With the new Jalen Hurts contract extension, the Philadelphia Eagles QB is now the highest-paid player in NFL history. That’s right. The quarterback who couldn’t beat out Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama and had to transfer to Oklahoma will now make $51 million per season. Obviously, this is life-changing for the Eagles quarterback, but it also changes things for other NFL QBs like Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow.
Jalen Hurts’ contract means big money (per season) for Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow
The Jalen Hurts story is an incredible tale of perseverance and hard work.
As the Alabama starting quarterback, he led his team to the 2018 national championship game, only to get benched at halftime in favor of freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who won the game for the Crimson Tide. Hurts played one more season at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma for one more chance to start.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, quarterbacks Joe Burrow, Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love all went ahead of Hurts. And after going 9-10 in his first two years as a starter, things looked bleak for the Eagles QB.
However, in 2022, Hurts turned things around and made a massive leap. He went 14-1 as a starter, made his first Pro Bowl appearance, and finished second in the MVP race. Oh yeah, and he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
After all this, the Eagles rewarded their now-franchise signal-caller with a five-year, $255 million Jalen Hurts contract extension with $110 million guaranteed at signing and $180 million practically guaranteed.
The most interesting number here, though, is the average annual value (AAV) of the deal, which is $51 million. This number surpasses Aaron Rodgers’ $50.2 million AAV, making Hurts the highest-paid NFL player (by AAV) of all time.
And as good as this is for Hurts, it’s equally as positive for the next wave of QBs looking for a long-term deal such as the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, the Cincinnati Bengals Joe Burrow, the Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert, and likely the Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence, too.
This Jalen Hurts contract resets the superstar quarterback market after the Cleveland Browns threw it out of whack last offseason, giving Deshaun Watson a fully-guaranteed $230 million deal. That extension is the primary reason Lamar Jackson and the Ravens haven’t been able to agree on their extension, causing all the drama surrounding the signal-caller.
For Jackson, this deal should lead to him signing long-term with the Ravens or to a team finally trading for him. The Jalen Hurts contract takes the market back to a place where the AAV continues to go up with each new franchise QB signed but backs the guarantees back down to around half at signing and ¾ practically guaranteed in the first few years.
Teams can now point to this deal as the benchmark for quarterbacks and allow them to throw out the Watson pact as a ridiculous outlier offered by a poorly run organization. It allows the Ravens (or a team TBD) to give Lamar Jackson a more reasonable deal, and both parties can save face after this contentious offseason.
For Joe Burrow and the Bengals, this also provides a roadmap as to what his contract extension will look like. As the No. 1 pick in the same draft as Hurts, who has been one of the best QBs in the league and also has a Super Bowl appearance under his belt, Burrow should get a deal that slightly eclipses this one, making him the highest-paid player of all time.
Most of all, it sets the AAV floor for Burrow. To keep pace with the new standard in quarterback contract extensions, we now know that the next Joe Burrow contract will likely have an AAV of slightly over $51 million per season.
As the contractual snowball continues downhill, this also means that Just Herbert will be in that range as well. What’s interesting in Herbert’s case is that while he was drafted a round-plus higher than Hurts, he hasn’t yet had the success the Eagles QB has. So, the question becomes, will the Chargers get Herbert at a number somewhere between Hurts and Burrow? Or will he come in just under the $51 million of the Jalen Hurts contract?
The longer-reaching implications also make it easier for the Jaguars to figure out a Trevor Lawrence extension in the next few years, as long as nothing wonky happens with Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert.
In Lawrence’s case, as long as he continues down the path he’s on, his AAV should be slightly higher than whatever Burrow gets on his extension.
That’s how these things are supposed to go in the NFL. And after Deshaun Watson and the Browns threatened the status quo, the Jalen Hurts contract sets things right again, which ultimately makes things easier for the Bengals and Ravens with Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson.
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