A.J. Brown wants the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl roster to remain intact for 2023. And he knows that starts with keeping quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is eligible for a contract extension this offseason as he heads into the final year of his rookie deal.
So, he presented Eagles general manager Howie Roseman with a pseudo-ultimatum: Pay Hurts or trade me. Brown made the comment jokingly, but the overarching sentiment likely still stands.
“I love Philly," Brown said on Raw Room. "And what I'm about to say: You do not pay this man, just ship me off wherever he finna go. Listen, so you're talking about pressure? Howie, get it done."
Eagles better pay Jalen Hurts or AJ Brown is out pic.twitter.com/Fc6ge3dwQh
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) February 21, 2023
Brown enjoyed his best season in the NFL with the Eagles and Hurts. He caught a career-high 88 balls for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season on his way to his second Pro Bowl nod. And in the playoffs, Brown added 13 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown, which included a 45-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter of Philadelphia's Super Bowl LVII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
But to keep Hurts, it'll cost the Eagles a lot of money. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson broke it all down before the Super Bowl, and the going rate for a top-flight quarterback these days sits at around $50 million annually. Couple that with Deshaun Watson's fully guaranteed $230 million deal with the Cleveland Browns and Lamar Jackson's impending contract — either with the Baltimore Ravens or another team — and Hurts could be looking at one of the highest contracts in the NFL.
Is Hurts worth it? That's up for Roseman and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to decide. Lurie told Robinson during Super Bowl week that Philadelphia "can’t be afraid" to give quarterbacks long-term deals when they come around. Though, the team did sign Carson Wentz to a lucrative deal in 2019 only to draft Hurts a year later and trade Wentz away a year after that.
"You just can’t be afraid. You make the decision and the commitment and move forward," Lurie told Robinson. "And we feel great about where we’re with Jalen right now.”
Hurts did have a tremendous year in 2022 — his second as the team's full-time starter. He finished second in MVP behind winner Patrick Mahomes. Hurts finished with 3,70 passing yards, a 66.5 completion rate, 22 passing touchdowns, six interceptions, 760 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. Hurts went wild in the Super Bowl, too: He scored four times and tallied 374 total yards of offense.
Now, the Eagles don't have to sign Hurts immediately. He doesn't have a fifth-year option because he was drafted in the second round but still has one year left on his rookie contract. So, technically, the Eagles can still wait another year to extend Hurts, and even then could just place the franchise tag on him if they're still hesitant. But, the cost will likely go up with other quarterbacks like Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow and Los Angles Chargers' Justin Herbert extensions on the horizon.
We'll soon see if Lurie and Roseman are telling the truth about wanting to keep Hurts.
"We definitely would like to keep Jalen Hurts here long term," Roseman said Thursday. "I think we have a good sense of what we need to do here. We have a little bit of time here to kind of figure it out and get away and discuss that. At the end of the day, the most important thing is keeping our best players here and Jalen is certainly one of our best players.”