You have probably heard that the second-most important position in the NFL is backup quarterback, and that’s not hyperbole. If the starter goes down, the team will need a signal-caller that can win a few games in his absence. That’s not something the Jaguars have to worry about this upcoming season, as they have a solid backup in Gardner Minshew II.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports ranked every NFL team’s backup quarterback and the Washington State product landed at number ten, one spot ahead of Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints and one below New England Patriots rookie Mac Jones. Benjamin says that Minshew isn’t as physically gifted as other signal-callers but points out that he has never lacked poise. Moreover, he believes he will stay in Jacksonville based on the production he’s had over the last two years.
There’s no doubt Trevor Lawrence will be the Jaguars’ starting quarterback in the season opener but Minshew provides an alternative in case the former Tiger needs to leave the football field. Back in his rookie year, he completed 285 of 470 passes for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. He came crashing down last season but he wasn’t the sole reason the Jaguars went 1-15. Minshew didn’t have adequate protection and the team lacked talent at several positions. This is something Jacksonville addressed this offseason, so he may be in a better position to succeed if he had to play in relief of Lawrence.
Teams inquired about Minshew’s availability before the draft but head coach Urban Meyer said the Jags weren’t interested in dealing the former Cougar. Although it may have made sense to trade him before the selection meeting, Jacksonville is better off keeping the third-year quarterback. Minshew is not the long-term answer at the position but he’s got starting experience and the Jags won’t implode in case Trevor has to miss time.
Gardner Minshew is a luxury the Jacksonville Jaguars can’t afford to trade.
You may remember Teddy Bridgewater kept the Saints afloat and led them to a 5-0 record when Drew Bress went down with a hand injury in 2019. On the other side of the coin, you have the 2016 Las Vegas (then-Oakland) Raiders, who looked like a contender up until Derek Carr suffered a leg injury in Week 16. Then, Connor Cook took over and the Silver and Black were one and done in the playoffs.
Had the Raiders had a competent backup that year, they might’ve made some noise in 2016’s postseason. Instead, their season was effectively over as soon as Carr was out. That’s why the Jags can’t afford to lose Minshew. They need a serviceable quarterback behind Lawrence.
Minshew has said he wants to compete for a starting job but trading him may not be a realistic option at this point of the offseason. Even though there are a few fits, he’s too valuable for the Jags at this moment. The 2019 sixth-round selection is still on his rookie deal and doesn’t have much leverage to force a trade. Also, Jacksonville would most likely want more than just a late-round pick, which is what they could get in exchange for the signal-caller.
The best course of action for Gardner Minshew is to keep working hard and play at a high level in case he needs to take the field. In the meantime, the Jaguars should feel comfortable about their quarterback depth chart.