Howie Roseman is right. The Jalen Hurts story is a great one. And, as the Eagles' executive vice president/general manager shared on Thursday in a pre-draft press conference, "We're certainly not at the end of the story. I think we're really at the beginning of the story."
The Eagles agreed to terms with the franchise quarterback on a five-year extension through the 2028 season on Monday, making the former second-round pick who helped guide the team to a Super Bowl appearance the richest player in NFL history. The Eagles could have waited until the conclusion of Hurts' rookie deal at the end of next season and worked on a deal, armed with tools like the franchise tag at their disposal, but Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie green-lit the extension knowing that it was the best thing to do for the team and the franchise.
"This kind of contract and the trust that (Lurie) had, not only in us, but how excited he was to do it with Jalen, because that's hard to do," Roseman said.
The performance on the field certainly warranted an extension – Hurts, at 24 years old, was the second-youngest quarterback to win 14 games in a season, earning Pro Bowl honors and finishing second in the MVP vote. He carried over his outstanding regular season to an all-time performance in the Super Bowl, where he registered 374 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns.
But Hurts' character and leadership were just as instrumental in the Eagles going forward with this contract.
"Nobody knows what Jalen Hurts' ceiling is, why? Because he loves football, right?" Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "He's tough. He has high football IQ. And so the guys that have those things, and he's competitive. The guys that tend to have those things tend to reach their ceiling. He's just going to continue to rise and he's a big part of this, too, because, you know, no man suddenly becomes different than his cherished thoughts and habits. He's going to continue to do the right things he's done to this day because that's who he is."
Roseman recalled his first conversation with Hurts after the deal was agreed upon.
"He was just telling me how determined he was and I know how hard he's working in the offseason. I know how much football matters to him. I know how much improving in football matters to him. I know how much he wants to be coached. I know how important it is to try and deliver a championship to this city," Roseman said.
"The one thing you know with Jalen is that money is not going to change and the money is not going affect him."
The Eagles were prepared to work on the contract extension this offseason and included it in their team-building plans. Roseman credited Hurts and his agent, Nicole Lynn, for crafting a deal that offered the quarterback financial stability and recognition as one of the top young players in the league, but one that also allowed the Eagles to build around Hurts in the years to come.
"This is the ultimate team game and he needs to have talented people around him. Jalen recognized that, Nicole recognized that, and so to be able to do this in a way that also gives us an opportunity to go get good players," Roseman said. "We have a plan that doesn't just last for this year or next year. We're not trying to do anything where five or six years from now, the Philadelphia Eagles won't be able to compete. I think that we understand what we're doing and why we're doing it. And you got to have a willingness with the player to also want to do things that's right for the team, and Jalen and Nicole deserve a lot of credit as well."
The next chapter of the Jalen Hurts experience kicks off next week when the offseason program begins and the NFL Draft takes place. The Eagles will continue to add talent with the comfort of knowing they have their franchise cornerstone at quarterback for the next six seasons.
"We get a chance to work around it and build around him and some of the guys that we have on long-term contracts. That's exciting, but we got to continue to do the right thing," Roseman said.
The Eagles and quarterback Jalen Hurts agreed to terms on a five-year extension through the 2028 season on Monday.