December 05, 2021
Gardner Minshew will reportedly start for the Philadelphia Eagles against the very, very bad New York Jets on Sunday. There's a decent chance he'll be effective, as many others have been against the Jets this season, seeing as their defense has allowed a cumulative passer rating of 107.0 to opposing quarterbacks, worst in the NFL.
If Minshew plays well, you can be certain that there will be talk of a "quarterback controversy" between him and Jalen Hurts, especially with the Eagles enjoying some rest on their bye next week. When the Eagles play their next game against Washington on December 19th, Hurts will almost certainly be the starter again as long as he's healthy. In other words, brace for two weeks of pointless debate, friends. I mean, not that I'm complaining — I'll need content for the long gap in between games. 😉
However, the reality is that no matter what happens against the Jets, the quarterback debate that actually matters is who will have the job in 2022 and beyond, not the rest of 2021. The combatants for that role in 2022 will still be Hurts vs. some other option not currently on the roster, with the latter seemingly in the lead.
Minshew is not in that discussion, or at least he shouldn't be. Yes, Jacksonville selected Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft which ended any hope of Minshew remaining the Jags' starter, but most Jaguars observers would also tell you that C.J. Beathard was outperforming him during training camp and the preseason for the backup job. We're talking about a player here who was likely going to be the No. 3 quarterback of a 2-9 team.
He is a fun player to watch, at times. He has good pocket presence and is crafty when escaping pressure and making off-schedule plays. He has also become known as a fun personality off the field, and a competitive player on it. But ultimately, he's short, he doesn't possess ideal athleticism, and his arm talent is nowhere near the level of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
Minshew does have appeal. He has another year left on his contract, and he's cheap. His salary in 2021 was $850,000. In 2022, it is scheduled to be $965,000, though that will get bumped up some on a "proven performance escalator," but will still be quite inexpensive relative to other backups capable of winning games. That's his value.
There will perhaps be some things we can glean from this game, such as how much the passing attack is helped by a more traditional passing quarterback, and how much more ineffective it could be in the run game with Hurts on the sidelines. Getting a look at another quarterback could perhaps be valuable from a comparative standpoint when evaluating Hurts.
But, please, if the Eagles win on Sunday against a Jets team with a -135 point differential and you find yourself thinking that they should ride with Minshew in 2022 and beyond, take a deep breath... and don't. Or at least keep it to yourself. Similarly, to my media brethren, let's not hype up Minshew-Hurts as this decade's Montana-Young. Thank you for these courtesies in advance.
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