Jalen Hurts deserved a record contract, but a new high mark isn’t far away

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The Jalen Hurts contract consists of many stories wrapped into one. It is a story of redemption and perseverance, of improvement and belief, of excellence and tenacity.

The Philadelphia Eagles paid him because they want him for his now and for his future, for his properties as an outstanding franchise frontman and because they believe he will continue to improve.

It was about doing the right thing by a player who came so close to capturing a Super Bowl and seems hell-bent on getting the job done. Money, this incredible amount, is almost irrelevant.

All of the above is true except for the last part.

Money is not irrelevant. How could it be, with $255 million total and an all-time NFL record of $51 million per year? It’s also not irrelevant because money is so much more than just a fiscal mechanism when it comes to the NFL.

[Related: What Jalen Hurts’ contract means for Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson]

Certain moves, and Monday’s Hurts announcement was one of them, are often said to work to “set” the market. When it comes to quarterbacks, that’s false advertising. These types of contractual blockbusters don’t “establish” anything; they shake the market so hard the hinges rattle.

It was a shock when Patrick Mahomes got what seemed like supernatural money in 2020, but now it feels like an absolute bargain at $45 million a year. It was a surprise when Aaron Rodgers got his three-year, $150.8 million contract a year ago and when Deshaun Watson got an unprecedented full guarantee of $230 million spread over five years.

Jalen Hurts, Eagles agree to 5-year, $255 million contract extension

Jalen Hurts, Eagles agree to 5-year, $255 million contract extension

Joy Taylor, LeSean McCoy, David Helman and Ric Bucher react as the Philadelphia Eagles agree to a 5-year, $255 million contract extension with Jalen Hurts.

These shake-ups cause things to expand at a rate that beats inflation and convention, and certainly faster rates than team owners would prefer to pay. But because there are a collection of factors that serve to inflate the numbers, people with money pay for it. Because not doing it means paying more later.

Hurts and Eagles have set a new contract high. And no, in case you’re wondering, this doesn’t mean there’s going to be a period of calm and reflection where things slow down and normal service is restored.

It means we’re on track to hit $60 million a year, and before you know it, way, way beyond that.

Teams want to believe that their QB is not only on par with the last one to get a big deal, but better. This notion is in everyone’s interest, often including the CEO who might have drafted it, changed it, or at least supported it. The owner is also emotionally invested, wanting all fans to be excited about the player at center and believing that good times are just around the corner, so good that you better buy your season ticket now or else.

NFL agents are a tough bunch that don’t need to be reminded that since QB talent is a rare commodity, these negotiations are hard to lose. The complexity of the position and the hit-or-miss method of trying to find stars in the draft further increase the agent’s advantage, and they are good enough to exploit it.

When football starts again, we’re on track to be at or very close to $55 million, with Joe Burrow in prime position to be the biggest beneficiary. What could help the Cincinnati Bengals superstar the most is if Justin Herbert gets his deal done next, and if Herbert’s representatives are able to convince the Los Angeles Chargers to go higher than the Eagles for Hurts.

That might be a stretch, but quarterback money talks always involve a stretch, and Herbert’s people will rave about his unlimited potential, as he seems destined to star for a decade or more, even no playoff wins compared to Hurts’ Super. The last bowling race.

If Herbert hits, say, $52 million a year, Burrow’s people will surely be vying for a few million more from the Bengals. And then….?

Well, it won’t be long before Dak Prescott’s deal is up for renewal. After that, the deal that could provide the biggest shakeup of all would come if the Kansas City Chiefs decide to tear up Mahomes’ contract and give him something new, as his salary will be in the middle of the road before long. .

50 million dollars? it was as if we had never met you.

Climbing used to progress much more slowly.

Drew Brees broke the $20 million barrier in 2012 and the ceiling went up pretty slowly from there. In 2017, Matthew Stafford was the top earner at $27 million. Then Matt Ryan hit $30 million, at which point everything was numerically stratospheric. QB pay went through the $30 million range, jumped over $40 million in no time, and now we’re almost at the $1 million per week mark.

Money rules don’t apply in the NFL. Money doesn’t talk here, it shouts. For QBs, the numbers don’t crunch, they float in the air, getting higher and higher.

Such is the nature of the modern game, the stakes reach such levels, so quickly, that they defy logic. And yet, given how the business works and the importance of the most exalted position, it somehow still makes sense.

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX i subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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