NFL Rumors: Wild insider theory suggests Eagles trade Jalen Hurts

Should the Eagles trade Jalen Hurts? The numbers say it might not be such a terrible idea.

Philadelphia Eagles, Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles, Jalen Hurts / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles reached the Super Bowl and were a roll of the dice away from upending Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs dynasty in the big game. Philly was led by young quarterback Jalen Hurts, who broke out that season with a career-high 101.5 QB Rating, tossing 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions as an improvement from 22 TDs and 13 INTs in his first two seasons combined.

Although the Eagles began the 2023 NFL regular season on quite the tear, they ended with a whimper, dropping five of their final six games before getting shellacked by - of all people - Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Head coach Nick Sirianni has seemingly survived the chopping block, and while Hurts himself doesn't seem to be at any risk, an interesting thought exercise from Pro Football Talk's veteran insider Mike Florio suggests otherwise.

In connecting the salary cap dots, Florio notes that Hurts has a whopping $38.875 million option bonus for the 2024 season. If picked up, Hurts would then earn a staggering $82 million guaranteed over the next two seasons, which is elite quarterback money. He could then make $51 million for the 2026 season, which would become almost fully guaranteed by March 2025.

However, if Hurts were traded before June 1, they would merely have to take a cap hit of $18.632 million and then be absolved of the rest of this surprisingly jaw-dropping contract when accounting for the upcoming guarantees.

The Eagles need to decide if Jalen Hurts is closer to 'average' or 'elite'

At first glance, the notion of trading Hurts seemed preposterous, given he had just led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in the previous season and was second in the AP's MVP voting. However, Hurts' interception total ballooned to 15 in the 2023 season, while his yards per attempt average dropped from 8.0 to 7.2, which was about where it was in each of his first two NFL seasons.

So did Hurts actually have a third-year breakout or was that season the anomaly? Did he regress to the mean in his fourth year or was that downturn in performance the exception because of unideal circumstances? Hurts can point to a lack of wide receiver depth, but, by the same token, he has two 1,000-yard receivers, including a legitimate MVP candidate at the position in AJ Brown.

Hurts' adjusted QB Rating+ of 100 means that he was exactly a league average passer last season. On the ground, the former second-round pick had 15 touchdowns to reach double digits for the third time in his career. Hurts has talent and is an asset to the Eagles in some ways, but as impressive as the rushing statistics are when combined with the at least average passing numbers, none of those stats scream "elite".

The Eagles set Hurts' contract up to where June 1, 2024, would be the commitment decision point. Now, the Eagles have to decide whether they believe Hurts is an elite quarterback or not, because after June 1, they will start paying him like one, committing to the young QB as the face of the franchise.

There should be a team desperate enough to want Hurts and to like his fit, but the Eagles know him best. If they feel like they can win with another quarterback and view Hurts as closer to "average" than "elite", they could get some picks and use the money saved to reload at other positions around a new signal-caller.

Next. 1 biggest weakness for every remaining NFL playoff team. 1 biggest weakness for every remaining NFL playoff team. dark