That’s how you stick by your man. Guess they don’t know how to do that in Baltimore. Jalen Hurts doesn’t have to worry about whether Philadelphia loves him or not, well, or at least Howie Roseman does. And he might as well speak for the City of Brotherly Love, except for how you’d get treated at Wells Fargo Center if the Flyers lose (which is a lot) as a road fan. Hurts reportedly will sign a five-year, $255 million contract extension that’ll make him the highest-paid player in NFL history. If that wasn’t enough, the deal includes nearly $180 million in guaranteed money and a no-trade clause. Guess he’ll have enough “charm” around the cheesesteak lovers right?
Hurts’ haul to throw the pigskin was the obvious move for the Eagles. No team can win a Super Bowl without an elite quarterback and no player in the NFL improved their stock more last season than Hurts, who went from thin ice to cult hero in Philadelphia nearly overnight. Despite losing a key piece like Miles Sanders or both coordinators from last season to head coaching jobs, the Eagles are in a place where a route back to another Super Bowl looks likely. Their only true challengers in the NFC are the 49ers. And San Francisco is loaded except at quarterback, which is akin to saying you’ve got the best three-legged cat ever. It’ll be functional and smart, but it’ll still walk funny and eventually fall over.
Does Hurts’ play by itself deserve that contract? Nope, not even close. But it’s supply and demand in the NFL. And with a low supply of similar parts, it’s an easy investment for the Eagles to keep the main cog in place to earn another Lombardi Trophy. Hurts will only be in his fourth year in the NFL and third as Philadelphia’s opening-week starter. He’s had one legendary season and needed to get a bigger bag. The biggest bag of all time? No, and his paycheck will be topped with a Patrick Mahomes, or Joe Burrow extension within the next five years. As amazing as Hurts proved to be last season, a clear runner-up in the two-man MVP race, the extreme demand for someone of Hurts’ caliber drove his price tag. By no means was Hurts anything short of spectacular last season. He wasn’t “highest-paid player ever” good.
How does Hurts’ new contract impact the NFL?
That overcompensation, both literally, and figuratively, will have a domino effect for the league other than another franchise topping Hurts’ truckload of money, namely, in a front office 100 miles southwest in Baltimore. Lamar Jackson hasn’t brought Baltimore to a Super Bowl or even an AFC Championship game. He’s got a longer proven track record and an MVP award. The Ravens know Jackson’s asking price rose with Hurts getting his due. And other teams interested in bringing Jackson’s services away from the state of Maryland will make Hurts’ contract a major talking point of any pitch.
Baltimore doesn’t have to top what the Eagles are paying Hurts to retain Jackson, but something in the ballpark now should be a requirement, if it wasn’t already. The situations surrounding the two quarterbacks are hard to compare outside of straight moolah. Seeing Hurts get his due won’t make Jackson feel any better that he hasn’t been shown the same love by Baltimore. It’s a fair argument to say Hurts deserves it more at the moment than Jackson does. It doesn’t mean Jackson doesn’t deserve to also be given the main-cog position of the team he plays for. Your move, Baltimore.