With two preseason games completed, we’ve learned a lot about the Eagles. One of these “discoveries” is something many probably had suspicions about, and it was all but confirmed- the backup quarterback room is horrendous.
Joe Flacco and Nick Mullins are far from starting caliber quarterbacks. The former started out well in his preseason debut, going 10/17 with one touchdown. However, while he had the same completion line in game two, his rating dipped from 114.3 to 46.9. Flacco had several bad throws that prevented the Eagles from putting together any meaningful drives.
Meanwhile, Mullins has thrown away (literally) every chance he’s had to earn a roster spot. In his two games, he’s gone 6/15 with no touchdowns and three interceptions. His average pass goes for 1.7 yards, and he’s also sporting a rating of 8.35. Keep in mind these numbers are coming against second and third stringers.
Flacco has earned the QB2 title by default. The Eagles bizarrely gave him $3.5 million guaranteed despite his lackluster 2020 season.
Still, that hasn’t deter calls from fans for Philadelphia to make a trade for another quarterback.
Across the league, there are two names who stick out. The first is Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. The jorts-wearing slinger has found himself in a backup role following the selection of Trevor Lawrence, and many have speculated he could be dealt before the season.
Minshew is making much less than Flacco ($850,000 in 2021) and also has another year on his contract. The additional cheap control could be intriguing to some teams.
The second is one who should be plenty familiar- Chicago’s Nick Foles. Foles finds himself in a much more crowded situation than Minshew, with him stuck behind Justin Fields and Andy Dalton.
Foles is the much likelier of the two to be traded, although he comes with a higher salary in 2021 ($4 million) than either Flacco or Minshew.
So, two decent quarterbacks who could step in and take the reins in an emergency. Which should the Birds go for? The answer is a clear neither.
The Eagles Should Run With Jalen Hurts In 2021, No Matter How Bad It Gets
Not only should the Eagles not worry about the backup quarterback situation, they should forget about it entirely. Having Hurts be the guy without bringing in anyone notable should be the course the team continues to take.
Bringing in Minshew or Foles could be disastrous for Jalen Hurts’ confidence if he struggles just once. In the case of Foles, he’s beloved in this city. Fans would be clamoring for him to start the minute Hurts throws an interception, just as they did with Carson Wentz a couple seasons back.
Even if Hurts struggles with just Flacco as his backup, Philadelphia shouldn’t consider trading for someone or sending Flacco in. There’s a number of reasons to support this thinking.
First, the fact of the matter is that Flacco, Minshew, or Foles wouldn’t elevate the team like Hurts might be able to do. It would essentially be a lateral move.
Additionally, trading valuable resources just wouldn’t make sense to remain mediocre, especially when you’ve already committed money to Flacco.
Secondly, Hurts taking steps back could provide silver linings for the Eagles. Not only will they know they need a new future QB, but they’ll also be set up well in the 2022 draft (because if Hurts sucks, the assumption is that they’ll once again have a top-10 pick). They could have three first round picks, and they’ll have a plethora of options as to what to do with them.
While both Foles and Minshew are better than Flacco, the possible unintended consequence that come along with them aren’t worth it. For better or worse, the QB tandem of Hurts and Flacco will be the one to make or break the Eagles in 2021.