Instant analysis: Why did the Eagles trade for Gardner Minshew?

NFL: AUG 14 Preseason – Browns at Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, FL – AUGUST 14: Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Gardner Minshew II (15) during the preseason game between the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 14, 2021 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

Just as you thought the Eagles had finalized the QB picture, Howie Roseman thought it was time to induce some Minshew Mania. Philadelphia have traded for young Jags QB Gardner Minshew, according to Adam Schaefer, giving up a 2022 sixth-round pick for his services.

The pick could become a fifth-rounder if he ends up playing 50% of snaps in 3 games in 2021. In a corresponding move, Nick Mullens has been released, meaning that the Eagles will go into the regular season with a trio of Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, and Gardner Minshew.

This comes on the back of a highly disappointing preseason from former Niners QB Nick Mullens. Despite a slight uptick in production against the Jets last night, he played awfully in the two games beforehand and slowed down after a strong start to camp. The need for a strong developmental arm behind Jalen Hurts is a large one and Mullens simply didn’t show enough to warrant keeping around.

What are the Eagles getting in Gardner Minshew that they’re not in Mullens?

He was drafted in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft, having previously played alongside Andre Dillard at Washington State.

Gardner Minshew would work behind both Josh Dobbs and Nick Foles as a rookie, but be given the starting reins after an injury to Foles forced the hands of the Jags. He ended up winning six of his twelve starts that year, throwing for 3,271 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, completing 60% of his passes. He also rushed for 344 yards.

Minshew’s rise to prominence was beyond exciting and prompted the team to trade Foles to Chicago, safe in the knowledge that they have something in the second-year signal-caller.

He started out the 2020 season hot with a win over the Colts, but it would only get colder from then on. The Jags failed to win another game and a thumb fracture in week 7 cut his season to just nine games. His completion percentage did rise to 66%, and his 16-5 TD/INT ratio was impressive.

But with a shot to rejuvenate their franchise in a huge way, the Jags selected Trevor Lawrence in this year’s NFL Draft, pushing Minshew’s hopes of regaining his starting role all the way back down. What also didn’t help is that while Minshew had a pretty average preseason, throwing 196 yards and a pair of picks through the opening 2 games, C.J Beathard had an much better one, tossing three touchdowns and no picks in the Same span.

This made Minshew expendable to Jacksonville, but attainable for an Eagles team who had watched Nick Mullens struggle to show anything remotely close to Minshew’s slightly disappointing preseason.

It’s clear that Gardner Minshew still has a really high upside as a potential game manager who still have a couple of years left on his rookie deal. The Eagles still have a clear intent to keep the QB Factory churning and the same thought process was displayed when signing Mullens in the first place. Minshew is a great candidate to learn under Joe Flacco as someone with the perfect blend of size, athleticism, and football IQ to develop into a player who could manage Nick Sirianni’s offense in a pinch.

For the price of a conditional sixth-round pick, the acquisition of a proven young leader at the position is an absolute bargain. Minshew will get to learn away from the spotlight potentially become the heir to the QB2 throne behind Jalen Hurts.

What a way to start the weekend!

Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)