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The Philadelphia Eagles signed quarterback Jalen Hurts to a massive contract extension on Monday. He’s the second NFC East signal-caller to get a big contract this offseason. The New York Giants committed to Daniel Jones in early March. Dak Prescott is entering year three of a four-year $160M deal with the Dallas Cowboys.
All told, those three NFC East QBs have contracts worth just under $500 million total. But are any of the three in the Top 5 in the NFL among quarterbacks? Top 10?
It’s close, but mostly because the quarterback position is relatively weak right now. In no particular order, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert are the best five currently, in my humble opinion.
I have Lamar Jackson just a notch below those five.
The NFC East is paying borderline Top 10 quarterbacks like they’re generational superstars
After that, there’s a drop-off and then the next tier. That is where you would find Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts along with guys like Trevor Lawrence, Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr.
That’s my “good enough to win with, but not good enough to elevate a mediocre team to Super Bowl contender.” Oh, and the “guy who comes up with catchy tier names” is on vacation, so sorry about that.
Then, there’s the “maybe could win if literally everything else around them is perfect” tier where you have Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford (at this stage of his career), Justin Fields, Geno Smith, Jimmy Garoppolo and Brock Purdy.
After that, everyone else is essentially replaceable. Or, they would be if there were more talented quarterbacks around, but there really aren’t these days. Sad, honestly.
That’s pretty much my point. Those top five guys deserve to get paid. Lamar Jackson is just outside because I think his long-term future is still very much in question. Though, he’s scary enough with his legs still to be a fringe Top 5 QB for 2023-24.
Then, there’s that next group. And, here’s the problem with that collective: they’re all good enough to win with if you support them with excellent teammates. But the cost of those quarterbacks is so astronomically high.
For those on rookie deals, like Tua or Lawrence, the window is open to win. But for the guys making $40+ million per season, it doesn’t look great.
Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott and Daniel Jones are solid players making game-changer money
And therein lies the problem in the NFC East. Daniel Jones, Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts are nice quarterbacks. But they’re not elite.
Yes, people are rushing to put Jalen Hurts there. But he had one great season in part because their offense was extremely innovative. From the QB sneak “push play” to the way they utilized Hurts and the read-option, the Eagles surprised defenses weekly.
But in the NFL, that only lasts so long. Remember when the Wildcat got the Dolphins to the playoffs with Chad Pennington? The league adjusts. It will adjust to the Eagles. Teams are going to make Jalen Hurts beat them with his arm.
Can he do it? Maybe, but I’m not willing to bet that right now after one season. The Eagles weren’t even sure he was their starter coming into this year. Now he’s one of the best in the game? Talk about being prisoner of the moment.
Plus, he had weapons all around him. He’ll have that for another season (possibly two) because of the way his contract is likely structured.
But once he’s eating up 20+% of the salary cap? Good luck.
Then there’s Dak Prescott. He has two playoff wins in his career. He’s never advanced past the Divisional Round. His cap hit next season rises to just over $59 million according to Spotrac. Seriously, nearly $60 million. That’s $30 million per playoff win.
Although, if you told Jerry Jones he could pay $120 million in cash for four playoff wins and a Super Bowl trophy, I bet he’d do it.
Prescott is a good quarterback. He’s in the Top 10 for me. But you just can’t commit that much money to slightly above-average players.
Next is Daniel Jones. He’s below both Prescott and Hurts and he also got $160 million. Again, the Giants can win with Jones if everything is great around him. That’s going to be hard to do starting in 2024-25 when his cap hit is $45 million.
Just like Hurts, the Giants didn’t want to commit to Jones prior to this season. They didn’t even exercise his fifth-year option because they didn’t really believe in him. One good season with a great head coach and a smart offensive gameplan and suddenly he’s worth $40+ million per year?
What are we even doing?
Yes, the NFC East quarterbacks are solid players. But solid players are being paid like superstars. That makes them overrated and overpaid.
Then, there’s the Washington Commanders. No one has any clue what they’re doing. I’m not sure they know. They drafted Sam Howell in the fifth round in 2022 and he might be their starter. That’s not ideal, but he’s not making any money.
Same with Jacoby Brissett, who they brought in to compete for the starting job.
And you know what? That might be the best quarterback situation in the division.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
A question mark at <$1 mil is probably worth more than known mediocrity at $40+ mil at this point.
I’d like to say, as someone who wanted Jones gone in the past, he had nothing around him this year and we won 11 games. Granted, we still can’t beat Dallas and Philly for whatever reason, but Jones cut the turnovers down big time and we were winners for once.