The Jaguars and Eagles engaged in an interesting trade early Saturday, when Jacksonville sent third-year quarterback Gardner Minshew to Philadelphia for a conditional sixth-round pick.
Minshew garnered 12 and eight starts for the Jaguars in 2019 and ’20, respectively, compiling an overall record of 7-13 (which helps explain why Jacksonville picked Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft). For his career, Minshew has completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 5,530 yards and 37 touchdowns to 11 interceptions.
Why then, would the Jaguars move him? Even if new coach Urban Meyer is all in on Lawrence as his starter, Minshew could have been a backup with valuable starting experience if called into action in a pinch. Moreover, why did the Eagles trade for him considering Jalen Hurts is the presumed starter, while Joe Flacco has looked impressive as a backup?
Sporting News breaks down the trade, and how it makes sense for both teams:
When the Eagles announced they had traded for Minshew, they also unofficially revealed why they made him the third quarterback on the team: They have also released third-stringer quarterback Nick Mullens.
Mullens did not play particularly well in the preseason for the Eagles, just two-and-a-half months after signing a one-year deal with the team after entering free agency via the 49ers. (He was set to be a restricted free agent, but San Francisco did not extend an offer to him, allowing him to sign with any team). His play clearly didn’t engender confidence from coach Nick Sirianni.
WIth Flacco signing a one-year, $3.5 million deal for the 2020 season, Philadelphia would have needed to re-sign him or another quarterback for depth purposes in 2022. Minshew has two years remaining on his, however, setting him up as a longer-term backup in Philly.
According to John Clark of NBC Sports Philly, the Eagles’ trade for Minshew was a depth move made with the knowledge that COVID-19 is still an ongoing issue for several teams, with an additional regular-season game to take into account:
Source confirms Eagles have traded for QB Gardner Minshew
I’m told Jalen Hurts is the starter, Eagles like Joe Flacco, and have made this trade for depth at QB with a 17 game season and Covid times pic.twitter.com/xuVtUWAQGm
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 28, 2021
The question then becomes, why did Jacksonville trade Minshew? It’s possible Meyer didn’t want to create a situation where some players were still in Minshew’s camp while Lawrence got more game-ready (the Dolphins faced a similar situation in 2020 with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa). That said, it’s clear Lawrence’s ceiling is considerably higher, and he would have overtaken Minshew for the starting position anyway, regardless.
Since Meyer is all in on Lawrence, he likely traded Minshew — who couldn’t take advantage of the preseason “competition” — so he could use the ensuing picks to further build his team with players he selects. According to a report by Ian Rapoport, the conditional sixth-round pick could become a fifth-rounder if Minshew participates in 50 percent of snaps in at least three games. While it’s unlikely that happens with both Hurts and Flacco in front of him, it still results in picks for Meyer and Co.