Jaguars rookie QB Gardner Minshew was a revelation in 2019. The sixth-round pick in this year’s draft came in for an injured Nick Foles in Week 1 and went 4-4 as a starter before being replaced by Foles in Week 11. Minshew would replace an ineffective Foles during the Jaguars’ loss to Tampa Bay in Week 13 and would finish the season for Jacksonville, which included Sunday’s 38-20 victory over the Colts in the season finale. The 23-year-old Minshew would finish the season 6-6 as a starter.
Among rookies quarterbacks, Minshew was second in passing yards(3271), second in touchdown passes(21), and first in wins(6). He played well and Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell, who, along with head coach Doug Marrone will return in 2020, is very high on Minshew.
“I give Gardner [Minshew II] a ton of credit for what he did, where he came from, how he handled his business,” Caldwell said. “He got thrust in there Week 1. It’s hard enough for a starting quarterback or a first-round quarterback to take all the reps [and play]. This is a young man that didn’t get very many reps in the preseason, and he ends up having to go in the Kansas City game and the rest of it.
“He won more games than any other rookie quarterback and statistically, in less games, put himself in contention for Offensive Rookie of the Year. I think everybody in this room would agree with that. So, I think he did a really nice job.”
According to Caldwell, Minshew will have a role with the team next season, but Caldwell did not say what it might be at this point.
“As far as the plans moving forward, I think there’s a lot of self-evaluation, like Coach [Doug] Marrone said, in where we’re at, and that will be a decision made by Coach Marrone, and his staff, in collaboration with Shad [Khan] and decide on that,” Caldwell said. “But I don’t think any decision has been made today as to what that’s going to look like, but we feel good about Gardner and moving forward with him.”
Jacksonville has to figure out what they want to do with Nick Foles, who they gave a four-year, $88 million contract last offseason. The 30-year-old Foles is expected to make $22 million in 2020. According to bigcatcountry.com, If the Jaguars just straight-up release Foles, they will have to eat $33.8 million in dead money in 2020.
In the end, it’s cheaper to keep Foles. Ideally, the Jaguars would love to be able to trade him, but you wonder who will take his contract. Maybe you have an open competition between Foles and Minshew and see what happens.
Jacksonville has some time to think about all of these things, but right now, Minshew might have the upper hand as they enter the offseason.