Gardner Minshew trade paves the way for CJ Beathard

Jaguars quarterbacks (15) Gardner Minshew II and (3) C.J. Beathard at TIAA Bank Field (Imagn Images photo pool)
Jaguars quarterbacks (15) Gardner Minshew II and (3) C.J. Beathard at TIAA Bank Field (Imagn Images photo pool) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars could afford to trade quarterback Gardner Minshew because they have C.J. Beathard on the roster. 

Back in March, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed quarterback C.J. Beathard even though they already had Gardner Minshew on the roster. Looking back, it looks like the team’s brass was preparing to eventually part ways with the 2019 sixth-round pick.

Although head coach Urban Meyer said the team liked Minshew and they didn’t plan to trade him, it made sense to explore a potential deal. After all, the former Cougar has appeared in 23 games with 20 starts. That kind of production will always be coveted in the NFL, where the demand for competent quarterbacks outweighs the demand.

The Jaguars surely expected more for Minshew but they couldn’t justify keeping him any longer, so they traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round selection that can become a fifth if he plays more than 50 percent of the plays in three games in 2021. With Minshew out of the picture, Beathard will now be the primary backup quarterback behind Trevor Lawrence.

Is C.J. Beathard objectively better than Gardner Minshew?

Maybe not, but Minshew was no longer in the team’s long-term plans. Keep in mind that the regime that drafted him was no longer in place and Urban Meyer has spent the offseason bringing in his guys. He already moved on from players he inherited such as tight end Josh Oliver and cornerback Josiah Scott. Thus, the decision to part ways with Minshew isn’t shocking.

Since 2017, Beathard has appeared in 19 games with 12 starts. In that span, he’s completed 291 passes for 497 yards and 3,469 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Those numbers aren’t eye-popping but the truth is that the Jaguars don’t expect the Iowa product to start. Rather, he will be Trevor Lawrence’s backup.

Minshew has better career numbers but Beathard has had the better preseason, completing 22 of 30 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Beathard is almost three years older than Minshew and the case can be made the latter has a bigger ceiling but Lawrence is the starter moving forward, so it didn’t make much sense to keep him around.

If Lawrence lives up to his draft billing and avoids major injury, C.J. Beathard won’t have to step foot on the football field. Nevertheless, the Jaguars expect him to do a good job if he has to. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have traded Minshew to the Eagles.

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