Since Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been dangled as a potential trade asset for Houston, the Eagles have been linked to the 3x Pro Bowl signal caller.
NFL insider Adam Schefter stoked the flames on the Watson rumors a week or so ago, stating the Eagles were better positioned than any other team in the league to make this move. Everyone’s favorite Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin chimed in on the conversation as well, proclaiming that if/when Watson is moved, there’s a 90 percent chance he ends up in Philly.
Any way you slice it, this move would make a ton of sense for both parties. The Eagles have a need at quarterback and have the draft ammo to get a deal done, without mortgaging their future too much. Houston won’t get a better return for Watson than Philly can offer, which could potentially include three first round picks in next year’s draft.
But let’s pump the brakes on a Watson to Philly trade for right now. The most ideal outcome for the Eagles and their future is one that doesn’t include Watson at all.
This is probably obvious to some, but what we all should be hoping for heading into 2021 is a Jalen Hurts break out campaign. A season where the former second round pick cements himself as a capable franchise quarterback.
If Hurts proves himself in 2021, the Eagles have a ton of maneuverability over the next 2-3 years. Hurts’ average cap hit over the next three years is $1.6 million. And although the team will have to resign him to a long-term deal before his rookie deal is up if he performs at a high level, they’ll have a handful of years where Howie Roseman and Co. will have the cap space to build a true contender around Hurts.
For reference, Watson’s cap hit will jump to $40 million in 2022, and then to $42 million the following year. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s worth that money. And the going rate for a franchise quarterback will likely be higher than that by the time we get to 2023.
For the Eagles sake, keeping their money for at least an extra year or so, along with keeping all the draft assets they’ve accumulated during this offseason is a no-brainer if Hurts proves something this year.
The Watson trade talks have been put on hold with his sexual assault allegations, meaning he probably won’t be traded this year. For all we know, he may not even play this year — either because of his ongoing legal issues, or his unwillingness to play for the Texans.
This works in the Eagles’ favor because they’ll have an opportunity to see what they truly have in Hurts. An entire year’s worth of tape should give you a pretty clear idea of what Hurts is as an NFL quarterback.
If he fails to play at a high level or win football games, the front office can readjust their plan and direct their attention to getting their quarterback of the future. And it may not be Watson at that point either. Maybe the scouting department really likes one of the top quarterbacks in next year’s draft and wants to move up to get their guy.
That’s the great thing about this current Eagles situation. With all the draft capital stashed away, Howie has optionality. He’s not forced to stick with Hurts, trade for Watson, or even move up to get a quarterback. He’ll have numerous avenues to explore next offseason.
But as I said earlier, the most ideal avenue is the one where Hurts cements his status as the Eagles quarterback of the future. So enough of the Watson trade talk for now, we’ll have an entire offseason to ponder that option next year.