The Eagles get this right.
Last week, to no one’s surprise, the Eagles locked down Jalen Hurts, their franchise quarterback, for five more seasons. What may have been surprises were the timing or even the dollar amount.
The contract, at an average of $51 million per year, give-or-take, made Hurts the highest-paid player in the National Football League. Of course, that title figures to last only until the next high-profile quarterback gets a new contract.
The Chargers’ Justin Herbert and the Bengals’ Joe Burrow both figure to top Hurts’ new deal sometime before the season starts. Then there are the two extended QB sagas involving Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers.
And that’s why the Eagles got things right.
Hurts and the Eagles came to terms without any public drama. Both sides got provisions that make it easy to adjust for the future. Most importantly, the deal was finished 10 days before the NFL Draft.
The Eagles have their future set, their roster set and their budget set ahead of their trip to Kansas City to pick a slate of players the team hopes it will have under contract while Hurts plays out his massive deal.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman can wheel and deal to his heart’s content at the draft secure in the knowledge that all the ducks are in a row.
Don’t underestimate that.
The Jets, Ravens and Packers have no clue what their roster will look like heading into the draft. Four or even five teams could pick a quarterback in the first round this year. That’s eight teams right there that don’t have what the Eagles have.
Roseman put the Eagles in excellent shape after the initial round of free agency. Now he’s locked down the QB. That’s two big steps toward getting back to a Super Bowl.
This is Philadelphia, though. What if things go wrong?
The Eagles are in good shape there, too. Before the original terms of the last Eagles’ quarterback-of-the-future contract have expired, the Eagles have committed to Hurts.
Carson Wentz didn’t work out. Michael Vick didn’t work out. Donovan McNabb was eventually traded. So was Randall Cunningham. Ron Jaworski got benched. Quarterbacks don’t last forever.
Still, the Eagles have shown a commitment to, well, commitment. The Eagles absorbed what was then the largest dead-money cap hit ever when Wentz was traded to Indianapolis. That didn’t prevent them from making Hurts the highest-paid player in the league.
Hurts won’t have that honor long, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get the chance to sign the next-biggest contract ever. The deal comes with the Eagles’ first no-trade clause. It also comes with enough provisions to extend, renegotiate or alter the terms that the Eagles can continue to surround Hurts with enough talent to make the contract a bargain.
The salary cap keeps adjusting upward. The pie keeps getting bigger. Signing Hurts now gives the Eagles more flexibility, stability and mobility than ever.
By the time this Hurts deal ends, he will be a bargain.
The Eagles got it right, again. ••