Carson Wentz went from hearing the cha-ching of cashing in on an extension to the sound of a ticking clock in a span of 10 months.
The Eagles dropped a second-round stunner on the 2020 NFL Draft by selecting former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the No. 53 pick despite having the 27-year-old Wentz under contract through 2024 on a four-year deal worth $128 million.
General manager Howie Roseman and coach Doug Pederson immediately tried to downplay any talk of a quarterback controversy, but better luck next time. Some Eagles fans never warmed to the injury-prone Wentz and the arrival of Hurts could reinforce the adage the most popular player on a team is the backup quarterback.
“We’ve shown how we feel about Carson by our actions — by the amount of picks we’ve put into [helping] him and by the contract extension,” Roseman said. “We believe this is the guy to lead us to our next Super Bowl championship, but for better or worse we are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory.”
The Eagles paired Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia last decade and then won Super Bowl LII behind backup Nick Foles after Wentz’s MVP-caliber season was cut short. The beloved Foles left in free agency, allowing Wentz not to live in his shadow.
Enter Hurts, who starred at the Senior Bowl and drew a comparison to Dak Prescott from the game’s executive director Jim Nagy, a former Seahawks scout.
“Nobody is going to be looking at a rookie quarterback taking over for a Pro Bowl quarterback,” Roseman said, “but at the end of the day we believe in the quarterback position.”
Some scouts believe Hurts could fill a complementary role like Taysom Hill does for Drew Brees and the Saints. Hill spells Brees for certain plays, especially in the red zone, and plays on special teams.