“Quarterbacks are a precious commodity in the NFL,” Jones said when asked about the deal (via Jon Machota of The Athletic). “We should have in the wings a quarterback on the come. When San Francisco called, I didn’t want them to hang up… We want to back Dak Prescott up as well as we can… You can’t have enough quarterbacks. We’ll see how it works out, but it’s worth any risk we’re taking here.”
Jones added that he does not foresee Lance playing during the regular season this year, but questions have been raised about how it could affect Prescott’s future. The latter is on the books through 2024, but he is due to carry a cap hit of $59.5MM that year. An extension for the 30-year-old aimed at lowering that figure has been on the team’s radar for several months now. The presence of Prescott for the short- and, in all likelihood, medium-term future did not play a role in the Lance deal.
Jones added (via ESPN’s Todd Archer) that Prescott’s financial situation was not a consideration when negotiating the Lance trade, and that the two-time Pro Bowler was not notified about the trade before it was official. The Cowboys have been eyeing a developmental passer in each of the past several drafts, with Jones saying the team was prepared to draft Jalen Hurtsin 2020. They now have a 23-year-old to attempt to develop in Lance while relying on Prescott for at least the time being.
From a financial standpoint, Lance will not be a burdensome signal-caller until next year. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated tweets that the 49ers already paid out a $2.82MM roster bonus, leaving the Cowboys responsible for only his base salary ($940K) in 2023. Next season, on the other hand, Lance will be due a fully guaranteed $5.31MM. Where he stands in the Cowboys’ organizational plans by that point will be worth watching closely.
The Eagles’ 2020 first-round decision generated some intrigue, especially as Justin Jefferson made a quick ascent to the All-Pro level and put together the most prolific three-year receiving stretch to start a career in NFL history. The Eagles were split on Jefferson and Jalen Reagor, going with the latter, who was preferred by Howie Roseman and the team’s coaching staff.
That call obviously proved incorrect, with Reagor now one of Jefferson’s sidekicks in Minnesota after an August 2022 trade. But the Eagles made a better choice, albeit an unexpected one, a round later. An extensive research effort into Jalen Hurts, which had begun during his senior year at Oklahoma, led Philly to pull the trigger on the ex-Sooners quarterback in Round 2. The move came despite the organization having extended Carson Wentz less than a year prior.
The Eagles decided on Hurts over safety Jeremy Chinn, with some in the organization preferring to add the Southern Illinois product — who later went to the Panthers at the end of Round 2 — instead of taking a quarterback so early. Again, the Roseman-Doug Pederson preference won out.
“Coach Pederson and myself liked Jeremy Chinn, but our job is to determine the vision and then make sure it’s executed,” Roseman said, via The Athletic’s Dan Pompei (subscription required). “So when we were on the clock and having those conversations, it really came down to the quarterback versus safety. The quarterback we like. The safety we like. We’re going with the quarterback.”
Hurts as a second-round option came about partially because the organization did not want a repeat of 2012, when it intended to take Russell Wilson in the third round before seeing the Seahawks swoop and taking the future Pro Bowl mainstay at No. 75. With no pro days in 2020 — due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the Eagles did not have a good idea how other teams valued Hurts, with Pompei adding the team believed it was possible the ex-Oklahoma and Alabama passer fell into Round 3. But the Wilson experience helped lead to the Eagles ruling out the prospect of waiting until Round 3 for Hurts.
Philly made that pivotal pick at No. 51 overall, leading to outside skepticism due to Wentz’s presence. Some inside the Eagles’ building were not entirely sold on Hurts as well.
“[Hurts] was a polarizing figure in the sense that some people liked him, some saw him as a developmental quarterback and some thought he was a backup,” former Eagles exec Ian Cunningham, now the Bears’ assistant GM, said (via Pompei). “I thought he was a developmental quarterback that had upside.”
