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The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
EJ Smith

Howie Roseman: Jalen Hurts’ extension is a priority, and the Eagles GM isn’t influenced by Carson Wentz’s contract

Throughout the last few days, Howie Roseman has heard a phrase repeated by Eagles players and coaches that has stuck in the back of his mind.

We’ll be back.

The notion of winning the championship next year can serve as a comfort for an organization still smarting from a last-second loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, but the difficult path to get there begins immediately for the Eagles general manager.

Perhaps the first thing on Roseman’s to-do list this offseason will be to start negotiations with quarterback Jalen Hurts and his agent, as the quarterback is now eligible for a contract extension. The numbers of that extension, which could exceed an annual value of $50 million based on recent deals across the league, will greatly decrease the team’s salary-cap flexibility a couple seasons from now.

Still, Roseman said the organization is eager to secure Hurts’ future with the team long-term during his year-end news conference Thursday.

“Obviously we want to keep our best players here for the long-term and he’s certainly one of our best players,” Roseman said. “We’ll keep all the contract talks internal, but we definitely want to keep Jalen Hurts here long-term.”

The Eagles’ last experience extending a promising young quarterback eventually backfired. In 2019, they signed Carson Wentz to a four-year extension worth up to $128 million only for the former No. 2 overall pick to unravel the next season and subsequently demand a trade.

The Eagles sent him to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a first- and third-round draft pick and incurred a dead-cap hit of $39 million in 2021, embarking on a transitional period for the team accelerated by Hurts’ progress this season.

Roseman said the past failure with Wentz would not color his judgment going into negotiations with Hurts, suggesting each situation depends on the specific player in question.

“I think each example is on its own,” Roseman said. “You got to look at the individual player. That’s not to be critical of anyone we’ve given a contract to that hasn’t worked out, but I think, when we talk about Jalen, we’re talking about a guy that we have tremendous confidence in, a guy that we want to be here for a long time. That will be a priority for us.”

Like they did with Wentz four years ago, the Eagles will have plenty of reasons to get a Hurts extension worked out quickly this offseason. The current top-market deals belong to Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Deshaun Watson and would suggest a multi-year deal with an annual value of around $50 million with a hefty amount guaranteed would be fair. That said, young stars Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are each eligible to sign extensions this offseason and have a chance to reset the market even higher than the current figures.

The Eagles also have a handful of key contributors set to hit free agency next month. More than half of the team’s defensive starters have expiring contracts and a handful should be in for lucrative, multi-year deals. Hurts’ cap numbers likely won’t balloon for a few seasons, but the Eagles will still need to be careful with their long-term spending until the deal is squared away.

It’s worth noting the Eagles didn’t sign any players to extensions during the season, something they typically do with key pieces with interest.

When asked about the urgency of getting Hurts extended before addressing the many upcoming free agents the team has, Roseman acknowledged the next four weeks before free agency begins will be important.

“We have a good sense of what we need to do here,” Roseman said. “We have a little bit of time here, too, to figure it out and get away and discuss that. At the end of the day, the most important thing is keeping our best players here.”

If Hurts signs, the Eagles will transition from a team enjoying the luxury of an elite quarterback on a rookie deal to one building around a gigantic contract at the most important position.

Roseman said the amount of free agents the team has will inevitably lead to players signing elsewhere and netting the Eagles compensatory picks in next year’s draft. Hitting on those picks could easily make the difference as the team tries to find its way back to the Super Bowl the next few seasons.

“Just by the sheer number of free agents [we have,] we’re going to have comp picks next year,” Roseman said. “Even if we signed a bunch of our guys, we’re going to have comp picks next year. I think we go into with that, understanding that it’s going to be impossible to keep every single person on this team, but we’re here to compete.”

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