Naturally, that should put Jalen Hurts in the driver’s seat to take over as the team’s starting quarterback. But just because he arrived as a second-round pick less than a year ago doesn’t mean the former University of Oklahoma star will line up under center in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.
In fact, Philadelphia has already made a major decision about Hurts’ future that should make Eagles fans a bit nervous about what the NFC East franchise may do in the 2021 NFL draft.
The Carson Wentz trade leaves Philadelphia dangerously thin at the most important position in sports
Just a few years ago, the Eagles traded away precious draft capital to take Carson Wentz with the second pick of the 2016 NFL draft.
Initially, the move appeared to pay off.
But after essentially playing his way out of a job, the former North Dakota State star left the Eagles with little choice but to throw in the towel on the expensive experiment.
Despite the significant financial ramifications involved, Philadelphia bit the bullet on Thursday and finally executed a trade to get rid of Wentz.
To little surprise, the Colts ended up winning the “sweepstakes” for a quarterback who managed to lose his job to a rookie last season.
ESPN first reported that Indianapolis will send a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 second-round selection to Philadelphia in exchange for Wentz.
The move may have freed the Eagles of a disappointing player, but it also cost them dearly. By unloading Wentz and his bloated contract, they will incur a record-setting $33.8 million dead-cap hit.
While the move may be viewed as addition by subtraction, the fact remains that the Eagles have a dangerously thin quarterback depth chart. In fact, with Nate Sudfield set to hit free agency, Jalen Hurts is the only signal-caller under contract for the 2021 season.
The Eagles have already made a major decision about Jalen Hurts’ future
While the Green Bay Packers raised the most eyebrows by trading up to select Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL draft, the Eagles caused plenty of buzz by using the 53rd overall pick on Jalen Hurts. After all, it seemed like a strange use of resources to spend a second-round selection on a quarterback given the presence of Carson Wentz.
But with Philadelphia moving on from the NFL’s highest-paid backup, that seemingly should put Hurts in a position to take over as the team’s starting quarterback.
And based on a report from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson of ESPN, the Eagles have already made a major decision on his future.
Unfortunately for a player who knows exactly what it’s like to get replaced from his time at the University of Alabama, the possibility exists that Hurts may not line up under center in Week 1.
According to ESPN, although the Eagles “are likely” to turn to Hurts, they intend on bringing in competition for him. The starting quarterback job is not expected to automatically go to the only signal-caller on the current roster.
So even though Philadelphia recently devoted a second-round pick on Hurts, that does not mean the second-year pro has the QB1 job sewn up. Rather, he will have to prove he deserves the job by beating out whoever gets brought on board this offseason.
While he may have a bright future ahead, the possibility also exists that Hurts could soon see the Eagles acquire his own replacement.
Will Howie Roseman select a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft?
Considering he only started four games as a rookie, Jalen Hurts hasn’t truly been given a chance to prove whether he has what it takes to be the Eagles’ next franchise quarterback.
Obviously, getting rid of Carson Wentz gives him a much better chance at securing the starting job. Yet, with Philadelphia expected to bring in other quarterbacks to compete for that role, Hurts will have to enjoy a strong training camp and preseason in order to cement his status as QB1.
That’s assuming, of course, that the Eagles don’t devote another premium draft pick on the position.
Howie Roseman faces an interesting decision when it comes to the sixth pick of the 2021 NFL draft. On one hand, Philadelphia’s general manager could use the selection on a wide receiver or offensive lineman to help Hurts succeed. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles go for an elite defensive playmaker to give a major boost to a unit that ranked 20th in points allowed in 2020.
On the other hand, Roseman may have a tough time passing on the chance to draft a quarterback with yet another top-10 selection.
Depending on how the top of the draft shakes out, Philadelphia could come on the clock with an opportunity to land a high-upside prospect like Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
Would Roseman pull the trigger on a quarterback after bringing Hurts aboard last year?
Crazier things have happened in Philadelphia.
After all, the Eagles just traded away a player who signed a $128 million contract extension just over 18 months ago.