At some point this offseason, the Eagles are expected to reach a mega deal with franchise quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Joe Banner doesn’t think the money will be the holdup.
On the latest Takeoff with John Clark, the former Eagles president gave his take on the coming deal and explained why the average per year isn’t likely going to be the battle between the organization and Hurts’ agent.
“I don’t think it’s hard to figure out what the average of the deal is going to be,” Banner said to Clark. “On the low end, it’s like $46 million per year, on the high end it’s into the low $50s. It depends if (Joe) Burrow goes first and resets the market a little bit but we’ve already got two deals that are essentially $50 million per year.
“I think the battle in the negotiation is going to be the length of the contract. It helps the Eagles make the contract more favorable in the early years. It makes it easier to keep the cap charge low for at least the next couple of years if it’s a longer-term deal. So I think they will be correctly be fighting for as long a deal as they can get. On the other hand, the player with a cap that’s likely to go up $75-$100 million over the next three or four years. Even at $50 million, it sounds crazy, but in a couple of years that will be a steal. So he’s going to fight for a shorter deal and a chance to re-hit the market as those cap numbers go up that dramatically.”
The Eagles have really benefitted the last couple of seasons by having a starting quarterback on a rookie second-round contract. The thought from Banner here is that even if Hurts gets one of these mega deals, the team will be able to backload it to minimize those cap hits for at least the next couple of seasons. And the longer the deal is, the more flexibility they’ll have.
And there’s more TV money coming over the next few years too, so it makes more sense for Hurts to want a shorter deal that will get him back to the negotiating table earlier as salaries for top-tier quarterbacks continue to climb.
“We haven’t seen a situation like this in the NFL, where contracts are going to become this dated this quickly,” Banner said. “Literally, if the cap goes up even $25 million a year, $20 million a year, for the next three or four years, today’s $50 million quarterback is going to be a $70-75 million quarterback. So for every extra year the Eagles can get Hurts to agree to, it’s a massive advantage. Frankly, from his perspective, every year that he can make it shorter is not going to be an incremental or a small amount of additional money. It’ll increase his career earnings very dramatically.”
The Eagles aren’t trying to get a bargain with Hurts. He’s the guy they’ve identified as their franchise quarterback and they know it’s going to be a mega deal. It’s going to be a massive number in terms of APY. And Hurts is already under contract for 2023.
But Banner has a very good point about the length of the next deal. He thinks Hurts might try to fight for a three-year deal, while the Eagles might push for an extension of five or six years.
He outlined the two biggest advantages for the Eagles if they get a longer-term deal:
1. If Hurts continues to play at a high level, a contract with an APY of around $50 million will look cheap in a few years.
2. A longer deal will give the Eagles flexibility to push the biggest cap charges toward the end of the deal, giving the Eagles the opportunity to continue to build strong teams around their quarterback.
The good news for the Eagles, according to Banner, is that they’ll partially get those advantages even if the deal ends up being a three-year extension. Because it would still give the Eagles four more years with Hurts under contract.
But if there is any real battle in negotiations, Banner thinks it’ll be over the length.
“The average of the deal is within a relatively narrow range,” Banner summarized. “Won’t be hard to agree to. The length of the deal is something that will really impact both sides very dramatically over the long-term.”
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