This just in: The Jacksonville Jaguars will more than likely be taking Trevor Lawrence with the number one overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Shocking, right?
However, the addition of Lawrence creates a logjam in the QB room with three signal callers vying for two spots. Mike Glennon is now a New York Giant, which leaves Jake Luton, the recently signed CJ Beathard, and Gardner Minshew. Beathard signed with Jacksonville on a two-year, five-million dollar deal with guarantees. Those guarantees almost certainly mean that Beathard will more than likely be the backup. I think Luton will keep that third string job, which leaves Minshew as the odd man out.
The reason Minshew is the odd man out is mainly because he has more value than Jake Luton. Minshew has played in 23 games and started 20 of them, while throwing 37 touchdowns. He’s also 24 years old, and still on a rookie contract. The Jaguars probably won’t be challenging for Super Bowls within the next year or two(wishful thinking though!), and need to accumulate all of the picks they possibly can in order to stock for the future.
Let me say this, however: if a team trades for Gardner Minshew, it won’t be because Minshew will be their starter who can lead them to the promised land. There seems to be some sort of revisionist history surrounding Minshew’s tumultuous 2020 campaign, where his level of play statistically looked fine on the surface level. However, when you look at his EPA per play, it was 0.092, putting him the the vaunted QB room of...Teddy Bridgewater, Mitch Trubisky, and 39 year old Ben Roethlisberger. His completion percentage over expectation is actually top ten in the NFL from the past year, but he was also throwing the ball about 8 air yards, putting him at around league average. What I’m trying to say here is that Minshew might put up high completion percentages, but looking back over the film he didn’t elevate his play to keep the Jaguars in games when the talent was very bad. In order for him to be successful, a lot of things have to go right for him, things such as a very good offensive line which can mask his limited physical attributes such as arm strength.
Now what would the Jaguars possibly get in a Minshew trade? It varies. Because he’s a young QB still on a rookie contract with 20 starts under his belt, he could net something valuable. However, I think most teams see what the Jaguars saw, and know that Minshew isn’t a guy who will elevate a team. A potential trade could be somewhat like the trade the Colts executed for Jacoby Brissett in 2017. Brissett was on a rookie contract and had two games of experience under his belt in New England when he was traded. What did the Patriots get in return? WR Phillip Dorsett. The Miami Dolphins traded for QB Josh Rosen after a disappointing year in Arizona, and sent the Cardinals a second round pick in the 2019 draft and a fifth round pick in the 2020 draft.
If I were to guess, if the Jaguars were to trade Minshew before the NFL Draft in April, they could possibly get a deal somewhere in the Rosen area. A pick in the upcoming draft (I’m guessing a late Day 2-Early Day 3 pick) and possibly a future draft pick (definitely a Day 3 pick) could be the value the Jaguars get for Minshew, solely because he’s still young and on a valuable contract. He was better than Rosen was when he was traded, and does have experience as a starter or a spot backup.
Ok, so we got the trade numbers out of the way, let’s take a guess at what teams could possibly make the trade for Minshew:
The Jaguars and Bears have done business with QBs before(hello, Nick Foles) and it still looks like the Bears are in the QB market. They signed Andy Dalton to a one year, $10 million fully guranteed contract, and let Mitch Trubisky walk in free agency, but they could still be looking to add to their QB room. I don’t think they’re high enough in the draft to get a QB that way, and this year’s crop after the top five QBs takes a massive drop off in talent. Minshew would come in and be a cheap option that could push for the starting spot, and if he doesn’t get the starting gig, he’d be better than the backup.
QB Gardner Minshew
2021 4th round pick
2022 6th round pick
I don’t think the Broncos are satisfied with Drew Lock as the QB of the future. He makes too many mistakes, and GM John Elway could be in the market to get a new signal caller. Again, I doubt they’ll be able to move any higher than the ninth pick to get the top four QBs. Minshew doesn’t make mistakes, and while he won’t elevate a team to contender status, he sure won’t be as heavy of a drawback as Lock is. Behind Lock are Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien, and I’m not sure how excited the Broncos have to be about that. Minshew could slot right in and be a potential starter or backup on a team that may not be able to draft a QB early.
QB Gardner Minshew
2021 3rd round pick
2022 7th round pick
San Francisco 49ers
So the 49ers are in a bit of a quandry here. They sit with the 12th pick overall and-oh wait, they traded up? Right in the middle of writing this story? Furiously tries to delete everything I said.
Alright let’s get weird! The Panthers sit with the eighth overall pick in this years draft, but with the way that the NFL Draft trades have shaken out today, they could end up as the odd man out in the QB sweepstakes. Teddy Bridgewater was just paid a hefty contract, but nothing about his play was inspiring last year. Not to say Minshew’s play was setting the world on fire, but in a spread out, up-tempo offense that Panthers OC Joe Brady wants to run, Minshew could be more successful.
QB Gardner Minshew
2021 6th round pick
With the NFL Draft on the horizon, most teams roster spots could be filling up really fast, really soon. The Jaguars would have to make a trade to get Minshew out of Jacksonville quick if it were to happen. One of the teams rumored to be making this trade is now going to be picking top 3, and if the Jaguars want to maximize the value of Minshew right now, they have to make a trade.