The Philadelphia Eagles have made Jalen Hurts one of the highest-paid players in NFL history with a massive contract extension. The Eagles have agreed to give Hurts $255 million over five years with $179.304 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Jalen Hurts’ contract extension comes just two months after he led the Eagles to Super Bowl 57. While the Baltimore Ravens haven’t been able to ink Lamar Jackson to a new contract, Philadelphia can rest assured that its franchise quarterback will be on the roster for years to come.
Hurts was one of the best quarterbacks in football last season. He finished second in the 2022 NFL MVP voting. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be an MVP candidate moving forward. Was it smart for Philadelphia to sign Hurts for more than a quarter of a billion dollars?
Lets’s grade the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts contract.
Eagles’ Jalen Hurts Contract Grade
There are three important aspects of Hurts’ contract that must be examined: average annual value, guaranteed money and total value. The total value of the extension holds the least amount of importance since—much to Lamar Jackson’s dismay—NFL contracts aren’t fully guaranteed.
Patrick Mahomes’ $450 million contract is NFL’s most expensive deal, by a mile. Second is Josh Allen and his $258 million deal, putting him just ahead of Hurts. Mahomes has cemented himself as the NFL’s best quarterback. An argument can be made that Hurts is better than Allen. Hurts certainly was the better quarterback this past season. According to the MVP race, only Mahomes had a better 2022 campaign than Hurts.
Hurts is only 24 years old. Before agreeing to the extension, Hurts had one year and less than $4.8 million left on his contract. Hurts’ contract is set to be up at the end of the 2028 season when he’s still just 30 years old. Given Hurts’ recent production and young age, $255 million is a more than reasonable amount of money for the Eagles to commit to their quarterback.
The total value of Hurts’ contract isn’t the richest, but the deal is the most lucrative of all time on a per-season basis. The Eagles are set to pay Hurts $51 million per year, giving the quarterback a record average annual salary. Aaron Rodgers ranks second all-time with a $50.2 million salary. He’s followed by Russell Wilson ($48.5 million), Kyler Murray ($46.1 million) and Deshaun Watson ($46 million). Compared to that group, Hurts’ salary seems like a virtual steal for the Eagles.
Of course, just because the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns drastically overpaid their quarterbacks, that doesn’t necessarily mean Hurts is worth upwards of $50 million per year. If Hurts’ performance dips any significant amount, his $51 million salary could make it difficult for the Eagles to build a championship-caliber roster under the salary-cap restrictions.
Guaranteed money is the most important part of any NFL contract. Hurts’ contract is the third-richest ever in terms of practical guarantees. This is the amount of money that Hurts is guaranteed to make if he can no longer play due to injury. Watson holds the record because his $230 million contract is fully guaranteed. Murray is owed $189.5 million in guaranteed money.
Hurts’ $110 million guaranteed at signing is also the third-most ever.
The Eagles are undertaking a level of risk by giving Hurts this much money. Philadelphia’s quarterback remains somewhat unproven, at least in terms of being a top-tier quarterback. Hurts has only been a full-time starting quarterback for two years. The 2022 campaign was his only Pro Bowl season. Plenty of quarterbacks can have one or two great seasons. Only a handful can maintain that level year after year.
Hurts’ durability might be the biggest question surrounding his contract. The Eagles’ quarterback has missed two games in each of the last two years, and Hurts admittedly wasn’t close to 100% healthy at the start of the most recent postseason.
Hurts’ ailments weren’t flukes. His style of play makes him a bigger injury risk than most quarterbacks. Hurt is a smaller quarterback than Josh Allen and Cam Netwon, running quarterbacks who were better equipped to bounce back from big hits.
There’s a chance that the Eagles will regret Hurts’ contract in a few years, but it’s a chance they had to take. Hurts played like a generational quarterback last season, one that could take Philadelphia to multiple Super Bowls.
It isn’t just that Hurts had a 14-1 record in the regular season. Or that he threw for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns. Or that he ran for an additional 760 yards with 13 scores on the ground. Hurts played like a superstar quarterback on the biggest stage in American sports, nearly delivering the Eagles a championship.
Hurts had one of the greatest Super Bowl performances by any quarterback. He went 27-of-38 for 304 yards with 70 rushing yards and four total touchdowns in Super Bowl 57. Hurts was even better than Mahomes in the Eagles’ 38-35 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hurts has gotten better every single year. There’s a ton of evidence that Hurts will remain an elite signal caller if he stays healthy.
It probably won’t be long before Hurts’ contract is no longer a top-three deal. Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are both entering the final year of their rookie contracts and are due for extensions. Jackson is still seeking a new contract. All three quarterbacks could sign for more guaranteed money than Hurts, simply because they waited until after Philadelphia inked its quarterback to a new deal.
NFL teams don’t need a superstar quarterback in order to win a Super Bowl, but it sure does help. By locking up Hurts, the Eagles have increased their odds of securing another title at some point over the next half-decade.
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