At the time, the team based the move on wanting a better backup option behind Wentz. Teams do not exactly make a habit of choosing backup QBs in Round 2, but the Eagles have needed a number of QB2 contributions this century. Donovan McNabb went down with a broken ankle during the 2002 season, leading to A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer seeing extensive time for an Eagles team that earned the NFC’s top seed. McNabb was lost for the year late in the 2006 season, moving UFA addition Jeff Garcia into the fray. The organization’s controversial decision to sign Michael Vick after his prison term in 2009 led to him replacing McNabb in 2010, and 2012 third-rounder Nick Foles eventually usurped Vick three years later. Foles delivered one of the NFL’s most famous fill-in performances in 2017, taking over for an injured Wentz to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. The Eagles, however, soon made bigger plans for Hurts.
The Eagles cleared the Hurts move with Wentz, with Pederson calling his then-starter to inform him of the pick. But the five-year Eagle struggled in 2020, leading to a late-season benching. The Eagles soon traded Wentz to the Colts, and Jeffrey Lurie angled for the organization not to bring in a starter-caliber QB in 2021. That led to Hurts being given a legitimate opportunity. Lurie was believed to be behind Hurts, even when Roseman had questions about his ceiling, and the Eagles — after showing interest in Wilson andDeshaun Watson — stuck with the former second-rounder last year.
Philly staying with Hurts turned out to be a seminal decision, as the team booked another Super Bowl berth. The Eagles went 16-1 in games Hurts started prior to the Chiefs matchup, with the third-year QB showing significant improvement as a passer. Hurts’ 2022 season earned him a then-record-setting five-year, $255MM extension from the Eagles in April. The Eagles also greenlit their Wentz extension shortly after he became extension-eligible; they will hope the Hurts Year 4 investment turns out better.
Selecting a quarterback at No. 22 would have both been a leverage play and certainly would have cost the team its best opportunity to add weaponry around Jackson, thus weakening the 2023 Ravens edition. A number of teams were connected to Levis coming into the draft, and trade rumors — centered around teams eyeing a move up for the falling Kentucky prospect — emerged in the late first round and early second. The Ravens now loom as a Levis “what if?” Though, they will probably not be the first team mentioned as a near-miss regarding the strong-armed prospect. Considering Jackson’s contract, Levis may barely be a footnote for the team.
Here is the latest news from the quarterback position:
Seeing as the Colts and Titans are in the same division, Indianapolis will probably be the top Levis “what if?” team. The Colts were tied to Levis for weeks ahead of the draft, but they successfully masked their Richardson interest. Even though Richardson’s ceiling enamored Colts brass, Fowler adds Levis had a few fans in Indy’s building. The Penn State transfer might be readier to play compared to Richardson, a one-year Florida starter, though Ryan Tannehill‘s presence in Tennessee may ensure Richardson begins his QB1 run first. Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds was a Richardson skeptic at first, but fellow seventh-year Indy front office staffer Morocco Brown — who primarily scouted the Gators talent for the Colts — made near-weekly trips to Gainesville to chart the athletic prospect’s progress. Ex-Shane Steichen Eagles coworker Brian Johnson, Florida’s OC during Richardson’s freshman year (2020), also vouched for Richardson, per Fowler.
The Rams did not consider Levis, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, who notes they came into the draft with a goal of landing a Day 3 passer (subscription required). Despite Levis having played for 2022 Rams OC Liam Coen in 2021, team brass was split on the prospect. Los Angeles ended up with Stetson Bennett via the No. 128 overall pick. This came after the Rams hired one of their former QBs, Kellen Clemens, as a consultant to evaluate Bennett and other arms, Rodrigue adds. Clemens met with Bennett in Georgia before the draft, but even though Bennett is a 26-year-old rookie, ex-Broncos backup Brett Rypienmay begin as Matthew Stafford‘s backup.
