How Eagles know their investment is protected with Jalen Hurts – NBC Sports


Just a couple days after the Eagles’ crushing loss in Super Bowl LVII, Jalen Hurts stood by his stall in the corner of the team’s locker room answering questions, vowing to get better and to embrace the hunger after losing on the sport’s biggest stage.
The last thing he wanted to do was talk about himself or his pending pay day.
“I think the thing that I’m most focused on is winning,” Hurts said in February. “The only thing I care about is winning and ultimately winning a championship. There will be a day where that conversation can be had but today isn’t that day.”
That day has arrived for the 24-year-old franchise quarterback, who agreed to a five-year mega extension worth $255 million that will keep him with the Eagles through the 2028 season. But when the Eagles do hold that press conference to celebrate Hurts’ extension, he’s not going to want to talk about himself then either. That’s not his style.
The Eagles didn’t just pay Jalen Hurts the quarterback on Monday. They paid Jalen Hurts the person too.
And that’s why they should feel like their investment is protected.
There’s an old expression that money doesn’t change people; it simply reveals who they really are. If that’s the case, this new contract is going to show us even more what we already know about Hurts: He’s more than an impressive football player. He’s an impressive guy.
One thing we’ve really learned about Hurts over the last few years is that he’s wise beyond his years and he’s willing to work for everything. We’ve been regaled with stories of Hurts’ early arrivals and late nights at the NovaCare Complex, with his natural leadership tendencies and with the gravitational pull his teammates feel toward him.
When former offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was asked about the qualities he wants in his next quarterback in Indianapolis, the first thing he mentioned was that legendary Hurts’ work ethic.
The Eagles didn’t simply pay Hurts for who he is off the field — he’s a pretty dang good football player too. But it’s safe to say that Hurts wouldn’t have turned himself into an MVP candidate a few years after being a second-round pick if he didn’t have that work ethic. And as much credit as Nick Sirianni, Steichen, Brian Johnson and others deserve for his growth, there’s no question that Hurts put in the work.
And I’m not about to start questioning that now; not even after this massive pay day.
Because, sure, Hurts wanted to get paid; who wouldn’t? But his motivation is almost singularly focused on winning championships. That’s what he cares about.
“The thing with Jalen is I am so optimistic about is he is has this incredible — and I’m not telling you anything you don’t know here — but seeing him virtually everyday he has an incredible passion for being phenomenal,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said at the NFL owners meetings last month. “And you see that in the great ones. We all know in other sports, and with certain quarterbacks in this league, you can define them by obsession with detail and work ethic.
“We always knew Jalen was talented, had a very live arm that we felt was discounted in college because he was such a great runner, and his character was always considered great. But maybe the advantage we had was we really respected his ability to throw the football and that would improve based on tremendous work ethic. I think the future is so great for him. He is 24-years old. Honestly, I don’t know if I have ever met someone that mature at age 24. My son (Julian) is 27 and he is very mature but — no. Jalen is the most mature 24-year old I’ve ever come across.”
This offseason, the Eagles never wavered publicly. They wanted to sign Hurts to a long-term extension and they expected to do so. It’s a far cry from the beginning of the 2022 season when the whole city was wondering whether or not Hurts was going to be the franchise quarterback. He answered that question early and went on to have an MVP-caliber season.
Knowing what we do about Hurts, this contract isn’t the finish line. It’s a starting point. If anyone could ever be more motivated after securing the bag, it’s likely to be Hurts.
There are no guarantees of course and there’s risk, including injury risk, anytime a team signs a player to a huge contract like this. It’s really hard to win in the NFL, so it’s not like the Eagles have their ticket punched to the Super Bowl for the next six years, even in the weaker conference.
But there are a few things the Eagles don’t have to worry about. They don’t have to worry about whether or not Hurts will maximize his potential. They don’t have to worry about whether or not he’ll put in the work. They don’t have to worry about whether or not he’s the right guy to be the face of the franchise.
They know the answers to all those questions already. The intangibles aren’t in doubt.
The Eagles didn’t just invest in a football player. They invested in Jalen Hurts. At least that seems like a pretty safe bet.
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