Minshew lands on list of Eagles' most important players in 2022


Over the next few weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 25 most important Eagles for the 2022 season.

25. Quez Watkins
24. Gardner Minshew

A good backup quarterback is like an insurance policy. You don’t need it until you need it.

No team understands that better than the Eagles, who watched their backup quarterback hoist the Lombardi Trophy several years ago.

Just last year, the Eagles needed Gardner Minshew to start the Jets game when Jalen Hurts was out with an ankle injury. The Eagles won that game 33-18, their first win of four straight that propelled them into the postseason.

After the win, Minshew had this legendary celebration with his father.

In that game, Minshew completed 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. His passer rating of 133.7 in that game is higher than any game of Hurts’ career. Of course, the Jets weren’t very good last year and won just four games. Hurts likely would have carved them up too.

Still, it didn’t stop Minshew from asking Nick Sirianni if there was a chance he could win the starting job. That was a query Sirianni shut down pretty quickly.

“Gardner has played a lot of football in this league,” Sirianni said in January. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. ... We always talk about wanting your backup quarterback to be able to come in and function and give you a chance to win. And we saw that. He was awesome in the game that he played against the Jets. And so I would be disappointed if Gardner didn't want to be the starter.”

Coming into 2022, there’s absolutely no quarterback controversy. This team belongs to Hurts. But that doesn’t mean Minshew isn’t important.

Minshew, 26, entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick in 2019 and has had some success. Minshew Mania took over Jacksonville during his rookie season and even after that wore off, he’s still a good player. He’s realistically a low-level starter/high-level backup in the NFL. For the Eagles, he represents an insurance policy behind Hurts on a team that wants to (and should) contend in 2022.

In his career, Minshew has completed 63.2% of his passes with 41 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 93.9. That’s the 18th-highest passer rating in the NFL among QBs with at least 20 starts.

On his recent top 40 QB list, NBC Sports’ Chris Simms ranked Minshew as the 37th-best quarterback in the NFL; Hurts came in at No. 25.

The Eagles acquired Minshew last August for a sixth-round pick. At that time, they still had Joe Flacco as their backup and didn’t need Minshew but they thought the value was too good to pass up. But when they traded Flacco to the Jets in October to recoup a sixth-rounder, they promoted Minshew to the backup spot. That’s probably an upgrade.

Could the Eagles still deal Minshew this offseason? Sure, if another team is desperate for a quarterback and is willing to give up a substantial draft pick, the Eagles would listen. But it would have to be substantial. Because Minshew is still on the final year of his rookie contract and represents a cheap and solid backup QB for a team that has serious playoff aspirations.

If all goes to plan in 2022, the Eagles will make the playoffs and they’ll do so with Minshew on the bench. But it’s never a bad idea to have a backup plan; and Minshew is a pretty good one.

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