The Eagles‘ Jalen Hurts extension (five years, $255MM) laid the groundwork for Jackson’s, and the Ravens QB scored more fully guaranteed money ($135MM to $110MM). But Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes the Hurts deal jumps to $157.3MM fully guaranteed by 2025. This is because Hurts’ 2026 option bonus ($49.8MM) becomes guaranteed in stages. Hurts will see $16.5MM of that bonus become guaranteed in 2024, and $30MM of that payout locks in by 2025. These guarantees vest in March 2024 and ’25, SI.com’s Albert Breer tweets. The Eagles ditched Carson Wentz‘s contract less than two years after authorizing it, but they moved back into the QB-paying business with this megadeal.
Former Detroit and Washington practice squad QB Steven Montezspent the weekend in San Francisco auditioning at the 49ers‘ rookie minicamp, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Colorado alum served as the Seattle Sea Dragons’ backup, behind Ben DiNucci, who has since signed with the Broncos. The 49ers have four QBs rostered and have not signed Montez.
Jimmie Ward, S (Texans): Two years, $13MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $8.5MM consisting of a $4MM signing bonus, Ward’s 2023 base salary of $2.5MM, and $2MM of his 2024 base salary (worth $5.5MM total). Ward will receive a per game active roster bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. The contract also includes an annual playing time incentive. If Ward plays 60% of the team’s defensive snaps, he’ll receive an additional $250,000. He’ll get two more $250,000 bonuses for reaching both the 70% and 80% snap share totals, as well.
Denzel Perryman, LB (Texans): One year, $2.6MM. We were aware that Perryman could push the value of his deal to $3.5MM with incentives, but thanks to Wilson, we now know how he can do that. The additional $900,000 is based on playing time. Perryman can earn $300,000 bonuses for reaching each of the 60%, 70% and 80% thresholds of defensive snap shares for the Texans.
Eric Rowe, S (Panthers): One year, $1.32MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $852,500 consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $700,000 of Rowe’s base salary (worth a total of $1.17MM).
Kris Boyd, CB (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
Dante Pettis, WR (Bears): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
Troy Reeder, LB (Vikings): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $100,000 consisting partially of a $25,000 signing bonus. Reeder’s base salary will be $1.08MM, and he can receive an additional workout bonus $25,000 and a roster bonus of $102,500 if he’s active Week 1. The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $6,029 for a potential season total of $102,500.
Drew Sample, TE (Bengals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $52,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM. Sample will also receive a roster bonus of $75,000 and a workout bonus of $25,000.
Armon Watts, DT (Steelers): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
Elijah Wilkinson, OL (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $1.09MM consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $940,000 of Wilkinson’s base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM).
Khadarel Hodge, WR (Falcons): One year, $1.2MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a base salary of $1.08 and a roster bonus of $120,000 if he is active for Atlanta’s first game of the season. The deal also includes a per game active roster bonus of $7,500 for a potential season total of $127,500.
Chosen Anderson, WR (Dolphins): One year, $1.17MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500.
The first major domino in terms of 2023 quarterback deals has fallen, and in historic fashion. The Eagles announced on Monday that they have agreed to terms on an extension with Jalen Hurts. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets that the contract is five years in length and has a base value of $255MM.
That figure makes Hurts the highest-paid player in NFL history with respect to annual compensation, and brings his new-money average to $51MM per season. Pelissero adds that the extension includes $179.3MM in guarantees, as well as a no-trade clause, something which is a first in Eagles history. Another $15MM in incentives exists, which could push Hurts’ earnings to $54MM per season, per Pelissero (Twitter link).
The 24-year-old had one season remaining on his rookie contract, meaning he will be on the books in Philadelphia through 2028. This offseason marked the first in which Hurts was eligible for an extension, something which was quickly named as a priority for the NFC champions. The Eagles have, as expected, seen a number of notable defensive departures recently, but the foundation of their offense will be in place for the foreseeable future with this deal.
