If Not Jalen Hurts Then Who?

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By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The Philadelphia Eagles offense was embarrassed in Sunday’s 31-15 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  There’s no shame in losing to the defending World Champions, but losing without showing a pulse isn’t exactly the way to head into the offseason.  And don’t fool yourself, the Eagles’ scored 15-points but the game was well in hand.  Blame for the loss can be passed around the NovaCare complex but serious questions abound about the starting quarterback position. 

Jalen Hurts was not good on Sunday.  In fact, Hurts’ regressed back to the indecisive, almost frantic, quarterback that we saw in the early part of the season.  Nick Sirianni, while critical, threw his support behind Hurts in the post game press conference.  Hurts’ teammates support him. Hell, I think Hurts should be the quarterback, at least for next year, but what does the front office think? There were rumors that Howie Roseman wasn’t sold and usually where there’s smoke there’s fire when it comes to Roseman. 

So, which way do the Eagles go if they decide to move in another direction? There aren’t many (good) options out there.  Here’s a look at potential replacements if the Eagles move on from Hurts:

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers' impending divorce with the Green Bay Packers has been well documented and many believe he will force a move this offseason.  The Packers have Jordan Love, who will be on year three of his rookie deal, waiting in the wings.  Trading Rodgers would cost the Packers over $26 million in dead cap space but also free up over $19 million in usable cap space.  Green Bay would certainly fleece any team that is looking to trade for the future Hall of Famer and the Eagles’ three first-round picks would be enticing. 

Does It Make Sense for the Eagles: No, absolutely not.  Rodgers is approaching 40-years old and makes sense for a team that’s on the verge of the Super Bowl.  The Eagles aren’t that team. Giving up at least two first-round picks for an aging quarterback, future Hall of Famer or not, could set this team back five or six years if it doesn’t work.  

 

Deshaun Watson

Forget it.  First, Watson would have to waive his no trade clause to want to come to Philadelphia.  It’s rumored that he wants to play for former Dolphins coach Brian Flores and will follow him wherever he ends up.  Second, which should probably be first, the dude might not be able to play next season.  There’s a high likelihood that Watson will be suspended by the NFL once his legal matters are resolved.  

Does It Make Sense for the Eagles: Absolutely not.  Why would the Eagles want to bring that type of toxicity into the locker room?  The Eagles would be forced to use two or more of their first-round picks and likely a player (Hurts?) to make the deal. Like Rodgers, acquiring Watson doesn’t get you any closer to a Super Bowl.  Save the picks and move along. 

 

Russell Wilson

Like Rodgers, Wilson may be headed for a divorce with his squad, the Seattle Seahawks.  Wilson, who turned 33 in November, has two-year remaining on his four-year, $140 million contract extension that he signed before the 2019 season.  Despite an injury, Wilson played more like the Russell Wilson of the past during the back half of the season.  If Wilson is set on leaving, Seattle will be able to get a nice haul.  Wilson does control his own destiny with a no trade clause. 

Does It Make Sense for the Eagles: Yes…but.  An Eagles-Wilson marriage makes the most sense of all the “big name” quarterbacks that could be on the move in the offseason.  But would Wilson accept the engagement?  Wilson has a no trade clause in his contract and he could veto a trade to the Eagles.  At 33-years old, Wilson might have another four or five elite years remaining and maybe another two-to-three average years after that.  Wilson would bring the Eagles closest to a chance at winning a Super Bowl. 

 

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy G has been a popular name on Eagles social media to take over as the next quarterback of the Eagles.  Garopallo is rumored to be available despite leading the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Divisional round.  The Niners drafted Trey Lance in the first round of the last draft to be the “guy” in San Fran.  The rookie played well in spurts but not enough to unseat Garoppolo.  Garoppolo will be on the last year of a 5-year, $137.5 million contract and the Niners would love to get something back for him. 

Does it Make Sense for the Eagles: Maybe.  Garoppolo will be an interesting name to watch if the Eagles decide to move in another direction at quarterback.  Drafted as the heir apparent to Tom Brady’s throne in New England, Garoppolo won two Super Bowl’s as a member of the Patriots albeit as a backup.  Jimmy G is a former NFL Network Top 100 player, No. 90 in 2017, and quarterbacked the Niners to Super Bowl LIV.  Garoppolo might be the cheapest of the available quarterbacks.  The Eagles should kick the tires on this one. 

 

2022 NFL Draft Class

ESPN ranks Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Matt Coral (Ole Miss), Desmond Ritter (Cincinnati), Malik Willis (Liberty), and Sam Howell (UNC) as the top rated quarterbacks headed into the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s tough to judge any of these quarterbacks based on their college seasons due to the varying levels of competition.  It will be easier to grade and slot the quarterbacks after the Reese’s Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.  

Does it Make Sense for the Eagles: Not really, at least not in the short term. While some of those names are intriguing, none stands out as a homerun pick that would immediately step in as a top level starter.  

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