NFC Notes: Sam Howell, Commanders, Jalen Hurts, Eagles, Giants


Commanders HC Ron Rivera offered some more insight into why he appears to be so high on 2022 fifth-round QB Sam Howell, who enters the offseason as the team’s No. 1 option at quarterback. Rivera pointed out it’s still a long way until Week 1 but they do think there’s a lot to like about Howell. 

“Well, I got to the conclusion based on two years of college film, studying him and paying attention to who he is as a young man,” Rivera said via the Athletic’s Ben Standig. “It’s not like, all of a sudden, after one game, he’s our starter. It’s like, let’s see what he does. Then you go, ‘Wow.’ If you watch the season he had in his (sophomore) year and then realize for his (junior and final season at North Carolina), he lost three starting offensive linemen, a starting tight end, the backup tight end, two starting wide receivers and two rotational running backs that all got drafted. Think about how many players got drafted off that team, and then everybody goes, ‘Well, he had a s—-y (final) year?’ Well, yeah, because they lost several starters on the offense. So, I base that decision on film study from his final two college seasons and what we saw this past year.”

Rivera reiterated they are going to bring in competition for Howell, mentioning veteran QB Taylor Heinicke who’s a pending free agent.  

“I’m not saying he’s the starter. I’m saying he will start as the guy with the first chance, but he will have some competition,” he said. “We like Taylor. We’d like to see if we can do something to get him back. We got to go out and look and see if there’s another veteran guy we want to bring in as competition. I’m not anointing anybody. I’m just telling (Sam) this is his opportunity, but he will be challenged.”

But he also made it clear that their scope will be more limited than offseason, and they’re not going to take a big swing on a quarterback where the investment would demand that player be the starter. Translation, per Standig: Expect someone more like Saints QB Andy Dalton than Raiders QB Derek Carr.

“Well, it’s hard for me to say that, yeah, we’re going to go ahead and spend all this capital. Because if you spend this capital, that guy has to be your starter,” Rivera said. “I want to ensure that whatever we do, we do it at the right price. You don’t want to spend draft and player capital and money and then sit there and say (this hypothetical QB) is competing. That’s where we have to be smart and careful. You have to have the right sense and feeling.”


  • CBS Sports Analyst and former agent Joel Corry notes the Eagles’ extension for former QB Carson Wentz could serve as a blueprint for their upcoming talks with QB Jalen Hurts.
  • Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million deal that contained an NFL record for guaranteed money and made him the fourth-highest-paid quarterback. A similar deal for Hurts would be north of Cardinals QB Kyler Murray‘s $46 million a year and at least $125 million fully guaranteed, with more than $165 million in total guarantees, per Corry. 
  • He adds Hurts’ agent could even make a case for Hurts to be the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback based on the precedent the Ravens set with Joe Flacco after he won the Super Bowl. 
  • Corry notes a major discussion point will be the length of the deal, with Hurts camp likely pushing for a four-year extension to allow him another chance to cash in as the cap grows. The Eagles would prefer five years to give them maximum cap flexibility. 
  • Traditionally the Eagles have been proactive in getting these extensions done early, and Corry points out they’ll have extra incentive to get the deal done before other quarterback extensions this offseason push the bar higher. 
  • Eagles WR DeVonta Smith called Hurts the hardest worker he’s been around: “I consider myself a hard worker, but I don’t know anybody that works harder. That guy, he takes it to another level.” (Josh Tolentino)


  • The Athletic’s Charlotte Carroll highlights Giants S Julian Love as the team’s top pending free agent this offseason outside the two obvious headliners. He had a breakout season as a starter and is developing into a team leader. 
  • Carroll notes the two sides have had contract discussions and Love wants to stay in New York but the two sides haven’t found a number they can agree on yet. 
  • Giants WR Darius Slayton and CB Fabian Moreau outplayed expectations in New York this past season but Carroll expects them to end up signing elsewhere as the team retools its roster. 
  • Both Giants centers Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates are pending free agents. Carroll thinks the team will be able to bring back Gates at an affordable rate and would prioritize him over Feliciano given he’s younger. 
  • Western Kentucky DT Brodric Martin highlighted his meeting with the Giants at Shrine Bowl as one that went well. (Ryan Fowler)
  • Eastern Carolina QB Holton Ahlers has met with the Giants. He participated in both the Hula Bowl and NFLPA Bowl and was the MVP of both games. (Ryan Fowler)

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