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Gardner Minshew trade grades: Eagles and Jaguars get high marks for 53-man roster deadline deal

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The Philadelphia Eagles pulled off one of the surprising trades as 53-man roster cutdown day is approaching. Hours after the team’s preseason finale vs. the New York Jets, Philadelphia sent a conditional 2022 sixth-round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for Gardner Minshew. The pick for Jacksonville can upgrade to a 2022 fifth-round pick if Minshew plays at least 50% of the snaps in three games this season. 

How did the Eagles and Jaguars fare in this deal? Turns out both of them accomplished their mission as the 53-man roster deadline is approaching. 

Eagles: A 

Watching Philadelphia’s backup quarterback situation this preseason was abysmal. Joe Flacco didn’t appear to be a fit in the offense and Nick Mullens struggled throughout the exhibition portion of the schedule. The Eagles couldn’t continue with Mullens on the roster, as the veteran quarterback didn’t have the zip on his throws after having elbow surgery earlier this offseason. Mullens looked if he needed more time to get his arm strength and fastball back, which is why the Eagles released him immediately after the Minshew trade was official. 

Flacco’s future is in doubt, despite the Eagles giving the former Super Bowl MVP $3.5 million guaranteed. The veteran appeared to be in line for the Eagles backup quarterback job prior to the Minshew trade, but the Eagles played him the entire first half in the preseason finale vs. the Jets — a potential showcase to other teams that need a backup quarterback. Flacco could still remain on this roster as a No. 3 quarterback, even though $3.5 million is a lot of money for a player who would be inactive most Sundays (barring injury). 

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Let’s get to Minshew, who should be the No. 2 quarterback on this roster. The resume speaks for itself. 

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Minshew completed 66.1% of his passes last season for 2,259 yards with 16 touchdowns to five interceptions, finishing with a quarterback rating of 95.9. He has started 20 games for the Jaguars over his two NFL seasons, completing 62.9% of his passes with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions (93.1 rating). Minshew is 25th in the league in completion percentage, 20th in touchdowns, and and fourth in interception percentage (1.38) since entering the league in 2019. His 93.1 passer rating is the 12th highest for a quarterback after their first two seasons (minimum 500 attempts). 

The Eagles gave up a sixth-round pick (potentially a fifth), for a quarterback that can step in if Hurts suffers an injury. Minshew’s skill set fits this offense better than Flacco and has familiarity with a key member of this front office. Former Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell joined the Eagles as a personnel executive this offseason after spending eight years leading Jacksonville’s front office. Caldwell selected Minshew in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and was instrumental in bringing him to Philadelphia. 

Improving the depth in the quarterback room is a mantra of the Eagles under general manager Howie Roseman. They accomplished that with the Minshew trade — a proven quarterback that can start in this league if needed for a Day 3 pick. 

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Jaguars: A-

Jacksonville was never going to start Minshew over Trevor Lawrence, no matter how head coach Urban Meyer tried to spin the quarterback competition this offseason. Once Lawrence was officially named the starting quarterback, Minshew was on the block. The Jaguars also signed C.J. Beathard this offseason, who elevates to the No. 2 quarterback role. They also have Jake Luton on the roster, so the quarterback room is set. 

This move was all about Lawrence, ensuring he’s the quarterback and won’t be looking over his shoulder (he shouldn’t have to anyway) in a rookie season where he’ll learn how to play in the NFL. The Jaguars are still rebuilding the roster and are looking to see what pieces fit around Lawrence as he plays all 17 games his rookie season (barring injury). Not having Travis Etienne puts a damper on developing Lawrence, but he’ll be growing in the system throughout year one. Minshew did his job of providing adequate competition for Lawrence before the formality of the No. 1 overall pick getting the starting job was his. 

Give Jacksonville credit. They drafted a quarterback in the sixth round, developed him, and got potentially a higher draft pick in return for that quarterback two years later. Of the 41 quarterbacks drafted in the sixth round or later since 2010, Minshew has been by far the most productive outside of Tyrod Taylor. Getting any draft compensation for Minshew is a win in broader terms, but could they have landed better compensation for him if they waited a few more days? Didn’t help Minshew being on the trading block was known around the league and Jacksonville was still able to land a decent Day 3 pick for him. 

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Jacksonville takes a hit at backup quarterback, but Lawrence is the franchise quarterback on a rebuilding team. The Jaguars didn’t need a premium backup quarterback on this roster. 


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