Despite the NFC East being, by far, the worst division in football, the Philadelphia Eagles still find themselves third in the division at 3-8-1, trailing both the Giants and the Football Team, who are both 5-7. It was a year that, in theory, should’ve shaken out for Philly to make the postseason as they were the only one with, theoretically, a proven commodity at quarterback after Dallas saw Dak Prescott go down for the year with a gruesome leg injury.
Dallas has been platooning backups, led by Andy Dalton, while the Football Team has turned to Alex Smith coming off two years away from football rehabbing his own nearly career-ending leg injury, and the Giants have won their last two games with, of all people, Colt McCoy. The Eagles, meanwhile, have had Carson Wentz healthy all season, fresh off of a monster contract extension that will pay him $128 million over the next four years — with $66 million guaranteed at signing.
So far this season, Wentz has been a disaster, as his career has followed a truly bizarre trajectory of, at times, looking like an MVP candidate, but this season, looking totally rattled behind a shaky offensive line and not finding any consistency. That has led to Eagles fans begging Doug Pederson to turn to rookie second round pick Jalen Hurts, and they finally got their wish late in this weekend’s game against the Packers. While Hurts wasn’t perfect, his performance (and that of Wentz) was enough to lead the Eagles to finally, officially, make the change to hand Hurts the keys.
Breaking News: QB Jalen Hurts will start this Sunday against the Saints. pic.twitter.com/VgGU54flLf
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 8, 2020
Hurts will now start against the Saints, with Wentz serving as his (highly paid) backup, and we’ll learn an awful lot about how ready the rookie is against the NFC’s top team and a pass rush that is downright nasty. The Eagles offensive line woes have been among the reasons some have advocated against the QB change, but at this point Philly has nothing to lose as a team as they have to rattle off a number of wins in a row to have a shot at the playoffs.
As for Wentz, it remains to be seen what his future holds as he’s guaranteed $25 million next year and carries a ton of dead cap so Philly likely won’t want to release him outright (and his deal makes it incredibly unlikely to find a trade suitor), but if Hurts plays well down the stretch of the season his future seems like it won’t be with the Birds.