PHILADELPHIA – Jalen Hurts shared Monday night’s stage with Buffalo QB Josh Allen and there was plenty of room in the spotlight for both of them.
Allen is widely considered one of the league’s top five QBs. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-7 rout of the Tennessee Titans.
Hurts is trying to get there, and he took a big step in the Eagles’ 24-7 conquest of the Minnesota Vikings.
There have been plenty of big steps lately for the 23-year-old, second-year starter. So many, in fact, that maybe the Eagles’ front office has seen enough to begin seriously considering a new contract for him.
A new deal would have to wait until after the season, though, because the CBA does not allow players to be eligible for an extension until after their third season.
Hurts completed 83 percent of his throws, 26-for-31, for 333 yards and a 53-yard TD throw, ran for 57 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-long 26-yard inside the first half’s two-minute warning.
Head coach Nick Sirianni called it, “a big-time performance on a big-time stage.”
Down in Texas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went on the radio Tuesday morning and was asked about the Eagles QB.
“We’re playing a Philadelphia team with a quarterback threat,” Jones said on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “It doesn’t surprise me or startle me … [but] they’re going to be all we can handle.
“Hurts has really evolved and is better than when he came out we might have thought. He’s a guy that has always been able to run; very athletic, very strong. That’s not surprising. I was particularly impressed with the passing.”
Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, chimed in on Twitter: “People said we invited Jalen Hurts to the @seniorbowl only because he was a former Alabama QB. Even more people said we should’ve given him practice reps at RB. Both things are so funny after (Monday) night.”
The longtime vice of the Eagles Merrill Reese told the Monday Night Football announcing crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman at halftime that it was the best half of football from an Eagles quarterback that he had seen in a long, long time.
One question Sirianni and Hurts have been asked a lot following recent performances this year and last: “Was this the best game you’ve played?”
Hurts never answers it because it’s not about him.
That says a lot about him.
So, another approach to get to the heart of the game he had just unfurled was tried in the early hours of Tuesday morning when Hurts came to the postgame interview room in the bowels of Lincoln Financial Field.
Q: What left you most pleased?
Hurts: “I’ll tell you what left me most unpleased and that was how we finished the game on offense. We have to keep our foot on the gas.”
While that is true, it’s also true that the Eagles were never really threatened thanks to a defense that squeezed three interceptions from Kirk Cousins.
Therefore, the urgency wasn’t what it was to come out in the first half and start quickly, something Hurts saw to on an opening drive that saw him convert two third downs with arm and finish it with his legs on a bulldozing 3-yard run.
Each start seems to get better for Hurts and he is now 8-2 in his last 10 regular-season starts.
GM Howie Roseman likes to get deals done early with players he believes are cornerstone pieces to the team’s future success. He extended Jordan Mailata and Josh Sweat last September then gave new deals late in the season to Dallas Goedert and Avonte Maddox.
He still has 15 games this season and whatever waits beyond that to consider if Hurts will be one of those cornerstones.
So far, it looks like he is, and with the salary cap expected to rise about $25, and the Eagles already $10M-plus under the cap at the moment, there's no reason why Hurts wouldn't and shouldn't get a new contract.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.