Eagles Address ‘Unique Situation’ Amid Jalen Hurts’ Contract Rumors

Jeffrey Lurie

Getty Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie may finally have the gold standard franchise nearly 20 years after his infamous quote.

The millionaire-dollar question this offseason is when the Philadelphia Eagles are going to pay Jalen Hurts. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie appears ready to break the bank on a player he gushed about at the NFL Annual Meetings in Arizona. Lurie was running out of adjectives to describe Hurts after calling him “incredible” and “phenomenal.”

Lurie wasn’t going to spill the beans on how contract negotiations were going. And, really, that’s not his job. He has entrusted general manager Howie Roseman to figure the financials out and lock Hurts up. But, listening to Lurie speak so candidly about the quarterback, it’s in the works. The Eagles are committed to their 24-year-old leader who has aced every test thrown at him.

“I think the future is so great for him,” Lurie told reporters on March 28. “He’s 24 years old, honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone that mature at age 24. You know, my son’s 27 and he’s very mature … no, Jalen’s the most mature 24 -year-old I’ve ever come across.”

The Eagles have been prepping for this moment, too. They let seven key starters walk out the door in free agency, then restructured the contracts of guys like Darius Slay, Lane Johnson, and Jake Elliott to free up extra money. With Hurts estimated to command between $40-$50 million annually, the team has been frugally calculated in everything they’ve done so far. They’ll make it work under the constraints of a tight salary cap.

“We’ve seen teams do it. We’re challenged to be one of those teams,” Lurie said. “I think the most important aspect of that is to have the right quarterback. Assuming you have the right coach, the right staff, the right general manager, their staff, the right culture, all that goes into — all the resources necessary. But then you’ve got to have – I think it’s so helpful to have a dynamic quarterback who’s a great leader, a special person, and someone that is so hungry and not just to win it once but to win it multiple times and obsessed.”

Comparing Deals: Carson Wentz, Donovan McNabb

The Eagles have long been ahead of the curve in rewarding strong quarterback play. Donovan McNabb received a $115 million contract extension in what was called the “most lucrative pact in NFL history” in 2002.

Then, in 2019, Carson Wentz was rewarded with a $128 million deal backed by the largest guaranteed total at the time. Both players had their own unique ups and downs in Philly, but nobody — especially not the Eagles’ front office — ever doubted their talents.

On Tuesday, Lurie was specifically asked to share his experiences in dealing with franchise quarterbacks. He stopped short of comparing or contrasting Hurts to Wentz and McNabb, although their names did come up in passing. Each contract negotiation is different, according to Lurie.

“Every quarterback’s different,” Lurie said. “Donovan’s different. Carson was a unique situation, and he suffered a lot of serious injuries right after the contract. And Jalen’s very different than those two. The thing with Jalen that I’m so optimistic about is he’s just got this incredible — I’m not telling you anything you don’t know here, seeing him virtually every day he’s got an incredible passion for being phenomenal, and you see that in the great ones.

“And we all know in other sports and with certain quarterbacks in this league, you can define them by their obsession with detail and work ethic. You know, and we always knew Jalen was talented, had a very live arm that we thought was discounted in college because he was such a great runner. And his character was always considered great. But, maybe, the advantage we had is we always respected his ability to throw the football.”

Eagles Committed to Signing Franchise QB

Lurie largely echoed what Roseman has been saying ever since the red confetti fell down after Super Bowl LVII. The Eagles intend to extend Hurts and the plan is to do it “relatively soon.”

“It’s no secret that at some time relatively soon we want to extend our quarterback,” Roseman told reporters on March 27. “Not that we have anything done, but obviously our goal is to keep Jalen here for a long time.”

Lurie added: “We’ll be working with Jalen I’m sure for a long time.”

How soon? No one is quite sure on the timeline, although contract negotiations have opened between the Chargers and Justin Herbert, which would seem to add urgency to those “initial conversations” happening in Philly. The Eagles would prefer to set the market before the other elite quarterbacks from the Class of 2020 start raking in checks.

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