What Does Jalen Hurts’ Extension Mean for the Rest of the QB Market?
Back in February, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said it was just a matter of time before Philadelphia extended quarterback Jalen Hurts. Two months later, the Eagles and Hurts crossed the finish line on a massive contract extension.
Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed on a contract extension to pay Hurts $255 million over five seasons with $179.3 million guaranteed. Hurts’ new contract with the Eagles makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history, with an annual average salary of $51 million. The new agreement also features a no-trade clause, the first such clause given to a player by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The new extension brings clarity to Philadelphia. It also serves as an example to other teams in a similar situation. So let’s unpack what the Jalen Hurts extension means for the rest of the quarterback market in the NFL.
What does this mean for QBs like Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert?
Firstly, it means that they’re about to be significantly more wealthy. At the start of the offseason, I said that whoever of the three (Hurts, Burrow, and Herbert) gets paid first, that team will have set the floor for the others.
So, Kudos to the Eagles for beating the others to the punch. Here are the three specifics that will mold the deals for Burrow and Herbert moving forward:
- $274 million — That’s how much Hurts can earn throughout the life of the extension, including the $4 million coming to him in the final year of his rookie deal. Hurts didn’t leave a penny on the negotiating table.
- $51 million — Hurts’ $51 million AAV makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history. Guess what players in their positions like to do? Eclipse the previous mark. Cincinnati and Los Angeles may have to get Burrow and Herbert above that $51 million threshold now.
- $179.3 million — Guaranteed money has been the hot phrase this offseason, thanks to the Lamar Jackson negotiations in Baltimore. This now becomes the benchmark for the Burrow and Herbert deals and maybe even the Lamar deal (but more on that shortly).
We’ve got the “sticking points” fleshed out, which gives us (and the Bengals and Chargers) an idea of what it will take to get these two mega-extensions done.
The Bengals and Chargers have said that they’re working on extensions with their respective quarterbacks, so there’s no reason to believe that we won’t see them get done before the start of the 2023 season, especially with the groundwork laid for them; thanks to Jalen Hurts and the Eagles.
But what about Lamar Jackson?
I largely excluded Lamar Jackson from the Burrow-Herbert conversation because Lamar has put himself in another conversation.
Lamar Jackson is a free agent, unlike Hurts, Burrow, and Herbert. The Ravens didn’t get a deal done with their franchise QB before he was able to hit the open market (save for the franchise tag). Therefore, negotiations aren’t taking place in the same spirit, first and foremost.
Jackson is also looking for a different deal. Reports have the former MVP quarterback looking for a fully-guaranteed deal that resembles Deshaun Watson’s. At this point, there’s a zero percent chance that Lamar will get that deal. Anywhere. Jalen Hurts’ deal was the final nail in the coffin. Burrow and Herbert’s impending deals will light it on fire. If the best quarterbacks in the NFL aren’t getting fully-guaranteed deals, neither is Lamar Jackson. Full stop.
I can almost see Steve Bisciotti fist-pumping around his office this afternoon.
However, the Hurts extension has given Lamar Jackson a floor regarding how much guaranteed money he can reasonably demand from the Ravens. That’s $179.3 million over five years. If Hurts can get it, Jackson should be asking for it. He could even tell the Ravens, who reportedly offered him $133 million guaranteed last fall, let’s do $180 million over four years, fully guaranteed. That breaks down to $44.7 million per, keeping the Ravens out of the top of the market and giving Lamar the guarantees he wants.
That annual number would put Lamar behind Hurts, Rodgers, Murray, Watson, Mahomes, and in all likelihood, Burrow and Herbert. It’s a happy medium for everyone, right? Unfortunately, it never works out that easily.
Regardless, Lamar’s pursuit of a Deshaun Watson-esque deal is dead in the water.
What does this mean for other QBs like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields?
Lawrence and Fields join Jeffrey Lurie and Steve Bisciotti as folks having a very good morning. Lawrence and Fields will be in the same position as Hurts and the rest of the 2021 QBs next year, and this deal will be at the top of their agent’s to-do lists when those negotiations begin.
But … there’s a big but here … Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields haven’t earned the same consideration that Hurts, Burrow, and Herbert have. Hurts and Burrow have each led their teams to a Super Bowl on their rookie deals, and Justin Herbert has smashed records and led the Chargers to the playoffs.
Fields undoubtedly showed glimpses of the guy the Bears hoped to land in 2021. Better weapons around him and a second year in the Matt Eberflus offense set the stage for Fields to have a Hurts-esque leap next season. But he’s got to show he can do it if he hopes to be in this conversation next year. Fields is that pre-teen standing between the adult and kid’s table at the family Thanksgiving feast.
Trevor Lawrence is in a similar but better position than Fields right now. Lawrence got his weapons and new coaching staff a year earlier than Fields. He didn’t disappoint, either. Of course, Jacksonville will want to see him do it again in 2023 before they start talking Hurts’ numbers, but he’s in a good spot right now.