NFL free agency is approaching quickly, and all we keep hearing about are the players who will not wear a Philadelphia Eagles uniform in 2023. The Eagles will likely say goodbye to Miles Sanders, Javon Hargrave, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and James Bradberry.
Jason Kelce has not made a decision on his future. Theoretically, the Eagles are in a “cap reset” off-season but will have the draft capital to retool and be competitive in 2023. Whether you’re a fan or media member, it’s no secret that attachment to a player is inevitable, and tough goodbyes are hard. The narrative nationally, however, is that this team is in potential trouble. That is far from the truth, and we barely hear about what remains in Philadelphia. Most of the key departures are just on one side of the ball. The most important is offense, led by Jalen Hurts.
We Have Our Guy
A franchise quarterback is the hardest position to nail down in the NFL, and it’s not close. It’s difficult to compete in this league without one unless a team is truly elite on multiple sides of the ball. After the Eagles traded Carson Wentz in early 2021, Philadelphia was uncertain. Jalen Hurts was a huge question mark, showing limited skills as a passer to the end of 2020, and all of 2021. 2022 was pivotal, as the offense was retooled with AJ Brown and offensive line depth. Hurts put in the work that off-season, training for two months in California. He worked on his footwork, release, and overall accuracy. He went on to take a massive leap during the season, his best yet. Hurts ended 2022 with 3,701 yards, 22 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
He rushed for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns, and was so efficient at the quarterback sneak and push that the league is debating changing the rule. Whenever the Eagles needed a big drive in a game, he delivered, one of the biggest examples was the comeback against the Indianapolis Colts. Players and coaches consistently praise his work ethic and preparation, and when he is on the field, the Eagles are never out of a game.
We witnessed that a month ago, as Hurts gave one of the best quarterback performances in the Super Bowl. Although it was a losing effort, he sent a message, that he is now one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. His fumble for a Chiefs touchdown could have broken him, but it didn’t. After a blown special teams play and the Chiefs’ scored, Hurts led the Eagles down for the game-tying score.
Although the defense was unable to hold, he did all he could, a true winner who never quits. The Super Bowl 57 loss will stay with him. It’s all he’ll be able to think about in 2023. A pissed-off Jalen Hurts will be a good thing, and he’ll be hungry to finish the job. When you think about the talent the Eagles will lose, remind yourself that the best quarterback in the NFC plays in Philadelphia. Because of him, they are a contender. If that doesn’t instill confidence in fans and media, what else will?
The Eagles’ Offense Is Loaded
Jalen Hurts is set to continue his trajectory, with a ton of talent at his disposal on offense. His lifelong friend Brian Johnson, is now the new offensive coordinator, replacing Shane Steichen. Hurts will continue to run and an offense that suits his passing and running talents as a result, and he’s surrounded by weapons. Devonta Smith, AJ Brown, and Dallas Goedert are some of the best at their position. The offensive line has always been an elite group in the Howie Roseman era, and Kenny Gainwell will have his time to shine.
Even with the loss of Miles Sanders, they will have options in the draft. Hurts will add a ton to the running game with his legs alone, allowing the offense to grind down the clock. Upgrading the slot wide receiver position would pay dividends. This will be a loaded offense with the ability to score 30 points a game, an offense built to win shootouts in a passing league. This means that even if the Eagles’ defense is average in 2023, they only need to get a few key stops.
For what it’s worth, the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017 with an average secondary. If 2022 showed us anything, it’s that Jalen Hurts will lead this offense to points when it matters. On paper, it’s the best offense in the NFC.
The Current State Of NFC Quarterbacks
When you look at the quarterback position collectively, the NFC is abysmal. Even with Derek Carr joining the south, it’s a collective division of inexperience. The best quarterback in the west is Matthew Stafford, who has suffered from injuries as of late. Geno Smith had a great season but Seattle needs work, and Kyler Murray is still a question mark. Brock Purdy’s bounce-back from injury will be interesting, but there will be more film on him.
The north features Justin Fields, quite a talent, but the Bears need a lot of help. Jordan Love is still unproven if Aaron Rodgers is traded, Kirk Cousins can’t get it done in big games, and neither can Jared Goff. In the east, Dak Prescott is talented but similar to Cousins in big games. Daniel Jones is an average quarterback being overpaid, and Sam Howell is unproven.
It’s still possible that Jimmy Garoppolo could play for another NFC team in 2023, but barring big trades or rookie quarterback breakouts, the Eagles have an advantage at the position. A team is only as good as its quarterback. I am by no means guaranteeing a trip to the Super Bowl. I’m aware that injuries happen, and some teams and quarterbacks may over-achieve. Some won’t play to their full potential. It’s hard to get back, but unless one of these teams has an unreal off-season, I can’t say any are better than the Eagles right now. Having Jalen Hurts means possibilities.
It will be okay, Philadelphia. Jalen is ours, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.