It finally happened; Doug Pederson benched Carson Wentz on Sunday. Wentz is enduring a miserable year; his play has declined to an alarmingly low level. During the Eagles’ defeat to Green Bay, Pederson pulled Wentz and let Jalen Hurts take the field. Given Wentz’s awful play, there will be big questions in Philadelphia over Jalen Hurts’ being the long term starter. After all, the team did draft him in the 2nd round. You don’t take a quarterback that high unless you have plans for him. Now, Hurts has to prove that he can be the long term answer for the Eagles.
Hurts looked ok on Sunday. There were some decent throws; he displayed dependable mobility and didn’t seem overawed by the occasion. That bodes well for Hurts as he steps up to the pros.
We all know how talented a player he is from his college career. He showed himself to be a superb talent at Oklahoma and Alabama. His senior year under Lincoln Riley saw Hurts play the best football of his fledgling career. His adjusted yards per pass was a career-high 12.2, while his touchdown to interception ratio was 32-8. Hurts was a fantastic college quarterback. He demonstrated great fortitude and adaptability as he played for two big-time programs.
Bizarrely, the Philadelphia Eagles took him in round two to use him like Taysom Hill. Yes, Hurts has super mobility; plus, he has elite speed, but Hurts needed to be in the game with a robust plan. Hurts is a genuine dual-threat quarterback, who’s come from two schools that are NFL teams in disguise. The pedigree and the talent is there; there can be no doubt about it. Hurts has all the potential to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL. He isn’t a gimmick player Doug Pederson has used very poorly until the Green Bay game, Hurts’ only action came on gadget plays, and designed quarterback runs. It is inexplicable to see a head coach use a rookie quarterback like that. Nevertheless, now Hurts has got his chance.
Doug Pederson is on the hot seat. In a year where the NFC East is a wasteland of quality, the Eagles must win the division. Playing Hurts provides them with the best chance of doing that. Winning the division could be enough to keep Pederson in the job. Now, Pederson has to implement a real game plan for his rookie quarterback; however, there is one enormous caveat in Hurts’ way: Carson Wentz and the eye-watering $128 million contract.
That contract is beginning to resemble a metaphorical noose on the Eagles’ organization. Next year, Wentz carries a $34.6 million cap hit. If Hurts were to ball out and be the permanent starter, Wentz would be an expensive backup. Even worse for Philly, Wentz is almost impossible to trade.
Wentz’s dead cap value is a massive $59 million. Those numbers mean only one thing: Wentz and Philadelphia are stuck with each other. Owner Jeffery Lurie has committed to the former North Dakota State player. Like all billionaires, he wants to see his investment flourish. To do that Wentz has to be the long-term starter, not Jalen Hurts. There is friction in the Eagles front office. Wentz has the owner’s backing, but he does not have the support of his head coach and GM.
It is Lurie’s team; of that, there is no doubt. He calls the shots, and he decided to jump on the Wentz Wagon. Due to that decision, Jalen Hurts is not the long term starter in Philadelphia. He has all the talent to be the starter, and I firmly believe he will have a strong NFL career; however, that deal has tied the owner and Carson Wentz together. Lurie will not want to see $34.6 million stuck on the bench; he will want to see him on the field. Jalen Hurts will be a better quarterback in the NFL than Carson Wentz, but due to front office politics, he will not display that in an Eagles uniform.
For Hurts to cement himself as the long term starter, the Eagles would have to go deep into the playoffs. That will not happen, this is still Wentz’s team, and there are 128 million reasons as to why.