Deshaun Watson ignoring Eagles may have involved loyalty to Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts #1, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts #1, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

For those of you who are a little younger than the rest of us, all of this discussion that you’ve been hearing about whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles might entertain the idea of making a trade to land Deshaun Watson isn’t the first time that we’ve discussed his name and Jalen Hurts‘ name in the same sentence. It seems like it was 20 years ago when this happened, but back on January 9th of 2017, these two met on the field for a winner take all clash in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Watson’s Clemson Tigers got the better of Hurts and his Alabama Crimson Tide teammates on that evening. Still, even before the game was played (and ever since the game’s conclusion) these two have had mutual respect for one another.

The Philly Voice’s John McMullen touched on that recently as he detailed in a brilliant piece entitled Inside the Eagles ‘five-minute’ chase of Deshaun Watson that Watson’s respect for Hurts could have been one of the contributing factors in his decision not to come to Philly.

Take a look at this quote from McMullen’s story:

"The principles aren’t going on record anytime soon, but the strongly held belief around the league is that Watson’s aversion to the Eagles had to do with his loyalty to Jalen Hurts. Sources familiar with Watson’s sentiments pointed to the relationship built between the two players in the offseason through the connection of working with the same QB trainer, Quincy Avery."

McMullen goes on to state that Watson “simply didn’t want to take an opportunity away from Hurts”.

In the end, none of this matters. The Cleveland Browns made their offer. Watson accepted, and for Hurts and Watson, they still haven’t battled each other on an NFL playing surface as starters and won’t meet on the field until the 2024-2025 season, that is as long as they remain as the starters of their current teams or, dare we say, they meet in one of the next two Super Bowls.

Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

Hopefully, we’ll see the Eagles and Browns duel in the NFL’s biggest game one day.

The story doesn’t seem to end, does it? The 2021-2022 NFL season was supposed to be a year-long audition to determine whether or not Jalen Hurts had the stuff to be the Eagles’ starting quarterback going forward. 12 months later, the story seems to be that, well, Jalen Hurts is still auditioning for the job.

Philly’s QB1 improved as last season went on, but the NFL is a ‘win-now’ and ‘what have you done for me lately?’ business. It’s about improving and putting yourself in a position to be a contender on a day-in and day-out basis.

No one has to tell you that each organization must find its franchise quarterback to do that, so it shouldn’t be surprised when a team like the Eagles, even though they’ve told us repeatedly that Jalen is their guy, makes a move for someone of Watson’s caliber if they have a chance to do so.

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The rumor mill churned. We were told over and over again by people like former Eagles president Joe Banner that the Birds were in play to land Deshaun even though conflicting reports stated that Philadelphia wasn’t on his radar. At least, now, we can move on as the temptation, even if it was never going to lead to anything, can be taken off of the table.

It’s always interesting to know what happened behind the scenes though, and if McMullen’s sources are right, which they often are, much of what we’ve seen for the past few months makes more sense now. Philly can go build that team around Hurts as they promised now.