night and Carson in 2021 is no better than this year.
There is just no way to know.
No easy answers. No simple solutions. There’s a monumental decision facing the Eagles and not a lot to go on.
But there’s definitely more to go on today than there was one day ago.
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