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  • Brian Baldinger


Brian Baldinger - On the Eagles

The starting quarterback for your Philadelphia Eagles on the opening day of 2022 should be and will be Jalen Hurts.

This may surprise some people and may even disappoint a good many of the fan base.

For months now and perhaps for many months to come there will be many reports about a trade for Seattle's Russell Wilson.

If Seattle was truly interested in dealing their biggest star and the face of their winning organization over the past decade I would take the call if I were Howie Roseman.

I would listen and I may even barter....a little! All indications are that it will take their three first round selections in this draft and who knows what else. I wouldn't do it. I would politely tell Seattle's GM, John Schneider, thanks but no thanks.

I won’t bore readers with the stats that Russell Wilson has accumulated over the past decade. The most important is that he has started 174 games, been to the post season eight out of ten seasons; and until he suffered his first injury this season had never had a losing record.

Quite the resume of winning.

And it was like that from the day he was drafted with a 3rd round selection in 2012. That off-season Seattle had entered the quarterback caracul sweepstakes by offering Packers free agent Matt Flynn, over 20 million dollars in guaranteed money to come in and be their opening day starter in 2012.

The problem was that Wilson was a natural born leader and won the team over in the first week of training camp .Flynn never saw the field.

While Wilson was magnificent from the start, the team was stacked. They had the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL in 2012 and for years beyond.

The “Legion of Boom” was becoming a household name. Drafted in the second round just in front of Wilson was Bobby Wagner who quickly became the QB of the defense. They spent heavily in free agency to fortify their defensive line.

I mention the defense because Wilson and the Seahawks didn’t win a Super Bowl and go to one the following year just because of Wilson's arm talent and leadership.

They built a very strong team around him with many resources that they had because of Wilson's affordable contract. By the time Wilson signed his second contract extension in 2019 that pays Wilson north of 35 million bucks per season.

Since that last extension the Seahawks have not won a postseason game, except for their victory over the Birds when they knocked Carson Wentz out of action on the game's ninth play. The QB and his contract making him one of the highest paid players in the NFL makes it difficult to build a championship team around him.

This is what the Eagles would incur by making a trade for Wilson. They already owe "dead money" on the Carson Wentz trade and Wilson's contract along with compensation it would take to acquire Wilson would make it very difficult to improve the roster to become a championship caliber team.

Jalen Hurts showed me plenty this season to believe that he can become a perennial playoff QB. He has shown improvement throughout his career. He made a quantum leap from Alabama to Oklahoma. He made a substantial leap from his four starts at the end of the 2020 season to what he showed in 2021.

The reason that I believe he has much more to his upside has to do with the man himself. He is the son of a high school football coach in Channelview High School outside of Houston, TX.

He is extremely disciplined and a very hard worker. He wants and drives himself to be great. He is the undisputed leader of the Eagles now and his leadership will only grow as he and the team create more success.

He clearly beat out Carson Wentz and the Eagles trade to move Carson and stick with Jalen was 100 percent the right move. Now they need to build around him. Three first round picks allow the birds to move up and draft some elite prospects that can become core players to future success. Jalen, the No. 53 selection, in the 2020 draft has a very affordable contract for at least two more seasons. There isn't any QB in this draft that I would take over Jalen right now.

It’s time the Birds realize they have a special player and a special person in Jalen Hurts.

Much like Seattle did when they took Wilson in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. They used resources and solid drafting to build a Super Bowl winning team and a perennial playoff performer.

While Jalen isn’t as far along as Wilson was entering his third season, I believe that Hurts will make a jump into the top 15 QB's in the NFL this season and continue to climb.

We should all take a hard look at what Matt Stafford accomplished this season. Surrounded by incompetence around him in Detroit for far too long it took a great coach and a great roster for him to taste the victory of Super Bowl success.

He won four playoff games with the Rams while losing all three playoff games over 12 years in Detroit. The moral of the story is that every QB needs great coaching and a great rooster around him. No one wins in a vacuum or because they are an elite QB.

No better example of that than watching Aaron Rodgers take home four MVP trophies yet has only one Lombardi to his resume.

The Eagles have a very bright prospect at quarterback in Hurts. It’s time to identify him as that important piece and never stop building around him.

This 2022 draft with more draft capitol than they have ever had, continues to strengthen the team around Hurts. Pick almost any other position on the team, outside of offensive tackle and the Birds need help at those positions. It’s time to address those needs in this draft.

I wish Wilson continued health and success because he is terrific for the business of the NFL. Just not here in Philadelphia. *

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