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The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of faith in Jalen Hurts to be the team's quarterback going forward -- at the moment. Hurts impressed the Eagles enough in limited action last season to warrant the team moving on from former franchise quarterback Carson Wentz (we'll get to him in a moment), giving the 2020 second-round pick the opportunity to lead the team in a rebuilding season. 

Hurts is popular amongst the younger Eagles players on the roster and wants to show his new head coach he can become the next franchise quarterback. The lingering question with a franchise that hasn't been active in free agency remains -- will Hurts have the chance to be the starting quarterback past the 2021 season? 

Let's start with this: Hurts is currently the only quarterback on the Eagles roster. That's going to change in the coming days as Philadelphia will look to bring in a veteran quarterback to add depth to the quarterback room (the Eagles already completed a visit with Joe Flacco, which reportedly went well). 

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman are committed to Hurts at the moment (they don't have a choice in the matter). The Eagles do really like Hurts and his potential and are committed to developing him.

"When people start talking about Jalen, the first thing that they go to is his athleticism and his strength as a runner," Roseman said on a conference call with reporters last week. "I don't know that's necessarily fair. This is a guy who completed over 70% of his passes at Oklahoma. He's got a feel for the passing game. He's got a plus arm. I think he's going to continue to get better and better.

"We're excited about the ability that he has and his opportunity to grow and to kind of be with this coaching staff and their ability to get their hands on him and help him become the player that he's got the talent to become."

Sirianni echoed the same thoughts as Roseman, developing an offense that plays to Hurts' strengths as a thrower and a runner. A new head coach may want to pick his own quarterback -- whether that will be in the trade or the draft -- following a tradition that Dick Vermeil, Buddy Ryan, Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid, and Doug Pederson practiced over the last 45 years. 

This is why a particular comment from Roseman was interesting in regards to the quarterback position -- and regarding the upcoming quarterback class in the 2021 NFL Draft (the Eagles do hold the No. 6 pick, after all). 

"You see over and over again, this is a quarterback-driven league, and these guys are all really good prospects," Roseman said. "We're going to make sure we do our due diligence on them and every other position that would be a possibility for us in the first round and with the rest of the our 11 picks."

If a quarterback the Eagles like falls to No. 6, the franchise won't hesitate to take him -- even though excellent playmakers like Ja'Marr Chase and Kyle Pitts will likely be on the board. The Eagles are committed to Hurts, but those plans can change in an instant with Roseman -- as we saw last year when the Eagles used a second-round pick on Hurts just 10 months after signing Wentz to the richest contract in NFL history. 

Which QB will the Eagles target at No. 6?

Brace yourselves, Eagles fans. The quarterback prospect the team has ties to in this unique draft year is from North Dakota State: Trey Lance. The Eagles were well represented at Lance's Pro Day a few weeks back, as offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson were present in Fargo, North Dakota. 

Fans would be enamored with Lance if he didn't go to the same school as Wentz, which will draw skeptics based on how the Wentz saga ended in Philadelphia. Lance is a Midwestern kid as well, with his hometown in Marshall, Minnesota (Wentz grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota) whose father has professional football experience with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders and the World League's London Monarchs. Lance knows the ins and outs of what it takes to be a professional football player, which will help him no matter which team drafts him. 

Unlike in Wentz's case, North Dakota State wasn't Lance's only option. Lance had multiple offers from Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision programs, even if a few of them didn't want Lance to play quarterback. Lance took the opportunity at North Dakota State and ran with it, completing 66.9% of his passes for 2,786 yards with 28 touchdowns to zero interceptions in his redshirt freshman season. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns in leading the Bison to the national championship. 

Lance is a dual-threat quarterback who was tasked with setting his own protections. His football knowledge is off the charts despite being just 20 years old. There are a lot of improvements Lance needs to make -- most notably the use of his legs to improve his velocity with the football -- but he's such a raw talent that is perfect for a rebuilding team. 

If Lance falls to No. 6, the Eagles will be tempted to take him. Don't be surprised if this coaching regime believes they found an upgraded version of Hurts. 

