Ever since the Jacksonville Jaguars acquired number 1 in the 2021 NFL Draft, it seemed inevitable that they would try to move quarterback Gardner Minshew.
After all, the new head coach Urban Meyer is ready to hand over the Duval Kingdom to the consensus top prospect Trevor Lawrence from 2021.
A potential Minshew trade has now become increasingly likely after Jacksonville signed the former San Francisco 49er’s multi-year third-round deal with CJ Beathard on Wednesday.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that the Jaguars had discussions with other teams about the previous round six election. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes that the 49ers seem busy at the quarterback and could target Gardner Minshew.
“The 49ers have plans for quarterback. They had extensive conversations with (Joe) Flacco, who hit it off on a visit with Kyle Shanahan last week before finally settling on Philly, ”noted Fowler. “Rumors persist that Jacksonville quarterback Gardner Minshew II may be in their plans about the deal.”
Indeed. The 49ers had Flacco on an earlier visit to the free agency before the Super Bowl quarterback recently signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. They were also with Mitchell Trubisky before he decided to surprisingly sign with the Buffalo Bills.
Reports earlier in the off-season suggested San Francisco was looking for an upgrade from injury-ridden and competitive starter Jimmy Garoppolo.
With the Deshaun Watson thing up in the air after numerous sexual assault allegations, it now looks like San Francisco is trying to find a good quality backup behind Garoppolo. Here are three reasons it makes sense to trade Gardner Minshew with the 49ers.
Read more: Gardner Minshew Receives Trading Interest From NFL Teams, Three Potential Targets
Gardner Minshew is an affordable option for the San Francisco 49ers
December 27, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II (15) takes the field before a game between the Jaguars and Chicago Bears at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
John Lynch, general manager of 49ers, has done well to keep most of his free core agents, although the situation has been less than excellent over the past week. That included giving Trent Williams the richest contract in NFL history for a tackle and signing Pro Bowl center Alex Mack.
Currently, after the signing of stud cornerback K’Waun Williams, the 49ers are an estimated $ 15 million below the cap. Even so, they have resisted spending money on a backup quarterback behind Garoppolo. Flacco’s one-year $ 4 million deal with Philadelphia adds to that belief.
Gardner Minshew is a retired late round player and remains under his rookie contract. That means any team that acquires the 24-year-old signal caller will face a $ 1.9 million cap hit over the next two seasons. For a 49ers team who needs money to find depth elsewhere, this is an extremely valuable aspect of a potential trade.
See Also: 2021 NFL Mock Draft – Surprising Top 5 Picks, New England Patriots Country Franchise Quarterback
He’s the best remaining quarterback the 49ers could target
December 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) during the warm up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco was previously connected to the former New York Jets No. 3 Sam Samnnold. It made sense. Head coach Kyle Shanahan fell in love with the USC product that led to the 2018 NFL draft. Unfortunately, that came just a few months after the 49ers traded for Garoppolo in the 2017 season. Darnold wasn’t an option.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be an option at the moment. The Jets have yet to decide whether to trade Darnold and go to number 2 on the 2021 NFL draft with Zach Wilson. In the meantime, any team acquiring the struggling quarterback would face a spring deadline to avail a $ 25 million option on Darnold’s contract for the 2022 season. Given his performance, that doesn’t make sense.
As for Deshaun Watson, San Francisco is one of several teams still interested in the reigning NFL pass master. However, the recent allegations of over a dozen women alleging sexual assault in civil lawsuits are changing the dynamic here. Put simply, it’s hard to imagine a team acting for Watson until this situation is resolved. All of this makes me believe Gardner Minshew might be the best option for the 49ers.
Read more: San Francisco 49ers are not supposed to act for Sam Darnold
Past successes due to injury issues from Gardner Minshew and Jimmy Garoppolo
November 1, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, 10, returns to the locker room after warming up before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
It’s okay to question Minshew’s raw talent. There’s a reason he was the 178th election in the 2019 NFL Draft. There’s also a reason Jacksonville is leaving for Trevor Lawrence.
All is well and good. But the tape and its stats tell us the story of someone who could at least be a top-end backup in the NFL. Minshew made up north of a total of 6,000 yards with 38 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 20 starts over a two-year period with Jacksonville. Can we possibly ignore these eye-opening numbers, especially given the lack of talent at Duval?
At the very least, Minshew is a better option than the late CJ Beathard and an injured Nick Mullens. Heck, he has more of a proven track record in the NFL than a well-known former prospect in Josh Rosen. After Garoppolo missed 23 out of a possible 48 games in the past three seasons, San Francisco would get a ton of cheap insurance by adding Gardner Minshew.