An early look at Eagles' 2022 QB options: Draft, trade could offer upgrade if Jalen Hurts doesn't improve -

The Eagles are just under halfway through their first year of the Nick Sirianni-Jalen Hurts pairing. Their record, 2-4, falls in line with general expectations for a team in transition. A softer schedule over the next two months suggests they might still hang around in the NFC East. But the process has been more troubling than the results in Philadelphia, where Hurts and Sirianni seem to be hurting, not helping, each other in a stagnant mashup of an inefficient but pass-happy offense.

They've shown resilience, there's no doubt. Energy and mettle are not lacking in either of the young leaders. It partly explains why there's been no quit in the Eagles despite their steady offensive staleness, and why they've played close games with contenders like the Buccaneers and Chiefs. But this year was always going to be less about wins, losses and good effort, and more about answering big-picture questions about the coach and quarterback. To date, it's fair to pin more blame on the former, whose strategy and in-game decision-making hasn't looked even marginally better than that of late-stage Doug Pederson -- a low bar to clear.

And yet, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie emphasized patience when he dismissed Doug and hired Sirianni, suggesting this staff was always going to be a slower work in progress. Fair or not, the pressure is probably more on Hurts to prove he belongs beyond 2021. At just 23, is he in an ideal situation? Absolutely not. But what if there's a reason Sirianni and Co. seem to be designing the offense for an entirely different QB? There's time for things to change, and again, the coach and QB here are flailing in tandem, but in today's NFL, with more good and great signal-callers than ever, you at least need something steady or special under center.

That brings us to 2022, when the Eagles will have an abundance of ammunition for a potential upgrade. As it stands, Philly owns the No. 5 pick (via Dolphins), No. 6 pick (via Colts, if Carson Wentz stays on the field) and No. 8 pick (their own) in the first round of next year's draft. This isn't to say Hurts has already played himself out of the long-term job, but if the current trajectory continues, you can bet Howie Roseman will be weighing his options:

Options in the draft

CBS Sports draft expert Ryan Wilson has just two QBs going in the first round in his latest mock, but he lists six as potential Day One targets:

  • Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
  • Carson Strong (Nevada)
  • Sam Howell (North Carolina)
  • Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati)
  • Malik Willis (Liberty)
  • Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma)

With at least two and maybe three first-rounders, all of which presently seem destined to land in the top 15, it's possible Roseman --and, more importantly, presuming he's still the coach, Nick Sirianni -- will have the ability to add whichever QB they desire. Packaging firsts or future picks could conceivably vault them inside the top three, and even that might not be necessary. The biggest question, of course, is which of the prospects, if any, will demand such a big investment.

Options via trade

If the focus is really on patient program-building with Sirianni, the Eagles would probably prefer a homegrown QB a la Donovan McNabb, Carson Wentz, etc. But Roseman, ever excited to swing a blockbuster deal, could also dangle his multiple firsts on the trade block. The 2020 offseason proved you can never say never with veteran QB moves, and these names could warrant a look:

  • Russell Wilson: The Seahawks won't just give him up, but his reps have openly weighed a change of scenery. If Seattle misses the playoffs and enters a quasi-rebuild in 2022, who knows? Yes, he's 33 and will be coming off an injury, but he remains one of the game's most poised play-makers. The Eagles have also been open about their affinity for him coming out of Wisconsin.
  • Aaron Rodgers: Don't count on A-Rod signing off on a relocation to Philly if he ultimately brokers a move out of Green Bay, but why wouldn't the Eagles try? It'd be Roseman's bid to buy a title, like the Buccaneers did with Tom Brady and the Broncos once did with Peyton Manning. That's assuming they could surround him with a good team before his age (38 in 2022) catches up to him.
  • Baker Mayfield: Here's a curve-ball for you. This would be fully dependent on the Browns playing the waiting game on an extension and somehow deciding they'd be better off giving Kevin Stefanski another vet (see: Kirk Cousins? Matt Ryan?). At 26, he'd give the Eagles a long-term option, with experience as the kind of juiced-up point guard Sirianni might covet. As a bonus, former Eagles executive Andrew Berry is running the show in Cleveland.
  • Deshaun Watson: The Eagles have been heavily linked to the former Pro Bowler, but they won't do this if the Texans QB is still facing countless off-field allegations. As a player, Watson has top-10 stuff. As a potential target, he's a total red flag for now.

Stopgap options

Let's say the Eagles add a QB in the draft or even keep Hurts as competition. These names could make sense to beef up the room or delay a bigger decision until 2023:

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