5 Eagles takeaways from Howie Roseman: Why Jalen Hurts is QB in '22; are they giving up on Jalen Reagor?

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It didn't take long for Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to say that quarterback Jalen Hurts will be the starting quarterback in 2022.

As expected, Hurts' status was the very first question Roseman faced Wednesday in his season-ending press conference held along with head coach Nick Sirianni.

"We wanted to see him take the bull by the horn, and he certainly did that," Roseman said.

He was then asked if that's a "yes" answer as to whether Hurts will be the QB in 2022.

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Roseman responded "Yes."

But that doesn't answer everything about Hurts' future.

The Eagles will have three first-round draft picks this spring, and quarterbacks such as Seattle's Russell Wilson and Houston's Deshaun Watson have been rumored as trade possibilities.

With that, here are five takeaways from the season-ending press conference:

Philadelphia Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman watches as the Eagles warm up before facing the New England Patriots Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Philadelphia Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman watches as the Eagles warm up before facing the New England Patriots Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

1. Why Jalen Hurts will start in 2022

Sure, it's easy to say that Hurts will be the starting quarterback going forward on Jan. 19.

The offseason is just beginning. If you remember Roseman's press conference at the end of the 2020 season, he said having players like Carson Wentz is "like the fingers on your hand. You can't even imagine that they are not part of you."

Six weeks later, the Eagles traded Wentz to Indianapolis.

"Last year with Carson, we had to figure out going forward what made the most sense when we got the offer that we did (from the Colts)," Roseman said about the first- and third-round picks in return. "Certainly, that changed there, and I understand that.

"But us right now, we’re in this mode of trying to build this team."

Sure, there were some struggles along the way. Hurts completed only 61.3% of his passes, and his passer rating was a mediocre 87.3.

But Hurts, who led the Eagles in rushing with 784 yards and 10 TDs, was the impetus of the NFL's top rushing attack. The Eagles averaged 159.7 yards rushing per game.

Still, some of Hurts' weaknesses were exposed in the Eagles' 31-15 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in the wildcard round of the playoffs. That was primarily as a pocket passer and throwing while scrambling to his left.

"I think for us, we have to do whatever we can to continue to help him develop," Roseman said. "How do we do that? It’s by surrounding him with really good players."

Jalen Reagor had a second straight disappointing season after the Eagles made him their first-round pick in 2020.
Jalen Reagor had a second straight disappointing season after the Eagles made him their first-round pick in 2020.

2. What about Jalen Reagor?

Roseman didn't mince any words when it came to wide receiver Jalen Reagor, the 2020 first-round pick who had a second straight disappointing season. Reagor had just 33 catches for 299 yards in the regular season, similar to his rookie year of 31 catches for 396 yards.

Reagor also fumbled away a punt against the Buccaneers.

Roseman drafted Reagor over Justin Jefferson, who went with the next pick to the Vikings. Jefferson set an NFL record for receiving yards in the first two seasons of a career with 3,016 yards. Reagor has 695 yards.

"We expected more from Jalen at this point," Roseman said. "We had the chance to sit down with him after the season, and have an honest conversation about the things he needs to develop."

But Sirianni also said Reagor heads into 2022 as the No. 3 receiver, behind DeVonta Smith, the 2021 first-round pick who led the Eagles in both receptions (64) and yards (916); and Quez Watkins, who was taken in the sixth round in 2020, or 179 picks after Reagor.

That doesn't rule out upgrading at wide receiver, either via trade or free agency considering the Eagles' overall youth at the position.

"Are we always going to look to add talent to the group, and playmakers to the group?" Sirianni said. "Of course. But I like where we sit right now as the wide receiver group."

Notice the words "right now."

3. Eagles still building

The Eagles aren't satisfied with making the playoffs in Year 1 under Sirianni.

Sure, it was an accomplishment, especially after a 2-5 start. But Roseman said the goal is to become an elite team as opposed to making the playoffs as the final seed.

In the past, Roseman said he would try to add a player or two hoping to remain as a Super Bowl contender. That philosophy changed after the debacle in 2020 when the Eagles went 4-11-1.

Roseman said it's still that way now, despite the playoff berth.

"Until you’re really talking about a team that is hosting home playoff games and getting the 1 and 2 seed, you’re in building mode," Roseman said.

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4. Strategy with first-round picks

Roseman said something interesting about the Eagles' three first-round picks. For the record, those picks are No. 15 overall (from Indianapolis), No. 16 (from Miami) and No. 19 (their own):

Roseman said it's possible that he could trade one of those first-round picks for a first-rounder in 2023.

"I think because of the amount of picks we have in this draft, maybe even getting picks for 2023 and getting in a situation similar to this year where we have a lot of picks, would have a lot of value," Roseman said.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to pass as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett (96) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) apply pressure during an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to pass as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett (96) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) apply pressure during an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

5. What about stalwart veterans?

In October, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox admitted that the Eagles looked into trading him.

Roseman wouldn't definitively say that Cox will return. Cox is coming off one of his worst seasons with just 3½ sacks.

"It’s our job to listen to everything and to see if there are ways to improve our team," Roseman said about Cox. "Fletch knew what was going on (in October) ... He’s a guy that was a big part of the success that we’ve had. He can continue to take over games and be an incredible player. And we expect more of that going forward."

As for right guard Brandon Brooks, Roseman wouldn't comment on reports that Brooks will retire. Brooks suffered a pectoral muscle strain in Week 2 and didn't return. Roseman said the goal was to make sure that Brooks is healthy.

Roseman was more definitive on defensive end Brandon Graham returning. Graham, 33, tore his Achilles in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season.

"We do see a role for him going forward," Roseman said. "We’re excited to get him back for next year. He’s a huge part of our football team."

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Eagles' Howie Roseman: Jalen Hurts is QB, but criticizes Jalen Reagor

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