Philadelphia Eagles: The Reid Sinnett experiment has failed

(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles are keenly aware that Gardener Minshew will not be their backup quarterback forever.

Barring a pre-season trade that ships him out of town, a mid-season elevation that sees Jalen Hurts getting Drew Bledsoe-d, and the decision to keep him around on the franchise tag at an insane number, Minshew is going to be playing elsewhere in 2023 and will be most assuredly making more than $2.54 million for his troubles.

For Minshew, this will undoubtedly be a win; he’s been sort of handed a raw deal in Philadelphia after a solid run in Jacksonville and could probably start for more than a few teams around the league right now like the Seattle Seahawks or the Cleveland Browns. Hitting the open market as a 25-year-old unrestricted free agent will allow Minshew to settle on the system he wants to play in as opposed to the other way around, and will finally afford the former sixth-round pick a chance to let his freak flag fly as he feels fit with or without his love shack bus.

And as for the Eagles? Well, they’ve tried to spend the summer finding the next Minshew, aka a reliable backup quarterback that they can develop longer-term, with Reid Sinnett earning the lion’s share of the snaps in that pursuit. If Sinnett can fill those shoes in 2023, it will be very good news, as he’ll be a restricted free agent and could earn a new deal worth pennies on Minshew’s dollar, but for that to happen, the San Diego product actually has to prove himself worthy of dressing on game days and helping the Eagles win games if called upon.

The problem? Sinnett really hasn’t shown much this summer to prove he’s capable of being that guy now, or in the medium-term either.

The Philadelphia Eagles shouldn’t expect more than a scout team QB from Reid Sinnett.

There was a time when Reid Sinnett looked like he might just mess around and make it onto the Eagles’ 53-man roster. He was lauded by the coaching staff for his arm and development and earned the brunt of the team’s preseason snaps in order to test his mettle against a variety of different players at various points in their careers.

Fortunately, any worry about Sinnett having to be stashed on the 53-man roster in order to prevent him from being stolen on the waiver wire has long passed, as Sinnett should be able to land on the practice squad and run scout team for the entire 2022 NFL season without issue.

Why? Well, because Sinnett just hasn’t looked like an NFL-caliber quarterback.

Sure, he’s occasionally hit a pass that makes fans, friends, and foes alike turn their heads, like his touchdown throw to Devon Allen versus the Browns, but he’ll just as often sail an easy out route to Grant Calcaterra or Kennedy Brooks that could have gone for a decent enough gain, or lose his place in the pocket and take some unnecessary punishment. Sinnett made multiple turnover-worthy throws throughout the season, including an absolutely brutal interception versus Miami that he failed to prevent from becoming a pick-six.

Had Sinnett been playing lights-out football in the preseason, then the decision to ride him hard would have made sense, but he just wasn’t, and the decision to consistently trot him back out onto the field despite his obvious issues while Carson Strong wasted away on the bench felt like borderline game management neglect – unless, of course, the plan is to hide Sinnett on the practice squad too, which may still prove harder than clearing Sinnett (more on that here).

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Ultimately, keeping Sinnett on the practice squad in 2022 is far from the worst possible scenario for the Eagles. He can continue to learn, continue to grow, and continue to face off against the Eagles’ first team defense in practice, which is a much better developmental exercise than standing on the bench with twos. Had he performed better, maybe this would be a real discussion, but unfortunately for Sinnett, he basically made Howie Roseman’s choice for him.