Philadelphia Eagles Report: Gardner Minshew drew trade interest after all

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Heading into the offseason, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles was the future of backup quarterback Gardner Minshew.

A sixth-round pick out of Washington State back in 2019 who infamously was the first quarterback off the board after Howie Roseman selected Houston Gamblers signal-caller Clayton Thorson, Minshew went from starting quarterback in Jacksonville to clear QB2 behind Jalen Hurts, and despite his best efforts, that apparently wasn’t going to change no matter what he did, as Nick Sirianni reportedly told the enigmatic signal-caller.

This, understandably, probably wasn’t what Minshew wanted to hear. While his Jaguars were never very good, winning just seven games over his tenure with the team, Minshew was far from the team’s biggest problem, or a problem at all, really – his stats were objectively solid during his run in the Sunshine State, with his 62.9 completion percentage and 37-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio particularly standing out.

So, with no clear path to the starting lineup and a potential market for his services, many an outside observer assumed that the Eagles would attempt to flip Minshew, who they acquired for a sixth-round pick, for a similar asset.

But then… nothing. Free agency came and went without a veteran signal-caller signed up to a new contract, and even as quarterbacks like Sam Howell slid from potential first-round picks into Day 3, the Eagles opted to hold onto Minshew, with their only additions coming from the UDFA market in ex-Nevada pocket passer Carson Strong.

What gives? Was there even less interest in the Minshew Mania Roadshow than there was for quarterbacks like Malik Wilson, Matt Corral, or even Bailey Zappe, or did the Philadelphia Eagles simply shoot down any trade talks before they could go through a la their reported dismissal of a Chuck Clark-Jalen Reagor trade? Fortunately, ESPN’s senior NFL Reporter Jeremy Fowler swooped in with the details on that very subject; details that may just tip the team’s hand.

Did the Philadelphia Eagles intentionally hold onto Gardner Minshew?

On Monday, Jeremy Fowler sent minor shockwaves through Philadelphia Eagles’ social media when he reported that the team had discussions about bringing home Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to back up Jalen Hurts before opting to stick with their current tandem of Gardner Minshew and Carson Strong.

If you’re chronically or even casually online, you certainly saw this aggregated and probably have an opinion on the matter too, but to me at least, the biggest story was Folwer’s follow up, which added that the Eagles did draw genuine trade interest for Minshew over the offseason but opted to hold onto him for one reason or another heading into the summer.

Very interesting indeed.

So what gives? Why would the Eagles opt to keep Minshew and avoid signing a veteran backup like Foles or someone else to both push Hurts in his third summer with the team and serve as a valuable resource for the OklaBama pass thrower?

Two theories come to mind. First and foremost, maybe the Eagles just really like Minshew. They liked him enough to trade for him last summer, he has almost a full calendar year in Nick Sirianni’s scheme, and thus, maybe the team simply felt that keeping him in the QB2 spot, even for just one more season, made more sense than paying up for a “better” backup like Teddy Bridgewater, or Mitch Trubisky.

And then there’s the more cynical, chess-not-checkers idea that feels less likely but is possible too; the Sam Bradford method, if you will. Maybe Howie Roseman was simply underwhelmed with the offers he received for Minshew’s services and thought it better to keep him around as a sort of living trade chip should a team’s starting quarterback suffer a season-ending injury. While Minshew isn’t the “best” quarterback theoretically available via trade, as the San Francisco 49ers desperately want to move noted Subway salesman Jimmy Gorappolo, he’s owed just $2.54 million this season and thus could be snuck onto pretty much any roster NFL-wide. If a team with an uber-expensive quarterback suffers a season-ending injury, Minshew suddenly becomes a potential season-saving trade target and thus might draw an inflated price tag from a general manager with few other options.

Now granted, the Eagles would then need to scramble for a backup quarterback, as for all of the hype Carson Strong has received for his very limited action in a midnight green uniform, he’s probably not ready to be a QB2 just yet, as a few interesting options like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton, and Brett Hundley are still available, so that isn’t as potentially catastrophic as one might think.

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Will we ever really know why Gardner Minshew is still a member of the Philadelphia Eagles on this, the penultimate Monday of the month of May? Probably not; unless Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni, or the player himself let it slide as a fun little anecdote at some point in the future, this will probably go down as a very minor “what if” in the long and storied franchise legacy. But hey, at least we now know fairly definitively that Minshew did draw some interest earlier this year and may remain an in-demand trade target for the remainder of his contract, which is very interesting indeed.