PHILADELPHIA — There might not be a starting quarterback entering the 2022 NFL season with more pressure than Jalen Hurts.
After leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a playoff berth in 2021 at just 23-years-old, the Eagles ownership, front office, and coaches all publicly backed Hurts this offseason as their signal caller moving forward.
And yet, under the surface, it appears general manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles attempted or made multiple moves that pointed to the team either trying to replace Hurts or set themselves up to have that option in 2023.
Offseason reports indicate the Eagles inquired about trading for both Russell Wilson and DeShaun Watson.
When the team learned that neither player would waive their no-trade clause, Roseman turned around and collected an extra first round pick from the New Orleans Saints for the 2023 draft.
Next year’s draft class just so happens to be seen as one of the deepest in recent memory at quarterback.
Now, Hurts has the pressure of not holding back a loaded roster, holding off the Eagles from using a plethora of assets next offseason on a potential replacement, and simply being a starting quarterback in Philadelphia.
That is a lot to take on.
Is it the most pressure that has been on the shoulders of an Eagles signal caller in the post-Donovan McNabb era?
Here are the seven most pressure-filled seasons for the city of Brotherly Love’s starting quarterback since 2010 ranked:
1. 2022 - Jalen Hurts
The strength of the 2022 roster, the draft picks the team has in 2023, and the type of offense the Eagles want to be long term add up to create the most high-pressure situation a quarterback has faced in midnight green in over a decade.
Hurts’ rookie contract is coming to an end soon too, creating more urgency to the situation.
There needs to be an answer on if Hurts is the guy by the end of this season.
2. 2019 - Carson Wentz
Wentz entered the 2019 season with a brand new, historic contract extension with the Eagles. It didn’t seem like he would be going anywhere anytime soon.
However, Wentz was coming off a 2018 season where he suffered a season-ending injury for the second straight year, allowing Nick Foles to yet again take Carson’s team on a deep playoff run.
Wentz was set up to take over for Foles after a Super Bowl win, and then another near trip to the NFC championship in a city where some fans, and maybe even players wanted Foles to be the quarterback.
It proved to have its long term effects on Wentz.
Although he pulled off a magical run to the playoffs of his own, we saw what the years of built up pressure did in 2020.
3. 2018 - Carson Wentz
Just like in 2019, Wentz didn’t have a significant amount of pressure placed on him in 2018, and that had to do with job security.
The pressure came more from expectations to replicate what he did in 2017 before tearing his ACL. Expectations to replicate the historic run Foles went on to win the Eagles their first Lombardi trophy. Expectations from himself, fans, media, and even if it wasn’t said directly, from the organization.
A statue of his backup was built outside of the stadium. That is pressure.
4. 2021 - Jalen Hurts
Hurts entered 2021 as the starting quarterback after a 2020 season where the Eagles had one of their worst, and darkest years in franchise history. The team won just four games, and Super Bowl winning head coach Doug Pederson was fired. The team's five-year franchise gunslinger Carson Wentz also collapsed during the regular season, got benched, and eventually forced a trade to the Indianapolis Colts.
Many saw the selection of Hurts in the 2020 draft as a key reason Wentz regressed at a historic level, and that added pressure on Hurts to prove he could be the next leader of the franchise, and not just part of the reason the team's last signal caller left town.
The Eagles also had a top-10 pick and were rumored to have tried to trade up for BYU QB Zach Wilson, before learning the New York Jets would take him second overall. The team proceeded to trade down to collect a second first round pick in 2021, to give Philadelphia more options. It seemed the organization’s original, and current Plan A to find their long term future at quarterback wasn’t Hurts.
However, he would get his chance in the 2021 season, and now will in 2022, as well. Although, entering the offseason, there was no guarantee Hurts would be guaranteed any opportunity.
5. 2011 - Michael Vick
Vick and the Eagles entered the 2012 season with more pressure than any team in the league. Their 2011 “Dream Team” season that had them as Super Bowl favorites was a massive failure, as the team finished 8-8, missing the playoffs.
Vick’s injuries and inconsistent play in 2011 were costly. It was up to him to redeem that failed season and save coach Andy Reid’s job, as he was now on the hot seat. Vick himself labeled the 2012 team the “redeem team” in an NFL Network interview.
Of course, we know now that there was no redemption. 2012 went even worse than 2011, costing Vick his label of the Eagles franchise quarterback.
6. 2015 - Sam Bradford
In Chip Kelly’s only season with complete control of the Eagles roster, he chose Bradford to be his starting quarterback, trading both Nick Foles and a second round pick for the former first overall pick.
Bradford had pressure from multiple areas.
He suffered a number of serious injuries in multiple seasons, so there was a huge question mark about his long term health.
Not to mention, the Eagles traded away Foles, who had a 14-4 record as Philadelphia’s starter over the previous two seasons.
Then, there was also the disappointment from fans (and probably Chip Kelly himself) that the Eagles weren’t able to trade up for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
7. 2010 - Kevin Kolb
Kolb had big shoes to fill in 2010 after the Eagles saw a decade’s worth of sustained success with Donovan McNabb under center. Philadelphia traded McNabb to Washington, even after the previous two seasons resulted in a 2008 NFC championship appearance, and an 11-5 wild card berth in 2009.
Kolb had to take over for the most accomplished quarterback in franchise history, with having just a few starts under his belt himself. A former first overall pick in Michael Vick was also right behind Kolb on the depth chart, and we know how Vick bounced back in his second season returning to the NFL.
In taking a look back at these high-pressure situations, not many of these players came out of on the other side remaining the Eagles' franchise quarterback.
Will Jalen Hurts?
Time will tell.