Hurts will earn the second-highest in total guarantees in league history, behind only the $230MM given to Deshaun Watsonby the Browns last offseason. Pelissero and colleague Ian Rapoport detail that Hurts will receive $110MM fully guaranteed at signing, the third-highest such total in the NFL behind only Watson and Russell Wilson. The Eagles will pay out a signing bonus of $23.3MM in 2023, and give Hurts $64MM over the course of the first year of the pact. Needless to say, this news marks a massive development for all parties involved.
Hurts entered the 2022 season with questions about his ability to develop into a legitimate franchise quarterback. He put those to rest with his performance during the year, which helped Philadelphia earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC and put the former second-rounder in the MVP conversation. Hurts was named a Pro Bowler and earned second-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career, guiding one of the league’s best rushing and passing offenses. His development in the latter category convinced the team that such a massive investment would be a safe one.
The Alabama product took a massive step forward as a passer in 2022, totaling 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air. He added 760 yards and 13 yards on the ground, remaining the focal point of the team’s ground attack. Aside from one hugely costly fumble, his Super Bowl performance garnered widespread praise and put an extension at the top of the Eagles’ to-do list this spring. With that now taken care of, the effect the deal will have on the rest of the QB market will be worth monitoring closely.
Hurts’ deal comes at the same time that Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrowand Justin Herbertare all eligible for massive second contracts of their own. The Ravens, Bengals and Chargers remain in negotiations with their respective passers, though Baltimore’s talks with Jackson have been the most public and tenuous. This Hurts pact represents the latest non-Watson one to feature less than 100% in guarantees, though its AAV will no doubt help young QBs up for their own extensions establish a floor for negotiations.
The Eagles enjoyed one of the best seasons in franchise history in 2022, given the success of general manager Howie Roseman had in acquiring short- and long-term additions on the trade, free agent and draft fronts. With Hurts in place for the long-term, the team’s most important piece is on the books during what could be a lengthy Super Bowl window. Whether this sets off a chain reaction of other mega-deals at the QB position in the coming weeks, meanwhile, will have significant effects on several other teams around the league.
While they weren’t able to win it all this year, the Eagles were able to convincingly establish themselves as the NFC’s best team. Though a top-10 defense and strong offensive position groups certainly helped Philadelphia dominate this year, the development of third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts was perhaps one of the biggest reasons they were able to find success in 2022. The team has no intentions of allowing their second-team All-Pro quarterback to leave anytime soon, according to Bo Wulf of The Athletic.
Hurts was the team’s second-round selection in 2020, meaning that, unlike many starting quarterbacks around the league, there is no fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Hurts’s upcoming fourth season will be a contract year, barring an extension. While avoiding any guarantees, general manager Howie Roseman made it clear that extending “one of (their) best players” was a leading priority for the Eagles in the coming year, as reported in a tweet from Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
While likely still fresh on the minds of Eagles fans, Roseman ensured that the team’s recent experience with former quarterback Carson Wentz won’t “affect its thought process with Hurts.” The situation in question deteriorated so quickly following Wentz’s long-term agreement that he was traded before he even got the chance to play under it. Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports quoted Roseman saying, “We have a good sense of what we need to do here. We have a little bit of time to figure it out.”
So, what does a long-term deal for Hurts look like? That is an interesting question with lots of different factors. Firstly, looking at his fellow quarterbacks throughout the league, his Super Bowl opponent, Patrick Mahomes, currently leads the league in overall contract value. The year Hurts was drafted, Mahomes signed a ridiculous 10-year, $450MM contract. Both Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Bills quarterback Josh Allen received new deals the following year with annual average values that failed to reach Mahomes’s $45MM per year or 10-year length.
Last year, though, saw four quarterbacks receive contracts that surpassed Mahomes’s deal in AAV and guaranteed money at signing. In fact, two of the deals nearly doubled what Mahomes received in guaranteed money at signing. Now, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who had the entirety of his five-year, $230MM contract guaranteed at signing, has since proven to be an anomaly. None of the other three contracts even came close to that number or percentage of guaranteed money, even in Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘s relatively short-term three-year, $150.82MM contract.
