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Ranking the Eagles' options at QB


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Ranking the Eagles' options at QB

Time is a flat circle when it comes to quarterback debates in Philadelphia.

As the NFL offseason arrives, here we are again: debating the present and future at the position for the Eagles. Over the next month, 94WIP will help the Eagles pick the quarterback for the 2022 season. Yes, we’ll make a suggestion for Howie Roseman and the factory, as hosts make their pitches to Angelo Cataldi throughout the month culminating in a final vote on February 24th open to the public at 94WIP.com/pickstheQB.

For me, this is a no-brainer. But just because I can clearly see which option is the wisest doesn’t mean we have to pretend that options aren’t out there. And for as much as Jalen Hurts showed and progressed in his first full year as a starter, he didn’t do enough or play so overwhelmingly well to cut off this conversation. It’s here. It’s real. And it’ll dominate the thinking within the NovaCare Complex for the next three months.

Here’s how I’d rank the Eagles options at quarterback for the 2022 season.

1. Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts

Photo credit Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The worst thing Hurts did in 2021 was make the playoffs and lose. If Hurts and the Eagles had the same exact season but lost out on the playoffs due to a tiebreaker, the town would be generally excited for his progression. There wouldn’t be much talk about needing to go upgrade or if the team could make a Super Bowl run if a star was at the position. It would be similar to the feeling on Carson Wentz after a 7-9 rookie year. Instead? Hurts played poorly, got banged up again and the Eagles got ran out of Tampa Bay. It’s amazing how one game changed the discourse so much.

But context matters.

Here’s where Hurts ranked among all quarterbacks in 2021:

Yards per attempt: 15th
Yards per completion: 5th
QBR: 19th
Intended air yards per pass attempt (how far each pass is being thrown from the line of scrimmage): 4th
Bad throw percentage: 3rd (as in third best)
On target throw percentage: 8th

Perception of Hurts as a thrower isn’t reality. Add in 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns and the picture of a young, cheap, exciting third-year quarterback would have most fan bases excited for the following season. Plus, we’re talking about a team leader and captain. Every box for sticking with this player is checked, especially after a playoff trip and successful season. I continue to be amazed at how many are talking themselves out of Hurts because of a couple of high-profile NFL playoff games on TV over the last few weeks. It’s illogical. The Eagles have a starting quarterback. Build a team around him and see how far he can rise in his second year in the same offense.

2. Trade for Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

Photo credit Sean M. Hafey/Getty Images

I like Wilson. He’s a future Hall of Famer. If he was a free agent, I’d be very willing to sign him because he’s still a significantly better quarterback than Hurts, and could be the Eagles version of signing Peyton Manning (even though Wilson isn’t as good) to replace Tim Tebow (even though Hurts is clearly better) after the 2011 season. But that’s not the scenario. Wilson would likely cost three No. 1 picks, and would cost over $20M more per year in cap space. Is the gap between Wilson and Hurts worth six players (three top picks and three free agents)? I don’t think so, especially as Wilson declines to more of a top eight-to-12 player at the position.

3. Trade for Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

Photo credit Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Of all the scenarios, this feels the most far-fetched. Rodgers choosing to come to Philadelphia to throw jabs at Howie Roseman and bicker with the local media? I doubt it. But if Rodgers was willing, the Eagles (or any team) would be crazy to turn down the phone call. He’s the likely MVP, and could have at least one more in his right arm. The clock would be ticking right away for Roseman to hit big in free agency to patch holes and create a win-now roster. Fun in theory, but would likely end in frustration and disappointment.

4. Draft a quarterback in the first round

2022 NFL Rookie QBs

Photo credit USA Today Images

Tiny Hands Kenny Pickett? Small Matt Corral? Sam "Baker Mayfield 2.0” Howell? Malik Willis, the former SEC quarterback who struggled when actually going up against an SEC team in 2021? No thanks! This could be the worst quarterback class since 2013.

5. Buy low on a solid, established NFL starter

This option hasn’t been brought up enough, but could be one Roseman explores if the prices for stars are exorbitant yet the team feels like an upgrade is necessary. Jimmy Garoppolo? Kirk Cousins? Derek Carr? Here’s why all three (or any other similar names) feel like a waste of time to me: The Eagles can go 9-8 with Hurts, bank on him improving and not waste resources on this caliber of quarterback or they can make a sad splash, waste the resources and likely still go 9-8.

6. Trade for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

Photo credit Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

And here’s where I draw the line. I’m on out Watson, a player that I was advocating for before dozens of disturbing allegations emerged in the last year. The idea of the Eagles turning a blind eye to every red flag around this player is scary, and one that this city shouldn’t just say "oh well!” if it happens.

We’re talking about a quarterback that has more than 20 cases against him pending of either lewd and coercive sexual behavior or sexual assualt. He just held out an entire season while demanding a trade, just like Ben Simmons is doing to the Sixers. He’s only three games (28-25) over .500 in his career, and owns just one playoff win. He’ll count as a $40M cap charge in 2022. His team won four games with him in 2020, and won four games without him in 2021. He’s had multiple ACL reconstructions since college. He’s good, but not quite in the class of elite quarterbacks.

Read all that again. Say it out loud. Now try to make sense of giving up on Hurts’ development, cashing in franchise-altering resources, and making Watson the face of the franchise. It’s a preposterous notion.





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