NFL

Jalen Hurts Isn’t Waiting for the Eagles to Hand Him the Starting QB Job

Carson Wentz hasn’t left just yet, but the Philadelphia Eagles are realizing that Jalen Hurts won’t assume that job is his once the inevitable occurs. Hurts, coming off his rookie season out of Oklahoma by way of Alabama, is intent upon earning the job as their starting quarterback.

By the looks of it, he is taking a solid first step in that direction.

Carson Wentz apparently is out, Jalen Hurts is in

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The Philadelphia Eagles apparently envision a transition to a new starting quarterback. Part of their motivation is that the Carson Wentz contract numbers are burdensome compared to the Jalen Hurts deal that they could ride for the next few years.

Wentz was golden for the Eagles from 2017-19, throwing 81 touchdowns in 40 games with just 21 interceptions. His completion rate (64.4%) and passer rating (98.3) were right up there with other top NFL quarterbacks.

Wentz has three seasons left on the four-year, $128 million deal he signed in April 2019 … and the Eagles have reservations. Wentz broke 60% accuracy just three times and threw 15 interceptions (and just 16 TDs) in 12 games last fall. Heading toward a fourth straight loss, Philadelphia benched Wentz in Week 13.

It’s not even a secret that’s on the market, but the Eagles have had no takers after trying to open the bidding at a pair of first-rounders. They will continue to find a way to move Wentz and put his money to better use since the last three years of Jalen Hurts’ $6 million rookie contract are much more manageable.

Jalen Hurts performed to mixed reviews

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The Jalen Hurts Eagles Era began in the final month of the NFL season to mixed reviews. A second-round pick in the 2020 draft, he completed just 52% of his passes and won just one of his four starts. However, Hurts did not have the benefit of a preseason to get acclimated, and Hurts showed dual-threat potential with 354 yards and three touchdowns in 62 rushing attempts.

His rookie season revealed concerns about Hurts’ throwing mechanics. On the other hand, he made a seamless transition in his one season at Oklahoma after losing the Alabama starting job to Tua Tagovailoa. So, the line of thinking is that he is capable of making a big leap forward for the Philadelphia Eagles in Year 2.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have the luxury of not necessarily needing to commit to Hurts yet. Some believe that they should move Wentz now to avoid a $10 million roster bonus that kicks in on March 19, 2021. However, they can also wait until after the draft and the free agency merry-go-round play out. Someone is likely to be facing the prospect of going to camp unsettled at quarterback, meaning the Eagles can shake loose at least one of the first-round picks they’ve sought.

The prospect of potentially having to fight off Wentz when camp starts in July would give Hurts added incentive to work hard this offseason.

The heir apparent at QB has taken the initiative

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Quarterbacks on any of the 32 NFL teams are expected to be leaders on the field, which requires them to lead off it as well. Jalen Hurts seems intent on showing proper initiative as he wraps up his first full year with the Philadelphia Eagles.

John Clark of NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate has reported that some young Eagles receivers are making plans to head to Texas for workouts that Hurts is organizing.

That constitutes an obvious boost to Hurts’ odds of opening the 2021 season as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.