Jalen Hurts is going to have competition in Eagles camp, but some across the NFL believe Hurts is already an upgrade over Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz might not be in Philadelphia anymore, but questions about what the future holds for the Eagles certainly do. Jalen Hurts is hoping he can help provide some answers, even if he’s not being handed the reigns simply for being the next man up.
Wentz was traded to Indianapolis on Thursday in exchange for a pair of draft picks, but it remains to be seen if Hurts is the long-term answer at the most important position in sports.
“He’s a winner,” a former AFC Scouting Director tells FanSided, on the condition of anonymity to speak freely on Hurts, because he still consults for several teams. “He’s an adequate passer and processor, but a runner first.
“He’s better at winning games in a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality than actually within a designed system. I just love him as a kid and competitor, but he’s not a Super Bowl caliber quarterback at this point.”
Reports surfaced as early as Friday that the Eagles intended to bring in competition for Hurts at quarterback, but that could be a tall order given that Philadelphia currently sits $43.1 million over the current salary cap floor of $180 million.
If Hurts is the Eagles’ starting quarterback in 2021, some across the league believe that he is already a bit of an upgrade over Wentz.
“The two things Hurts has going for him over Carson,” an NFC personnel executive tells FanSided. “Is youth, and health. He doesn’t have Carson’s laundry list of an injury history. He’s also a bit more mobile.”
Hurts played sparingly throughout the first half of his rookie season before replacing Wentz as the Eagles’ starter over the final four weeks. The former Alabama and Oklahoma standout completed just 52 percent of his passes in 2020 for 1,061 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions, while adding 354 rushing yards and three more scores.
The Eagles chose Hurts in the second-round of the 2020 NFL Draft, in part as an insurance policy on Wentz’s injury history and in an effort to have a young quarterback to develop who is capable of stepping in and winning games at a moment’s notice.
Now, with Wentz dealt to the Colts in exchange for a third-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, and a conditional second-round pick in 2022 that can become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75 percent of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps or 70 percent of snaps and the Colts make the postseason, Hurts will likely be asked to do much more for the Eagles than the organization originally planned.
Here’s a look at three ways that Hurts is already an upgrade over his predecessor: Leadership
There seemed to be a fissure that developed both between Wentz and a portion of the Eagles’ fanbase, as well as more importantly, factions of the locker room following the team’s victory in Super Bowl LII.
Some fans believed that Nick Foles, who took down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots as Super Bowl MVP delivering the Eagles the first Vince Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, was the better option at quarterback and that seemed to impact Wentz’s temperament.
Likewise, multiple reports suggested that several Eagles players felt alienated by Wentz over the past several seasons. League sources tell FanSided that Wentz responds best to “hard coaching,” but is “reticent” to it, which rubbed some players the wrong way over the past two seasons.
It was easy to see the spark Hurts gave the Eagles’ offense down the stretch, when he led a 24-21 victory in his first career start over the eventual NFC South champion New Orleans Saints, passing for 167 yards and a touchdown while adding 18 rushes for 106 yards.
Hurts already seems to be assuming the mantle of the Eagles’ leader, as NBC Sports reports that the second-year quarterback plans to gather several of Philadelphia’s top receivers for a passing camp in Texas sometime this offseason. If some veteran players believed Hurts had more upside than Wentz, and Hurts continues to build rapport with his offensive weapons this offseason, it could earn him plenty of equity with a new coaching staff as well as his locker room come September.