If you were to tell me one year ago that Carson Wentz was no longer the quarterback of the Eagles, and Jalen Hurts was the starter entering the draft, I'd tell you to go to therapy. The management of the Philadelphia Eagles has been a complete and utter embarrassment over the last year, and everything started to unfold when the Eagles were on the clock with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Philadelphia had the opportunity to select LSU superstar wideout Justin Jefferson who was coming off of a season in which he had over 1500 yards and 18 touchdowns receiving in the most prolific college offense of all time, but instead, Howie Roseman thought he was outsmarting everyone by selecting Jalen Reagor. Reagor had barely over 600 yards and 5 touchdowns in only three fewer games of action than Jefferson. This led to Howie Roseman selecting Heisman Finalist Jalen Hurts in the second round, which yet again shocked the world and even people inside of the Eagles organization, including Carson Wentz. The Eagles were going into an offseason where it was all about building around Wentz, but Howie managed to do the exact opposite. It was once believed the Eagles had their franchise quarterback, but now they are looking into the uncertain future of not knowing who the quarterback will be moving forward. The 2021 NFL Draft will tell a lot about the future in Philly, but before that let's take a deep dive into the possibilities that lie ahead for the team’s quarterback situation.
The Eagles could already have their franchise guy in town, and that is 2019 Heisman Finalist Jalen Hurts. The Eagles were 1-3 in Hurts’ four starts in 2020 and Hurts showed some promise, especially as a runner, but is that enough to deem him the franchise guy? Hurts has all the required leadership intangibles; he's the first guy in and the last guy out as they all say, and the team seems to rally behind him. He is a low center of gravity, a modern-day dual-threat quarterback with a beautiful deep ball. But the main question remains, can Hurts win games with his arm? In his four career starts, the trendy answer is no, as he only completed 52% of his passes, which would rank last in the NFL if he played enough games to register for that stat. Hurts also had a Quarterback Rating of 41, and to put that into perspective, a QBR of 50 is considered average. With all of this, it seems as if Hurts is not the guy for the future, but all signs point to the Eagles thinking otherwise. If Hurts turns out to be the franchise guy, the Eagles can use the assets they acquired for the 2022 NFL Draft to build around Hurts. But if he isn't the guy, the Eagles will have all of the assets they need to make a big-time move.
There are currently two big-time names on the trade market for quarterbacks, and those names are Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. The Eagles have been linked to both of these quarterbacks according to many NFL Insiders. An anonymous NFL executive told The Athletic that the Eagles are the front runners for Russell Wilson.
"All they're doing is stockpiling picks for next year, so they can get weapons for Jalen Hurts or acquire one of the top two overall picks to draft a quarterback, and I would put Philly in the driver's seat for Russell Wilson next year if Seattle moves him. That would have Howie Roseman written all over it."
Additionally, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Eagles are one of two teams closely monitoring Deshaun Watson's legal situation. The other team happens to be Miami who is also linked to both Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, and Miami has been stockpiling on draft picks. If the Eagles were to make a move for either Watson or Wilson, the asking price would be significant, as we saw former Lions’ quarterback Mathew Stafford get traded for two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and two-time Pro-Bowler Jared Goff. Both Wilson and Watson are considered more valuable than Stafford among executives, so the Eagles would be required to give up at least three to four first-round picks, multiple second or third-round picks, and most likely a quality player to help balance the cap situation. If Philly acquired one of these two superstars, they would not have much to support their franchise guy with as they would be tied down to a mega-contract, and they would have given up a hefty amount of assets just to acquire the quarterback. However, there are still several more options Philly is considering.
The Eagles could also use their assets they have acquired for the 2022 NFL Draft to trade up to select a quarterback, and that seems like not only the most likely scenario but the most beneficial one too. The Eagles are not considered a contender in 2021, so they should end up with a high draft pick. Additionally, Miami played one of the easiest schedules in 2020 and they failed to reach the playoffs, while in 2021 the Dolphins play one of the hardest schedules in the NFL. The Eagles just happen to have Miami's first-round pick along with a second-round pick from Indianapolis that could become a first-round pick depending on the percentage of snaps Carson Wentz plays for the Colts in 2021. If Roseman and Lurie don't see Hurts as the future, the Eagles could use two of their first-round picks to trade up and select who they believe to be their franchise guy, which would be a much cheaper alternative than trading for either Watson or Wilson. The Eagles would not only save a ton of assets, but they would also save close to $30 million in cap space for up to five years due to how rookie contracts work.
The 2022 quarterback class is considered the weakest of the last half-decade, but this happens every year and there are always one to two quarterbacks that surprise everyone and end up being drafted towards the top of the class. In each of the last two drafts, the first overall picks, Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow, went into their final collegiate seasons not being projected to be drafted, but both took their teams to the playoffs, won the Heisman, and were the first overall pick. The 2022 draft class has two quarterbacks that are considered future NFL stars, and those two quarterbacks are Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler and North Carolina's Sam Howell. Regardless, Howie Roseman has set the Eagles up to have the assets to make a big-time move at the quarterback position, or build around Jalen Hurts if he impresses in the 2021 campaign.