Also, aside from Mahomes and Rodgers, who are extremes on opposite ends of the spectrum for term of a new contract, the other three contracts with an AAV higher than $45MM are all five-year deals. That gives an idea of what length we should expect for a Hurts-extension. In terms of value, Hurts’s statistics are entirely far off from what Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray did in the season before he was extended. That’s really the only comparison we can look at. We’ve already established that Watson’s deal was an anomaly (he didn’t even play the year before his new deal was signed) and, though Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson‘s numbers were also similar in the year prior to his new deal, Wilson and Rodgers both have long careers of prior regular and postseason success on which to base their deals.
Murray’s stats are extremely similar to Hurts. Both have shown the ability to produce with their legs while not overly relying on them. In each of their full seasons as starters, both quarterbacks have surpassed 3,000 yards passing, a feat fellow rushing quarterback Lamar Jackson has only accomplished once.
Murray showed more historic consistency with higher passing numbers averaging over 3,700 passing yards per year over his first three seasons, while Hurts’s 3,701 passing yards this season were his highest by far. Hurts, though, has shown more consistency with his legs and more consistency protecting the ball. In each of the past two seasons, Hurts has rushed for over 700 yards and reached double-digit rushing touchdowns while throwing single-digit interceptions.
The last big factor that leans in Hurts’s favor is regular and postseason success. In Murray’s first three seasons as a starter, he made the postseason once and exited in the first round. Hurts has started two full seasons and made the postseason both times. After a first-round exit last year, Hurts led his team to the Super Bowl in Year 2.
Regardless of it all, to hold onto a winning quarterback in the year 2023, you’re going to have to shell out the big bucks. An extension is likely going to range from four to six years, leaning closer to six if you’d like to keep your quarterback happy, with an average from $40-50MM per year. Based on all the factors listed above, I would expect a new contract for Hurts to be six years and average around $47-48MM per year with about $100-120MM guaranteed at signing.
Roseman and the Eagles have made it known, they’d like to hold on to Hurts long-term. They have the option of following the Ravens lead and allowing him to play out his contract and find the best deal for both parties, but if they want to avoid the media circus that’s plagued Jackson and the Ravens, they’re going to have to put their money where their mouth is.
Five years after building a Super Bowl-winning roster around Carson Wentz‘s rookie contract, the Eagles are back on the NFL’s biggest stage thanks to a similar formula. Jalen Hurts, who replaced Wentz late in the 2020 season, has piloted the team back to the Super Bowl and is now in a contract year.
The Eagles will not have as much flexibility with Hurts compared to their Wentz negotiation window, with their current starter’s contract not including the fifth-year option. After a 2022 offseason that included links to high-profile passers, the Eagles are prepared to move forward with Hurts. They are planning to meet with Hurts’ agent about an extension this offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
After struggling down the stretch last season and undergoing ankle surgery last winter, Hurts entered the 2022 offseason with a somewhat uncertain future. The Eagles looked intoDeshaun Watson and Russell Wilson; the team’s Watson research dates back to the 2021 season. Watson ended up not waiving his no-trade clause for the Eagles. Ownership advised the Eagles against bringing in Hurts competition that year, and the former Alabama and Oklahoma dual threat showed promise. After the Eagles built a roster comparable to 2017’s this past offseason, they are 16-1 in Hurts starts and one win away from their second Super Bowl title. The dramatic leap Hurts has taken puts him in commanding position for an extension.
Seeming like they surfaced years ago, the franchise’s connections to other QBs and doubtsabout Hurts are in the past. There is no longer any doubt about Hurts’ future in Philadelphia, Rapoport adds, and the team’s increased faith in the former second-round pick will lead to big numbers being thrown around soon.
