Jets starting Joe Flacco at QB vs. Dolphins, which helps the Eagles

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Jets' surprising QB decision helps Eagles' draft pick watch originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Now we have another AFC quarterback whose playing time we have to keep a close eye on.

While Carson Wentz approaches the 75 percent plateau that turns the 2nd-round pick the Eagles’ acquired from the Colts into a 1st-round pick, Joe Flacco’s playing time now becomes a factor for the 2022 draft as well.

Flacco, who the Eagles traded to the Jets three weeks ago, will start against the Dolphins Sunday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported Wednesday.

The Eagles traded Flacco to the Jets on Oct. 26 for a conditional 6th-round pick that can become a 5th-round pick based on playing time.

How much playing time? NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro learned from a league source Wednesday that Flacco needs to play at least 50 percent of the snaps in four games for the condition to trigger. 

So if Flacco plays well enough to keep the job and Zach Wilson’s knee injury lingers for a few more weeks, the Eagles will be in luck.

How big would a 5th-round pick be? The Eagles drafted Trent Cole, Brent Celek, Calvin Williams, Riley Cooper, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Dion Lewis and Wendell Smallwood in the 5thround. Their best 6th-rounders have been Jason Kelce and Quez Watkins, but after that you have to go back to Andy Harmon in 1991. 

So while they’re both long-shot rounds, picking in the 5th round definitely gives you a better chance to hit on an impact player than the 6th.

Wilson, the rookie 1st-round pick from BYU, has missed the last three games with a knee injury he suffered Oct. 24 against the Patriots. Mike White finished that game and started the next three, although Josh Johnson finished the Colts game after White hurt his arm and threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns. White threw four interceptions last week against the Bills, so now Flacco will become the Jets’ fourth quarterback in their last five games.

Flacco, 36, is in his 14th season. He’s 96-67 in his career but 6-15 since 2018, including an 0-4 record in four starts with the Jets last year. The Eagles signed him in March, and he was Jalen Hurts’ backup the first six weeks of the season before they traded him and promoted Gardner Minshew to No. 2.

Flacco was 33-for-50 (66 percent) for 449 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and a 106.2 passer rating in the preseason for the Eagles but did not play a snap in the regular season.

Wentz has played 661 of a possible 666 snaps for the Colts, who are averaging 62.6 plays per game. Based on the Colts’ projected 1,064 plays this year, Wentz would need to play another 132 snaps to turn that 2nd-round pick into a 1st-rounder.

The Eagles currently have 10 picks in next year’s draft. Potentially three in the 1st-round, one each in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds and then three in the 5th round and the Flacco pick in either the 5th or 6th round.

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