QB Gardner Minshew must remain on the Jaguars roster in 2021

Quarterback Gardner Minshew of the Jacksonville Jaguars #15 (Imagn Images photo pool)
Quarterback Gardner Minshew of the Jacksonville Jaguars #15 (Imagn Images photo pool) /

Trevor Lawrence is set to be the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting quarterback in 2021. Although analyst Chris Simms of NBC Sports recently ranked the Clemson standout as just the 28th best quarterback in the NFL, he has the potential to quickly move up the list. With Lawrence at the helm, the Jags are set at quarterback but Gardner Minshew II is also a valuable commodity and must stay in Jacksonville this upcoming season.

Minshew has recently made news because of his looks but he appeared out of nowhere as a rookie and started 12 games for the Jags in 2019. That year, the team signed Nick Foles, fresh off winning Super Bowl 52. However, the 2012 third-round pick proved to be ineffective and was quickly benched. The Washington State product then took up the reins and went on to throw 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Minshew was given the chance to keep the starting quarterback for good in 2020 but wasn’t able to recreate his magic.

The former Cougar struggled early in the season. He later suffered a thumb injury and missed a couple of games. He would start one more game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5 but he didn’t do much of note. Even though Minshew was hardly responsible for the Jaguars’ 1-15 record in 2020, he showed he wasn’t the long-term solution at quarterback, which prompted Jacksonville to draft Lawrence with the top pick in this year’s selection meeting.

Why do the Jacksonville Jaguars need to keep Gardner Minshew?

As long as Lawrence doesn’t have a full collapse and stays healthy, Minshew won’t see the football field in 2021. With the former Tiger firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback, the Jags could consider the possibility of dealing Minshew before the start of the regular season. Teams inquired about his availability before the draft. There have been no reports about a potential trade but there should still be interest in him around the league.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t make much sense to deal Minshew at this point of the offseason. The most the Jags will probably get for the quarterback is a fourth-round pick, which isn’t the kind of compensation you want in exchange for a valuable player. Minshew has started games and is still on his rookie deal. He won’t become a free agent until 2023, so he’s a top backup quarterback with a pretty affordable cap hit.

Half the league would love to have someone like Minshew on the roster. Both Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick signed pretty lucrative deals this offseason and they are far from what you would call franchise quarterbacks. Minshew isn’t as experienced as either Dalton and Fitzpatrick but he’s younger and may not have reached his ceiling yet.

Last season, the Jaguars were a bad team all around, and that might’ve hindered Gardner Minshew’s growth. With a new coaching staff in place, the third-year quarterback could continue developing. He would no longer have a chance to start but he could continue working on his craft behind the scenes. The team’s brass should feel pretty good about the state of the quarterback position entering the 2021 NFL regular season.

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