Philly moved early on Wentz, locking the former No. 2 overall pick down with an extension in June 2019. That $32MM-per-year contract was not a top-market pact at the time, but it was not far off Wilson’s then-NFL-high $35MM-AAV accord. The Wentz deal did not work out for the team, though Philadelphia managed to collect first- and third-round picks for him in 2021. The Eagles are now free of Wentz dead money, but the Hurts deal will again change the franchise’s payroll.
Hurts, 24, becomes extension-eligible in the same offseason in which Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert do, and Lamar Jackson remains without a long-term deal. These passers will be linked for the foreseeable future, and contracts that start with a “5” will be tossed around. Aaron Rodgers remains the only NFLer tied to a $50MM-per-year contract — a short-term, uniquely structured one at that — but that will almost certainly change soon. The salary cap’s spike to $224.8MM represents good news for this quartet, among others in position to cash in, and the Eagles having a recent history of being proactive on extensions — as the deals for Wentz, A.J. Brown and a few offensive linemen have shown in recent years — should point to the Hurts talks becoming serious this offseason.
The Eagles’ opponents will not be at full strength when they take the field tomorrow, but Philadelphia is in line to have their starting quarterback available. Jalen Hurtsis expected to start in the regular season finale, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Hurts has been out since Week 15 with a shoulder sprain, leaving the Eagles with Gardner Minshewas their top option at the position. The veteran has put up noticeable yardage totals during his two starts filling in for Hurts, but he took six sacks during last week’s loss to the Saints and has thrown as many interceptions (three) as touchdowns this year. Philadelphia has lost two straight, thus failing to clinch the top seed in the NFC along the way.
The Eagles will be heavily favored to guarantee themselves a first-round bye with a win on Sunday, however, with Hurts back in the fold and the Giants being locked into the No. 6 spot, leaving them with no need to play their first-stringers. Philadelphia will also have safety C.J. Gardner-Johnsonand defensive end Robert Quinnavailable after they were activated from IR earlier today, providing a boost to their defense.
Hurts was quickly reported to be in danger of missing multiple games as a result of the injury, but he made a push to return in time for last week’s contest against New Orleans. The fact that tomorrow’s game still carries seeding implications partially explains his presumed availability, of course, but the 24-year-old would have faced a month-long absence in the (likely) event the Eagles still wound up with the No. 1 seed and its associated bye week after another game with Minshew at the helm.
Notably, Garafolo adds that the Eagles plan to start Hurts with the hope of building a significant lead early on. That will allow him to get some game action in the lead-in to the postseason, while also allowing Philadelphia to replace him with Minshew after the result is no longer in doubt. Should that scenario not play out, though, they are confident in Hurts’ status with respect to his recovery and low risk of re-injury.
The former second-rounder put himself squarely in the MVP conversation prior to getting hurt, totaling 3,472 passing yards and a 22:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His improvement in the passing game has been coupled with an additional 747 yards and 13 scores on the ground, making him one of the league’s top dual-threat QBs and the focal point of the team’s offense. Should he return to full health in time for the postseason, the Eagles will be well-positioned for a deep playoff run.
DECEMBER 30: Although the Eagles have kept their cards close to the vest regarding Hurts’ New Year’s Day availability, they effectively declared their intentions Friday. Philadelphia lists Hurts as doubtful to face New Orleans this week. Minshew looks set to make his fourth start as an Eagle, with the team one win away from locking up home-field advantage with a backup quarterback for the second time in six years. Unlike 2017, however, Philly’s starter is expected to lead the Super Bowl push.
DECEMBER 25: The Eagles failed to lock up the top spot in the NFC with their loss to the Cowboys yesterday, bringing the status of their quarterback into question for the remaining contests of the regular season. With something still to play for, Jalen Hurtscould be back on the field on New Year’s Day.
