Jalen Hurts’ Disastrous Playoff Debut Just Re-Opened the Eagles’ Quarterback Controversy

When the Philadelphia Eagles finally traded Carson Wentz this past offseason, paving the way for Jalen Hurts to become the new starting quarterback, a collective sigh of relief was let out by most Eagles fans. The ongoing quarterback controversy taking place in Philly was an exhausting one — everyone was ready to move forward with one clear and defined starter.

Fast forward to January 16, 2022, and the Eagles find themselves right back at square one.

Jalen Hurts had an ugly playoff debut

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts.
Jalen Hurts | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Their strength of schedule wasn’t the hardest, and most of their wins were largely unimpressive. However, the Eagles were a playoff team this year nevertheless. Taking advantage of the new seven-team format, the Eagles at least gave themselves a chance to make some noise against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

At the center of the Eagles’ playoff chances was, of course, Hurts. Despite being named a Pro Bowl alternate, there was still a hefty amount of back-and-forth regarding his arm strength during the regular season. Would he have the arm talent to go toe-to-toe with Brady on a big stage?

The very blunt answer to that question turned out to be no. Hurts had a downright miserable playoff debut down in Tampa Bay. He threw two interceptions, recorded a 53.5 completion rate, and finished with a 60.0 passer rating. His final passing yard total of 258 yards is misleading as well — he didn’t even have 100 passing yards by halftime. Most of Hurts’ production game during garbage time.

Granted, the Eagles defense offered little resistance to Brady and the Bucs offense, and WR Jalen Reagor made some killer mistakes on special teams. However, it’s ultimately the quarterback’s job to score points, and Hurts didn’t score any until the fourth quarter.

The Eagles’ QB controversy has opened once again

One bad game doesn’t negate everything Hurts accomplished this past season. He did have a solid year considering it was his first full season as an NFL starter.

However, what the one bad game does do is reopen the controversy surrounding the Eagles’ QB position. The Eagles desperately wanted Hurts to prove to everyone — on a national stage — that he has what it takes to be “The Guy” in Philadelphia. Instead, he showed signs of serious limitations. His lack of arm talent ultimately came back to bite the Eagles.

Whether fans like it or not, a team with three first-round picks and no clear franchise QB on the roster will always be connected to external moves at the position.

Should the Eagles replace Jalen Hurts?

When it comes to Jalen Hurts’ future in Philadelphia, one can make an argument for both avenues being the correct one. On the one hand, Hurts showed good signs of development and is on a cheap contract for another two seasons. On the other hand, he wasn’t good enough when the lights shined brightest, and the Eagles aren’t going to magically stumble into another three first-round picks again.

The Eagles currently have the draft capital to orchestrate a blockbuster quarterback trade. The Eagles also have realistic options worth targeting, with Russell Wilson and Derek Carr likely hitting the trade block this offseason.

Whether you’re a Hurts fan or not, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Carr and Wilson would’ve given the Eagles a better chance to win against Tampa Bay.

Ultimately speaking, this franchise-altering decision rests on the shoulders of owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman. If they feel like they can pull off a move for a proper franchise QB, they could easily justify doing so. If they want to give Hurts one more year, they could easily justify doing that too. However, the one certain thing is that the controversy is back on.

People will be talking about the Eagles’ QB situation all the way up until Week 1 of the 2022 season.

All stats courtesy of ESPN.

RELATED: Kenny Pickett Becoming the Steelers New QB1 Is ‘One to Watch’ According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport