The Jacksonville Jaguars are set at quarterback with Trevor Lawrence, opening the door to a Gardner Minshew trade this summer. With teams always in need of help at quarterback, there should be no shortage of interest.
There’s plenty of incentive for another club to take a chance on Minshew. The former sixth-round pick has already demonstrated he can play at a high level, protecting the football and making enough plays for his team to compete. More importantly, his contract is extremely friendly in a year when the NFL salary cap dropped.
- Gardner Minshew contract: $897,721 cap hit in 2021, $1.012 million cap hit in 2022
Ordinarily, a quarterback like Minshew wouldn’t be available. But Urban Meyer brought in C.J. Beathard as his backup quarterback and the organization is high on Jake Luton. As a result, the door is open for arguably the best backup quarterback in the NFL to be dealt.
Let’s examine four ideal Gardner Minshew trade destinations.
Gardner Minshew traded to the Tennessee Titans
On the surface, this might seem like a strange move. Tennessee is taking a win-now approach this offseason and using draft capital on a No. 2 quarterback might seem wasteful. But the Titans are a volatile team. If Ryan Tannehill suffers a significant injury, Tennessee would be forced to start either DeShone Kizer or Logan Woodside.
Minshew would change the dynamic completely. If Tannehill was ever forced to sit multiple games, Tennessee could feel extremely confident in Minshew taking over. He’d have no problem getting the football out quickly to Julio Jones and AJ Brown. Plus, he’d be comfortable doing some RPOs. For the cost of a fifth-round pick, maybe with the condition it becomes a 2022 fourth-round selection if Minshew starts, Tennessee lands insurance behind Tannehill.
New York Giants challenge Daniel Jones
The New York Giants are going out of their way to make Daniel Jones pan out as their franchise quarterback. They had an opportunity to draft a more talented passer in the 2021 NFL Draft and passed. New York’s commitment to him could pay off, but it’s worth finding an alternative if Jones doesn’t improve.
- Daniel Jones stats (2019-’20): 62.2% completion rate, 5,970 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 6.6 ypa, 221.1 yards/game, 84.1 passer rating in 27 games
- Gardner Minshew stats (2019-’20): 62.9% completion rate, 5,530 passing yards, 37 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 6.9 ypa, 240.4 yards/game, 93.1 passer rating in 23 games
Neither quarterback has been dealt the best hand in their first two seasons, but Minshew has certainly provided more value and turned the football over less. New York would also go crazy for the arrival of “Minshew Mania” and some legitimate competition in training camp might bring the best out of Jones. For the cost of a fifth-round pick, that’s easily worth it.
Carolina Panthers create a backup plan for contention
The Carolina Panthers have the weapons necessary for an outstanding offense. Joe Brady is one of the NFL’s youngest and brightest coaching minds. Christian McCaffrey is an offensive weapon unlike any other and the receiving corps with DJ Moore, Robby Anderson< Terrace Marshall Jr. and David Moore is strong. It’s all going to come down to quarterback play.
Sam Darnold deserves the first shot, largely because of what Carolina moved for him. But there’s a realistic possibility that he just isn’t a consistent NFL quarterback. If that’s the case, Carolina’s offense would be wasted if P.J. Walker is the starter. Minshew can bring more to this offense than Teddy Bridgewater did and might give Carolina an outside shot at a wild-card spot.
Gardner Minshew traded to Indianapolis Colts
If Carson Wentz plays 75% of the snaps this season or 70% and reaches the NFL Playoffs, the Indianapolis Colts must send their first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. While there’s an outcome that involves Wentz being worth the cost, it’s not the likeliest end result. A Gardner Minshew trade is a great way to put an insurance plan on this team and its draft pick.
Minshew is much better than Jacob Eason and would have zero trouble operating efficiently in a run-heavy offense. He boasts enough arm talent to take some deep shots and has the accuracy to help Michael Pittman Jr. and TY Hilton make plays. Theoretically, the Colts could send Jacksonville two future fifth-round picks for Minshew. If Wentz can’t turn his career around late in the year, Indianapolis has a viable option who it can start without claims that a move was made purely to protect the first-round pick.