Entering in the league as a sixth-round pick, not much was expected from Gardner Minshew as a professional. Despite finishing his senior campaign as a Heisman Trophy finalist, Minshew was critiqued heavily as a draft prospect. His height and his arm talent was subject to scrutiny, and from day one he had a chip on his shoulder.
So far in his three-year career, he has exceeded all of those expectations. Stepping in for an injured Nick Foles in 2019, Gardner Minshew showed the poise and composure of an NFL veteran, despite playing for a Jaguars organization that struggled to keep their best talents. In his two years at Jacksonville, he completed 62.9 percent of his passes. He also threw 37 passing touchdowns to only 11 interceptions.
Despite his efficiency, Jacksonville decided to draft Trevor Lawrence in pursuit of a QB with a higher ceiling. They initially kept him around for “competition” during camp, but eventually, he was traded to Philadelphia.
Minshew has only started one game in 2021, but that one game showed he is still a viable quarterback. In that game, Minshew completed 80 percent of his passes and threw for 2 touchdowns against the Jets. Since then, multiple NFL teams have been clamoring for his services.
Gardner’s Current Stock
Teams passed on the chance to give him a shot last season, but that probably won’t happen in 2022. The Eagles have made things clear; they prefer Jalen Hurts, and even if they want a backup, they can find one in the draft with their three first-round picks. Philly will probably move on from Minshew once this season ends.
Even with marginal arm strength, Minshew is a smart QB who makes good decisions, has an accurate arm, and the mobility to go with it despite his 4.97 40-yard dash. Also, he’s still on his rookie deal, so the risk that comes with acquiring him is low. There are some talented signal-callers in the 2022 NFL Draft Class, but none have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
Gardner Minshew’s stock is at an all-time high heading into the 2022 offseason. Here are some teams that should take a chance on him:
It’s already been publicized that Ben Roethlisberger will leave after 2021; whether or not it’s his last NFL season, he probably won’t play in Pittsburgh ever again. The time is now for the Steelers to get younger at QB, and Minshew serves as an option.
Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are the team’s other quarterbacks, and neither of those guys have performed as well as Minshew has in the league. This offense is full of young talent with guys like Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Pat Freiermuth. An efficient QB like Gardner Minshew can take advantage of the tools you give him.
Adding Minshew would put Pittsburgh in a position to address their other team needs in the draft; strengthening their secondary, adding to their LB core, improving their O-Line depth, and so on.
As impressive as the Carolina Panthers have looked on defense, their dysfunctional offense is holding them back. The collective efforts of Cam Newton, Sam Darnold and PJ Walker leave Panther fans with much to be desired. All three QBs have completed less than 60 percent of their passes, combining for only 12 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. The players and fans have been fed up with how bad it’s gotten in Carolina.
The addition of Gardner Minshew could solve some of their inefficiency problems at the position. Minshew would pair up with a promising duo of receivers in DJ Moore and Robby Anderson; two players who have produced despite mediocre QB play throughout their pro careers. Christian McCaffrey, when healthy, is dangerous as a runner and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. The opportunities are endless, as long as they have a competent QB directing the ship.
While they have a high pick and could potentially draft a QB, their offensive line has been horrendous this year. Trading for Minshew would incentivize Carolina to draft an offensive lineman and focus on those needs in free agency.
Washington Football Team
Looking at Washington’s quarterback situation, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be a free agent in 2022 and Taylor Heinicke has had his ups and his downs this year. Adding Minshew into that room would create strong competition between him and Heinicke, while sending Fitzpatrick somewhere else.
Currently in the playoff picture, Washington will not have the highest spot in the draft. Even if they do end up with a high pick, they need to address the issues in their coverage unit which has allowed 27 passing touchdowns so far this year.
Hopefully, Logan Thomas and Curtis Samuel can get healthy in 2022 and add to what Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson bring to the table. If Taylor Heinicke does not continue his current stretch of good QB play, the keys to the offense would be in reliable hands with Minshew.
It appears as if the Denver Broncos are a quarterback away from being at least a playoff team. Teddy Bridgewater is on a one-year deal with the Broncos, and from what it looks like, he won’t be coming back next year. He hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been extraordinary for Denver either. As for Drew Lock, it seems as if the experiment is over. While they could draft a quarterback, having a three-year veteran on a cheaper contract would not hurt in case whoever they draft is not ready.
Examining Denver’s group of playmakers on offense, there is a lot to like. Jerry Jeudy is a sharp route-runner, Tim Patrick is a big downfield target, KJ Hamler is a burner, and you can’t forget about Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant. Javonte Williams is a bruiser, and if they keep Melvin Gordon, they have a viable one-two punch in the backfield.
Trading for Gardner Minshew would give him access to a gifted group of backs and receivers, and give them room to address their defensive front seven; a group that has suffered from a myriad of injuries and departures.
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