In light of the Philadelphia Eagles’ strong 2-0 start to the 2022 NFL Season, it is easy to pretend that we all saw it coming and knew all along that Jalen Hurts was a legitimate franchise quarterback. While that may be true for a small percentage of Philly fans, the fact is, that a vocal majority were heavily invested in the quarterback trade rumors of the 2021 NFL Season and 2022 NFL Offseason. Let’s look back at some of these rumors, and how bad these trades could have been for Philly in retrospect:
Let’s get this one out of the way. One of the biggest storylines of the 2021 season was whether or not Deshaun Watson would get his trade request granted by the Houston Texans. The Philadelphia Eagles, seemingly not all-in on Jalen Hurts as he showed only gradual improvement during his sophomore year, spent the first half of the season with their name rapidly circulating in the rumor mill.
I dare anyone to look back at any Eagles’ Facebook groups or fan Twitter pages from a year ago and tell me there wasn’t massive fan support to move on from Hurts and bring in Watson, despite the latter’s ongoing legal and civil cases. We at the Stadium Rant network can honestly say we were anti-Watson from the start, but how many of you can say the same, Eagles fans?
Where would this team be, had they pulled the trigger on a Watson trade before last year’s deadline? Best case scenario, had he opted to re-sign in Philly and not flee to Cleveland anyway after their insane quarter-billion dollar guaranteed contract offer, it would be the Gardner Minshew show for the majority of this season, and we would all be waiting to see what version of Watson came to work after more than a year and a half away from the game. There would be a heavily divided fanbase in Philadelphia, half of whom were rooting against their quarterback due to his sordid past.
Instead, Howie Roseman and company made yet another great decision, choosing to continue to invest in Hurts, a proven leader and rapidly improving player beloved by his locker room and increasingly respected by his city. While you can certainly call this a way-too-early overreaction, I say that after a dominant 2-0 start for the Eagles in which Hurts (still on his rookie deal and with a 2022 cap hit of just $1.6 million) has completed nearly 70% of his passes while accounting for four touchdowns, while the Browns suffer through the Jacoby Brissett/pre-Watson era, the Eagles made the right call.
Thanks for not listening to the fans, Howie!
Speaking of big money, following a dramatic season and offseason in Arizona in which Kyler Murray deleted the Cardinals from his social media accounts and his agent released a bizarre letter to the public before the Cardinals offered him a fascinatingly odd contract that included a “homework clause,” Murray inked a massive extension worth $230.5 million over five years with $189.5 guaranteed.
Meanwhile, after two up-and-down performances, Kliff Kingsbury is already being talked about as being on the hot seat and the Cardinals seem poised for a disappointing campaign (in the regular season as well, not just in the postseason this time).
While the Cardinals are left praying that their increasingly dysfunctional locker room and disengaged quarterback can keep the wheels on the franchise for the next half-decade despite the financial stranglehold he now has on the salary cap, the Philadelphia Eagles have built a deep contender around their young quarterback who has been unanimously praised for his poise and leadership. Just today, ESPN pundits were predicting the Eagles in the Super Bowl. The Cardinals, not so much.
Once again, I’d like to see all Philadelphia Eagles fans be honest with themselves and admit they would have happily given up Jalen Hurts and a stockpile of picks for Kyler Murray this time last year. Again, thanks Howie, for holding the line.
So this wasn’t quite a “trade rumor,” as the Eagles had just moved on Wentz during the offseason after a brutal 2020 NFL Season that saw Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson and former franchise quarterback Wentz both lose their jobs.
As Jalen Hurts got off to a slow start and took some time to get in his groove, let’s all try to remember just how loud the cries for Carson Wentz were in Philly, particularly after Wentz got off to a solid start in his new digs in Indianapolis. Amazingly, despite the brutal criticism cast his way by a cutthroat Philly fanbase, Hurts kept his chin up and his head down, leading Philly back to the playoffs while Wentz simultaneously fell apart at the seams as his team fell out of playoff contention in Week 18.
It took the Colts’ front office one season to see what Howie Roseman already knew, Wentz was not a leader, and quite simply, is not a legitimate franchise quarterback. Meanwhile, Hurts appears to be the real deal while getting paid a fraction of the salary.
So, here’s to you, Howie Roseman, for ignoring the chatter, and building this team back into a winner in just one year. The Eagles are back, and Jalen Hurts is their quarterback of the future. Some of us saw that coming earlier than others…