By Rob Maaddi
The Eagles don’t have to look too far to find a backup for Jalen Hurts.
Nate Sudfeld is just fine to handle that role because this is a rebuilding team with no expectations of competing for a Super Bowl in 2021.
Finding out if Hurts can be the quarterback of the future has to be the team’s top priority. He should get an opportunity to start 16 games, if healthy, without having to think about getting replaced by Marcus Mariota, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith or any other backup if he struggles.
Agents disguised as “league sources” are going to say the Eagles have interest in any available veteran quarterback to drive up the market value for their client.
Sudfeld is a free agent so he’ll need a new contract but he won’t cost much, which is ideal for a team that has major salary cap issues.
If new coach Nick Sirianni and his staff don’t like what they see on tape from Sudfeld, there are other inexpensive options like Robert Griffin III, Geno Smith and Blaine Gabbert.
RG3 made $2 million last year, same as Sudfeld. Smith and Gabbert each made $1,187,500. Gabbert earned a Super Bowl ring backing up Tom Brady. He certainly can share important lessons from that experience.
Hurts proved enough last season to warrant an extensive look to determine if he’s the long-term answer. He’s a dual-threat guy with talent that needs to be developed. His familiarity with quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson should help. Plus, Sirianni is known as a quarterbacks guru.
Hurts also seems to possess the intangibles. He has poise, leadership skills and strong character. It’s his team now.
The Eagles have to see what he can do over a full season following a full offseason in order to make a proper evaluation on him and their direction at the position.
They invested a second-round pick in Hurts at a time when they had more pressing needs at other positions. It ultimately contributed to Carson Wentz’s collapse and trade to Indianapolis.
Can’t change history. Learn from it. Don’t draft a quarterback before Day 3 and don’t spend much on a backup.
Surround Hurts with talent and give him every opportunity to succeed. If he’s not the answer, get a quarterback next year.