For the Eagles, the 2021 season could have finished very badly. However, first-year HC Nick Sirianni was able to right the ship after a rough start, and the Eagles clinched a playoff birth. Many would assume that a postseason trip would solidify Jalen Hurts as the starting QB for another season, and for the moment, that appears to be the case.
However, with Howie Roseman at the helm, there’s really no telling what will happen from now until the start of training camp. The Eagles find themselves in a unique situation: there are three stellar veteran quarterbacks who could be had, and they have three quality first-round picks to boot.
So, let’s help Roseman out by ranking all the QB possibilities heading into next season. An important note: each player isn’t ranked by just how they good they are. Rather, I factored in a player’s skill, age, their off-field situations, and the cost they would acquire in order to complete my list.
4. Aaron Rodgers
If the Eagles acquire Rodgers, they’d have to be certain they can compete well enough to win a championship either this season or the next. The 38-year-old doesn’t have many seasons left, and he’s flirted with retirement often, so I’m not expecting some Tom Brady-esque finish. He’s anxious to win now.
While Rodgers wouldn’t carry legal problems like Deshaun Watson would, he’s still a bizarre figure — from his family issues to horse medicine — and could very much clash with Howie Roseman and co. when considering his past disputes with how the Packers organization drafted and functioned. That kind of situation would be fascinating (and probably horrifying) to see unfold, because this regime has never dealt with a QB as established and controlling as Rodgers before.
Even though Rodgers to Philly would be a better overall fit than some others on this list, it probably has the slimmest chance of happening, which is why I ranked him last. Rodgers has his sights set on Denver (and perhaps places like Tennessee) so it might take a haul to convince both him and the Packers for a trade.
Plus, the lack of rumors — even those simply speculating — about Rodgers and the Eagles lead me to believe there’s not much interest on Philadelphia’s side, either. At least fans can take pride in their heckling of him.
3. DeShaun Watson
Watson’s pure talent has never been in question. In his first four seasons, he’s thrown for 104 touchdowns versus just 36 interceptions, a stellar 2.88 to 1 TD-INT ratio. The three-time Pro-Bowler has a career 104.5 quarterback rating, never falling below 98.0 in that category in a single season. He’s still just 26 (27 in September), giving any team who acquires him plenty of room for a championship window.
Of course, talent is no longer the first topic that comes up when discussing Watson. While Watson’s legal troubles surrounding his alleged sexual assaults are still up in the air, the NFL could hammer down a suspension on the Clemson product whenever he comes back, no matter the outcome outside of the league.
It’s extremely fair, then, to wonder how Watson would fair in a market such as Philadelphia, where the media would heavily scrutinize his accusations and personality every single day. Additionally, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Watson criticizing the Eagles — or demanding out again — if organizational disfunction arises down the line.
There’s also the price. Even with the murky waters that surround him, Houston will be holding out for some combination of a bevy of first-round picks plus ready-now NFL talent. Is that haul worth the sizable risk of a Watson acquisition blowing up in the team’s face? I don’t think so.
2. Jalen Hurts
Hurts’ rollercoaster of a season has left many puzzled. Let’s start with the good – he finished the year with 784 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, putting himself up there with Lamar Jackson as the top two rushing QBs.
The bad – Hurts was extremely inconsistent at times, and showed that without his rushing ability when injured, he’s not providing much value for the Eagles due to his throwing. There are a number of skills Hurts absolutely needs to improve on if he wants to remain the starting QB for 2022 and beyond.
So, why roll with Hurts? Even with the areas that need growing, he’s still shown enough potential to warrant giving him more time. More importantly, he’s on still on a rookie contract, meaning the team can continue to add more talent around him while not having to devote too much cap to the quarterback. He’d also allow the team to keep their draft picks, or use them to acquire another role player (perhaps Calvin Ridley?)
Like Hurts or not, he’s probably a better option — and likeliest option to occur — if you’re keeping the future in mind for the Eagles. If he doesn’t pan out moving forward, there’s no harm because of the minimum investments put into him, which wouldn’t be the case for Watson. Of course, there’s one last quarterback who might just be worth taking that kind of big risk/big reward move on.
1. Russell Wilson
If the Eagles want a reliable QB who will be here for the next five+ years, still has talent, and doesn’t bring extra baggage or controversy, Wilson is their guy. He’s the third-oldest QB on this list at 33, but with the recent performances of players like Rodgers and Tom Brady late in their careers, age doesn’t seem to be a much of a concern anymore.
While Wilson missed three games in 2021 — the first time in his career he’s been absent — he still put up a 25/6 TD-INT line with 3113 yards and a QB rating of 103.1. Like Rodgers, Wilson would also bring playoff experience – he’s only missed the playoffs in two of his 10 seasons. For a young team like the Eagles, a leader like that could be extremely valuable.
Of course, the price for Wilson won’t be cheap. Multiple first-round picks, in addition to players, might be in play. And unlike the Texans, the Seahawks don’t have to be in any hurry to trade Wilson, as the QB seems more content to return to his team than Watson does. So Seattle won’t have to trade for a package they aren’t satisfied with.
Still, if the Eagles aren’t comfortable with Hurts’ development, or they think Wilson can take the team to the next level, a trade is worth considering. After all, it’s not often a QB of his caliber and amazing floor becomes available.