Had Philadelphia clinched the No. 1 seed by beating Dallas, the team would have had the option of sitting Hurts for the remainder of the regular season as he continues to heal from a shoulder sprain suffered in Week 15. Instead, the door remains open (albeit slightly) for the Cowboys to win the division; meanwhile, the Vikings’ win on Sunday leaves them just one game behind the Eagles for the top spot in the conference and associated bye week to begin the postseason.
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported yesterday that Hurts would “push to play” against the Saints in Week 17 in the event that game still had playoff implications (video link). Likewise, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network adds that there is a “real chance” the MVP candidate could suit up on Sunday (video link). That would represent a quick turnaround relative to the initial prognosis Hurts was given, which pointed to a two-week absence being likely.
At 13-2, the Eagles are still in pole position to win the NFC. Their offense also put up 27 points and 442 yards yesterday with Gardner Minshewat the helm, demonstrating the unit’s potential without Hurts in their matchup with the Saints. A return from the latter would nevertheless be a welcomed sight, given his substantial step forward taken this season in terms of production. The 24-year-old has totaled 3,472 passing yards and 22 touchdowns this season, adding 747 yards and 13 scores on the ground. Those figures have made him a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career, and put the Eagles squarely in Super Bowl contention.
Hurts’ participation in practice over the coming days will be worth monitoring closely. His ability to play through the pain caused by the injury will likely determine whether or not the Eagles dress him against the Saints, whose playoff fate has yet to be determined despite their 6-9 record. Even if Minshew starts once again, therefore, there will be plenty to play for next Sunday.
Jalen Hurts‘ shoulder injury will lead to the MVP candidate missing at least one game. Nick Sirianni said Thursday the plan is for the Eagles to start backup Gardner Minshew against the Cowboys.
The former Jaguars starter whom the Eagles acquired via trade last year, Minshew has made two starts with Philadelphia. Sirianni’s decision will wrap a regular season that will have featured two Cowboys-Eagles games involving backup quarterbacks. Cooper Rush faced Hurts in October, as Dak Prescott rehabbed his thumb injury.
While the Eagles are going week to week with Hurts, it is possible he either misses multiple games or does not return until the playoffs. During a Week 15 game in which Hurts matched his season-high with 17 carries, he suffered a shoulder sprain in the third quarter. Hurts finished the game, and it is believed he could play through this were Philly’s Christmas Eve Dallas rematch a must-win game. But the Eagles hold a three-game lead on the Cowboys in the NFC East and are essentially three up in the home-field advantage race, thanks to an early-season win over the 11-3 Vikings, so Hurts-related caution can take place.
This will become a pivotal game for Minshew, who is on track for free agency in March. The former Jags sixth-round pick has been a quality backup with the Eagles, after flashing frequently on struggling Jacksonville teams during his first two seasons. Although Urban Meyer continued to give Minshew first-team reps for much of the 2021 offseason, Trevor Lawrence‘s expected ascent coming to pass led to a Minshew trade. The Eagles acquired the Washington State product for a conditional draft choice last year. It became a sixth-rounder after Minshew did not play at least 50% of Philly’s offensive snaps in three games last season.
Minshew, 26, did clear the 50% barrier in two games last season — both starts. He filled in for Hurts, who was battling an ankle injury, against the Jets and started with a cast of Eagles backups against the Cowboys in Week 18. When playing with Philly starters in New Jersey, Minshew completed 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. That win helped an Eagles team that was not viewed especially highly entering last season into the playoffs.
After replacing an injured Nick Foles as a rookie in 2019, Minshew took over the Jags job for good later that season. In 14 games (12 starts) in 2019, the former Mike Leach pupil surprised most by throwing 21 touchdown passes compared to six interceptions. QBR rated Minshew in the bottom five that year, however, and the Jags went 1-7 in his 2020 starts en route to securing the following year’s No. 1 overall pick.
A multigame audition this season, backed by a well-built Eagles roster, could put Minshew on the radar to be a potential bridge option or at least up his value as a backup on the market. The Eagles host the Saints and Giants to close the season.