Jalen Hurts might be the best bargain in professional sports right now. He’s an MVP candidate on the verge of leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. And he’s a third-year player waiting on a life-changing, face-of-the-franchise type of long-term financial commitment.
You see, Hurts is playing under the constraints of his rookie deal (making $1.08 million) without the rights to a fifth-year option for 2024. Time is money and the Eagles would be wise to head to the negotiating table sooner than later. It seems likely those conversations have already begun in the bowels of the NovaCare Complex, with talks bound to heat up after the Super Bowl.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there is “more urgency” within the Eagles’ organization to hand Hurts a contract extension this offseason before the market explodes. Fowler cites Justin Herbert (Chargers), Joe Burrow (Bengals), and Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) as barometers that the Philly front office might want to beat. Hurts could be staring at $50 million per year, or at least $44.2 million annually.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano added that the Eagles want to get something done with Hurts as soon as possible before the market drives up the price. Sure, the franchise got burned a bit for locking up Carson Wentz prematurely in 2019 but it wasn’t because they didn’t see the landscape clearly enough. They did. Wentz just never lived up to the hype or fulfilled his end of the bargain. Graziano wrote:
The sooner the Eagles get their deal done with Hurts, the less time the market has to drive up the price … In Wentz’s case they might not have read the player correctly, but they did read the market correctly and I think that will guide Eagles GM Howie Roseman again in this case. Remember: Since Hurts was a second-round pick, the Eagles do not hold a fifth-year option on him for 2024 as the Bengals do with Burrow and the Chargers with Herbert. So there’s a little more urgency to get Hurts’ deal done.
Hurts Should Insist on 4-Year Contract Extension
Wentz received a 4-year, $128 million contract extension in June 2019 after three stellar seasons and a Super Bowl title. That deal should serve as a good starting point for Hurts and his agents, although Hurts should have more leverage than Wentz whether he wins or loses Super Bowl LVII.
The market has changed, number one, plus Hurts has taken a significant leap in each of his first three seasons. He looks every bit the part of a franchise quarterback at age 24, much more than Wentz ever did when you factor intangibles like leadership and likeability.
CBS Sports’ Joel Corry – a former sports agent and salary cap expert – believes the Eagles may push for a 5-year contract extension, something in line with the $43 million deal inked by Josh Allen in 2021. However, it might be in Hurts’ best interest to demand a 4-year deal and see how the league’s new $113 billion media-rights deal shakes out.
“Giving Hurts the second most overall guarantees, if not also full guarantee, behind Watson’s $230 million, is probably going to be necessary to get a deal done,” Corry wrote. “That would be more than Wilson’s $124 million fully guaranteed at signing and $165 million in overall guarantees.
Jeffrey Lurie Has Seen Enough, Backs Jalen Hurts
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie will be the one signing the check if and when Hurts inks a long-term contract in Philadelphia. General manager Howie Roseman will negotiate the deal, but Lurie has to feel good about the person set to represent his franchise for the next half a decade.
Well, he does. Hurts has nothing left to prove on or off the field in Lurie’s opinion.
“I don’t think he has anything to prove,” Lurie told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “He is an MVP-caliber quarterback, an incredible leader of the team on the field (and) off the field. He’s 24 years old, incredibly mature and, most importantly, driven to be even better. What we’re seeing today, I think, is just the beginning for Jalen. This guy will attack every weakness, as he has since high school (and) since college. The future is bright and very exciting for all of us.”