INDIANAPOLIS — Just before Howie Roseman stepped up to the microphone for his combine press conference, Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll spoke to reporters just a few yards away and said Seattle has “no intention” of trading Russell Wilson.
Of course, things can change. They often do.
Remember when Roseman last offseason, when talking about Carson Wentz, said he was like a finger on his hand? Yeah.
But the Eagles are publicly holding strong: Jalen Hurts is their guy going into 2022.
Roseman and Sirianni said it just after the 2021 season ended. And both doubled down on that Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis.
“Yeah, there’s no doubt about it,” Roseman said. “I think when you talk about all the things we talked about at the end of the season, nothing’s changed.
“I think what really has changed for us is the opportunity to add. This is a great time of year for the Philadelphia Eagles, for us, for our staff. Being here and really getting everyone involved in the draft process. The start of free agency is up and coming. We gotta continue to add good players, we gotta continue to make sure that we’re doing everything we can do to maximize our players’ ability to be successful and certainly that starts at the quarterback position with Jalen.”
None of this is to say that Roseman won’t keep an eye on the veteran quarterback market this offseason. That’s his job, after all. But this really does seem like more than lip service from the Eagles’ brass.
They really do believe in Hurts.
“He led us to the playoffs and obviously we want to go further than that,” Sirianni said, “and we’re really confident that Jalen can help us do that.”
Hurts, 23, started 15 games for the Eagles in 2021. He completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and also rushed for 784 yards and 10 touchdowns.
It ended up being a decent season for a quarterback who is still growing and getting better. It’s probably safe to say that the version of Hurts we saw in 2021 isn’t good enough to be the Eagles’ long-term franchise quarterback. But it was good enough for the votes of confidence going into 2022.
With Hurts, it’s still about the projection. The Eagles think he’ll continue to get better. And they think that for a few reasons.
“As you watch more and more and as you think about it more and more, you’re just pleased with the progression that Jalen has made (in 2021),” Sirianni said. “I think that’s (representative) of who Jalen Hurts is as a player and as a quarterback. He just continues to get better. Whether that’s from Alabama to Oklahoma, Oklahoma to his first year in the NFL or from his first year in the NFL to his second year. We just know that progression is going to continue.
“And it’s not just because we’ve seen the progression go like that, it’s because of the person that he is. He loves football. This guy loves football and he’s just willing to do the things that he needs to do to get better and that’s why he does continue to get better.”
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Of course, this bring up the million dollar question: What exactly is Hurts’ ceiling?
Furthermore, how patient will the Eagles be to let him get there?
Sirianni on Wednesday talked about the improvement of veteran quarterbacks as they log more years of experience in the league. He clearly thinks Hurts will continue to improve with more experience. This past season was his first as a starter in the NFL and this upcoming season he’ll finally get to enter Year 2 in the same offense scheme.
Maybe at some point Russell Wilson becomes available. Maybe the situation surrounding Deshaun Watson becomes less murky in coming months. Maybe some other veteran shakes free. But all those scenarios don’t seem very likely.
The Eagles are preparing for the 2022 season with Hurts as their starter.
“We have Jalen Hurts, who is a 23-year-old quarterback who led his team to the playoffs and he’s going to get better and better,” Roseman said. “He’s going to do everything possible to get better and we have to do our part in that.”