Free agent pursuit of a CB

The Eagles haven't actually been active in free agency thus far, which isn't a surprise given the team's lack of available salary cap space (NFLPA lists them at $3,340,821). Despite all this, Philadelphia has been busy adding to its secondary with the signings of Anthony Harris and Andrew Adams -- and has been in pursuit of a No. 2 cornerback to pair next to Darius Slay.

The Eagles lost Jalen Mills to the New England Patriots and Avonte Maddox is a much better player in the slot than on the outside, so finding a No. 2 cornerback is vital. Philadelphia was in the running for Adoree' Jackson, but he canceled his visit with the team and signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the New York Giants -- way too rich for the Eagles' blood. 

Fear not, Eagles fans -- there are plenty of intriguing cornerback options as the second wave of free agency begins. Here are a few intriguing players to monitor (age in parenthesis): 

  • Casey Hayward (31) -- Opposing quarterbacks completed just 49.4% of their passes targeting him in 2020
  • Steven Nelson (28) -- Opposing quarterbacks targeting him had just a 65.8 passer rating in 2019. He allowed zero touchdowns.
  • Gareon Conley (25) -- Missed entire 2020 season with an ankle injury that required two surgeries

There isn't much outside of those three, but defensive backs with ties to the Colts rave about defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and his coverage scheme -- so perhaps he can get the most out of these options. The Eagles have an opening at cornerback to fill and would like to take care of that before the draft (a corner could also be in play at No. 6 or No. 37). 

Parting ways with Carson Wentz 

The way the Wentz saga ended with the Eagles will be one of the strangest chapters in Philadelphia sports history. Eagles fans may never truly know what happened between Wentz and the Eagles that caused the relationship to go south -- and Wentz really won't address the matter either. 

At his introductory press conference with the Colts last week, Wentz admitted when the relationship with Philadelphia would no longer work -- which might draw the ire of a blue-collar city like Philadelphia. Getting benched in Week 13 for Jalen Hurts was when the new Colts quarterback doubted his future with the organization that drafted him.

"Green Bay was the moment I realized, this might not be it," Wentz said last week. "Anytime you're pulled, you don't know what's going to – am I going to go back out next week? Next drive? I had no idea. ... Those thoughts definitely creep in once you're benched. That's just how it unfolded.

"As far as being a competitor, I've never once questioned my competitiveness... but at the end of the day, this was outside my control."

To break this down, Wentz said the situation where he was one of the worst quarterbacks in football was "out of his control." If Wentz played near the level he performed from 2017 through 2019 -- he might still be the quarterback of the Eagles (unless he checked out before the actual benching). 

The Eagles didn't actually move on from Wentz when they drafted Hurts -- and Wentz was going to have his job as long as he didn't let his performance allow Hurts to see the field. Unfortunately it did, and Wentz should have been benched for Hurts weeks prior to when Philadelphia sat him for good. 

Wentz's competitiveness isn't in question here, but it's understandable why some teammates would consider that possibility -- especially if the franchise quarterback doesn't want to fight for the throne that's rightfully his. 

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It wasn't fun," Wentz said of his benching. "It's not fun when things were going so well for years and all those things. Obviously the Super Bowl and all those things that happened and not being out there on the field having injuries. A lot of things that just don't know why things happen or why they went the way they did. As a man, you have to look yourself in the mirror and learn from it. Learn from it, become a better man, better player, all those things.

"So yeah. I'm not going to lie. It wasn't fun, it was difficult. But I did everything I could to still be supported of Jalen and my teammates. I have a lot of really strong relationships with a lot of people in that building — teammates, staff, everything that I wanted to be the best I could be to help them. So I was going out there every day for scout team, even though it was weird, it was new, it was different, but I was going to give the best look I could, and I was going to compete and do everything I could to help the team. It wasn't the ending I desired but this is the path that we're on and we're excited for this new opportunity."

The Eagles made it clear Wentz wanted out -- and Wentz won't actually address his desire to leave. Wentz is moving on from that chapter in his life and so are the Eagles. The fans should follow their lead.