Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars could soon be headed for an unexpected divorce.
Any breakup would be unexpected only because of how well Minshew has played in two seasons. But as the Jaguars inch closer to the No. 1 overall pick and a chance to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, one has to wonder how much longer Minshew — the fan-favorite and former sixth-round pick — has in Jacksonville.
Gardner Minshew could be on the trading block next year
Two things seem certain for the Jacksonville Jaguars at this point.
First, the Jaguars are going to wind up with a very high pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Within the next few weeks, the Jaguars also seem likely to fire head coach Doug Marrone.
Both of those things could spell the end for Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville. Minshew, who is currently out with a thumb injury, completed 65.9% of his passes in the Jaguars’ first seven games for 1,855 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions.
The former sixth-round pick also ran for 122 yards and a touchdown on 4.9 yards per carry.
Minshew would make sense with some contenders
If the Jacksonville Jaguars trade Gardner Minshew, then he could easily compete for a starting job on some teams.
Here are some contending teams that should try to pursue Minshew as a starter for next year.
- Chicago Bears: Chicago is still eagerly searching for a true franchise quarterback. Minshew obviously has starting experience, and he’d be a fresh face for a team that is likely parting ways with former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky in the offseason.
- New England Patriots: Cam Newton is on a one-year deal, and it appears Jarrett Stidham isn’t the answer. Gardner Minshew and Bill Belichick would be an interesting partnership — if Belichick comes back next year, of course.
- New Orleans Saints: The next few weeks could be crucial in determining who starts for the Saints in 2021, assuming this is Drew Brees’ final season. Brees suffered an injury to his ribs in Week 10 and Jameis Winston relieved him in the victory. If Brees misses an extended period, Winston will have a chance to prove himself as the man who will eventually replace Brees.
- San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t done enough to solidify himself as the 49ers’ franchise quarterback. Minshew would be a cheap addition and someone who could thrive under Kyle Shanahan’s tutelage.
Gardner Minshew doesn’t have to be a starter
Although Gardner Minshew will only be 25 next season, some teams wouldn’t need him to compete for a long-term starting job.
Minshew makes sense as a bridge quarterback, similar to the role Kyle Allen played in Carolina last year and looked to be playing in Washington this year.
A team could acquire Minshew and bring him in to compete, either with an incumbent or a rookie quarterback. Here are some teams that fit that profile.
- Dallas Cowboys: Dallas has publicly committed to Dak Prescott, but what happens if Prescott won’t be available to start next season. Minshew is an intriguing option, albeit an unrealistic one.
- Denver Broncos: Drew Lock had a shoulder injury this year, which means he may get a slight pass for this year. But if the Broncos want to bring in another quarterback to push Lock, Minshew makes perfect sense. Or, Denver could use what could be a high pick in the first round on a quarterback.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger is playing at an MVP-level, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are 9-0. Would the Steelers make a run at Minshew to possibly be Roethlisberger’s eventual replacement?
- Washington Football Team: Dwayne Haskins could be on his way out of Washington, and Alex Smith’s future with the Football Team is a question mark. Washington might be better off keeping Kyle Allen and drafting a quarterback rather than trading for Minshew.
Jacksonville cannot officially trade Minshew until the 2021 league year begins next March.