Has Eagles proprietor Jeffrey Lurie gone too far with quarterback directives?


PHILADELPHIA — For the second 12 months in a row, Philadelphia Eagles proprietor Jeffrey Lurie is pointing the franchise within the course of quarterback Jalen Hurts — elevating questions and issues within the course of.

Lurie was influential within the number of Hurts in final April’s draft, based on sources. He wasn’t alone on an island — former coach Doug Pederson was searching for a younger QB to develop and common supervisor Howie Roseman was mentioned to be on board — however Lurie wished Hurts. And when bosses need one thing they often get it.

Philadelphia used its second-round decide (No. 53 total) on the Oklahoma product regardless of being financially dedicated to quarterback Carson Wentz to the tune of 4 years and $128 million. Hurts confirmed promise in 4 begins as a rookie, however utilizing a excessive decide on Hurts, and later beginning him in favor of the struggling Wentz, performed a significant function within the deterioration of the connection between Wentz and the group.

Final month the Eagles agreed to deal Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a pair of draft picks. When the commerce turns into official March 17, Philadelphia will take up the most important dead-cap hit in league historical past at $33.8 million.

Hurts is the lone quarterback standing from final season’s roster. Even with NFL free company and the 2021 NFL draft nonetheless to come back, Lurie is handing Hurts the keys for the 2021 marketing campaign. He has instructed the workforce to prioritize making Hurts profitable this season versus creating a real quarterback competitors, sources instructed ESPN’s Chris Mortensen — yet one more signal of how hands-on the Eagles proprietor has turn into.

Lurie’s involvement in personnel and soccer operations started ramping up following the coach Chip Kelly period (2013-15), when Lurie felt alienated from his personal membership at occasions and reportedly instructed confidants earlier than firing Kelly he wished to “take again the workforce.”

Indicators emerged he was doing it as Lurie led the cost to re-sign Sam Bradford within the 2016 offseason and went to the Senior Bowl that January to judge Wentz and the 2016 draft class. He held weekly conferences in-season with Pederson and Roseman throughout Pederson’s tenure to dive deep into soccer issues. He blocked then-quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo from interviewing for the New York Jets’ offensive coordinator job in 2017, stopping Pederson from granting the request as his mentor, former Eagles coach Andy Reid, usually had.

And Lurie fired Pederson this offseason when the coach failed to supply a imaginative and prescient for the long run the proprietor may embrace, at the same time as different energy brokers tried to de-escalate the scenario to maintain the Tremendous Bowl successful coach within the fold.

Lurie’s affect is felt far and broad, from the group’s heavy lean into analytics to coaching-staff issues. However the quarterback place is of explicit curiosity. Understanding how necessary QBs are to the general success of a franchise, Lurie has turn into a pupil of the place. He’s concerned within the course of when buying one. His philosophy of investing closely in quarterbacks has turn into a key organizational tenet, and has led to nice success tales, just like the Nick Foles-led Tremendous Bowl run, and cautionary tales, just like the one which unfolded with Hurts and a disgruntled Wentz.

Maybe Lurie’s directive on Hurts is with latest Eagles’ historical past in thoughts. The 2020 season confirmed the type of catastrophe that may strike when QB1 does not really feel totally supported. Instructing his workers not to usher in legit competitors for Hurts will be considered partially as a response to that.

It is truthful to wonder if it is an overreaction. Hurts, in any case, is way much less confirmed than Wentz was getting into final season. He confirmed sturdy management in a clumsy spot and gave the offense a jolt when inserted into the lineup, however he cooled down the stretch and completed with a 52% completion charge and 6 touchdowns to 4 interceptions whereas dashing for 354 yards and three scores.

4 video games is just too small a pattern dimension to find out if he could be a high quality starter within the professionals.

The Eagles are restricted in the kind of veteran they will usher in due to their salary-cap scenario, however they maintain the No. 6 total decide within the upcoming draft and there are numerous fascinating quarterback prospects on this class together with Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones. The Eagles do not usually draft within the prime 10, making this a probably distinctive alternative for them.

If a first-round quarterback falls into the “competitors” class, then Lurie’s determination to abstain comes earlier than coach Nick Sirianni and his workers have had the possibility to fulfill and totally consider prospects. The Eagles’ workers usually gathers in April as soon as all professional days are over to account for the coaches’ assessments because the workforce shapes its draft board.

All related voices, in different phrases, have not been totally heard from.

It might be naïve to suppose homeowners throughout the league aren’t concerned in massive personnel choices, particularly in the case of the quarterback place. The query is: The place is the road?

There have been combined opinions of Hurts contained in the Eagles’ constructing main as much as final 12 months’s draft. He wasn’t the best participant on Philadelphia’s board when he was picked, sources mentioned. Was it sensible for Lurie & Co. to be aggressive and take the QB they wished somewhat early in order that they did not miss out, like they did by ready too lengthy on Russell Wilson in 2012? Or, did the proprietor’s pleasure in regards to the participant steer issues off track?

Ought to an proprietor be concerned in personnel analysis or does it warp the method and infringe on the consultants employed to do the job? What message does it ship to the locker room in regards to the new coach if the quarterback determination is being made above his head?

These are the questions swirling across the Eagles as they decide up the items from a disastrous 4-11-1 season, which included a divorce from their onetime franchise quarterback.

In the meantime, one reply has crystallized: Sure, Lurie is closely concerned, and more and more so, for higher or worse.

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