A new jaw-dropping contract makes Jalen Hurts not just the highest-paid player on the Philadelphia Eagles, but the highest-paid player in the history of the National Football League.
Hurts’ contract extension — which NFL Network reports is $255 million over five years, with $179 million in guarantees — puts him atop the league standings in terms of AAV ($51 million). His deal edges the $50.3 million yearly average the Packers committed to Aaron Rodgers in March of last year.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts Agrees to Mega-Contract Extension
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Hurts’ deal includes $110 million fully guaranteed at signing, plus an additional $16.5 million that becomes guaranteed next March. The deal also includes a no-trade clause and $15 million in incentives. He will earn nearly $28 million in 2023 alone, up from the $4.3 million base salary on his previous deal.
The question is not whether Hurts deserves to be among the highest-paid players in the NFL.
He proved he belongs in the conversation with a boffo 2022 season, during which he earned second-team All-Pro honors, made his first Pro Bowl, and finished a (very distant) second in MVP voting to runaway winner Patrick Mahomes.
What’s more, Hurts led the Eagles to the Super Bowl and had Philadelphia in position to potentially win it in the fourth quarter, had the team made one late defensive stop.
Hurts went 16-2 as a starter in 2022 (including the playoffs), setting regular-season career highs in completion percentage (66.5), passing yards (3,701), touchdown passes (22), yards per attempt (8), rushing touchdowns (13), passer rating (101.5), and QBR (66.4).
“I know this is high praise, but to have him out there is like having — I shouldn’t even go there — it’s like having Michael Jordan out there,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said of Hurts in January. “He’s your leader. He’s your guy.”
Jordan wishes he had Hurts’ salary. Hurts will make more in two years than Jordan made in his career ($93.9 million).
Can Eagles Win With Jalen Hurts Contract?
Hurts’ contract doesn’t come without significant risk. First, there’s the very real possibility of regression. Career years are called that for a reason. They usually only happen once per career.
The Eagles believe last year was no outlier. They’re betting that the player we saw in 2022 will be the player we see for years to come, committing big money to him through the 2028 season.
The downside of being wrong, however, is massive. While his specific cap charges in each year won’t be known until the contract is filed with the NFLPA, it’s fair to surmise that this will be the last year the Eagles get Hurts on a discount.
Which means the only way they’ll be able to build a super team like they did in 2022 is through the draft.
The Eagles in 2022 had an NFL-leading eight Pro Bowlers and six All-Pros. Howie Roseman assembled the deepest, most talented roster in football — and the No. 1 reason he was able to do so was because Hurts cost just $1.6 million against the salary cap.
Those days are now over. While the salary cap is fungible, it’s not irrelevant. Every dime a team puts off spending this year is a dime that team can’t spend next, and when Hurts’ contract goes on the books, the Eagles’ cap situation in 2024 gets a lot more challenging.
Their gambit? That Hurts will be good enough on his own to elevate those around him and can still win with a lesser supporting cast.
We won’t know for some time whether the Eagles’ decision was a wise one. Their roster in 2023 is still quite impressive, although perhaps a little less so than in 2022.
Plus, it’s not impossible to win with a quarterback on a mega-contract. The Chiefs just captured the Lombardi with Mahomes as the NFL’s highest-paid player.
“The hardest part, for sure, is the scarcity of really good quarterbacks, and we got one, and we got a very special player,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said recently.
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