Has Gardner Minshew already supplanted Nick Foles?

Getty Images

Minshew Mania may already be strong enough to take down a Super Bowl MVP.

Four weeks ago today, Jaguars starter Nick Foles broke his collarbone, opening the door for rookie sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew II to take over. He’s 2-1 as a starter, and he would be 3-0 if there had been enough cameras in Houston to show conclusively that running back Leonard Fournette had gotten the ball to the front of the plane of the goal line on a game-deciding two-point conversion attempt.

Minshew now takes the 2-2 Jaguars to Charlotte, where another backup quarterback who did win in Houston has generated a record of 2-0 as a starter this season. And if Minshew continues to keep the Jaguars competitive, it’s fair to ask whether he will supplant Foles.

Actually, it’s fair to ask whether Minshew already has. Apart from what he has done on the field (which is impressive), he’s a marketer’s dream. NFL offensive rookie of the month. Jerseys undoubtedly flying off the shelves. The team’s Twitter feed routinely referring to something about Minshew.

Through it all, Foles has been nothing but supportive as he recovers from his injury. At some point, he’ll be healthy. At some point, we may hear that Foles will play when he’s “100 percent.” At some point, Foles may be 100 percent but not officially “100 percent” to allow Minshew to keep going.

It’s the perfect way for a team to have it both ways. Foles gets benched without really being benched, and then if/when Minshew’s play dips to the point where he should be benched, he’s not really being benched.

The fans will play a major role in how this unfolds. Foles is a newcomer with no real equity in Jacksonville. Minshew is building it every day — and he brings the promise that he can be a guy who will handle the position capably deep into the next decade.

The only problem is that Foles has two years of fully guaranteed pay. Barring a trade in the offseason (which would trigger a cap hit of $18.75 million for 2020), Foles will make $15.125 million next year. And if the Jags find a trade partner for Foles (Minnesota makes sense if they find a way to perform a Kirkectomy), Jacksonville will have paid him more than $30 million for only one year.

But Minshew Mania could justify it. He received a signing bonus of only $190,000. He’s making $495,000 this year. He’ll make $585,000 next year. He’ll earn $675,000 in 2021. By rule, that can’t and won’t change; he’s not eligible for a new deal until after his third season.

So while the second Blake Bortles deal was a mistake and the Foles contract also may end up being one that the team didn’t have to do, Minshew has become manna from football heaven, and instead of lamenting their bad luck when it comes to paying quarterbacks, they should be happy that they were the ones who saw something in Minshew — something that could be creating the proverbial “good problem to have” for the Jaguars.

21 responses to “Has Gardner Minshew already supplanted Nick Foles?

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If he’s still playing well and they’re winning when Foles gets healthy, they would be crazy to change. After all of the crappy quarterbacks they’ve been through since Mark Brunell left, if they fell into a good one, why would they mess it up?

  2. Foles’ guaranteed pay for the next 2yrs wouldn’t be a problem – plenty of teams would pay it.

  3. You roll with the hot hand. Fact is Foles has now been in the league 8 years and has never been able to complete a single season either due to benching from injury or just poor play. Foles has been streaky and inconsistent in his career. He can be really good, then become dreadfully bad. People look at the NFCCG and SB LII and think that’s Foles ceiling and potential, but that is not supported through his play history, the facts or the data. Foles is a good player, but don’t let a few good games fool you. He used to be called Foles gold in Philly for a reason.

  4. If Minshew keeps playing well and Mitch has a bad year (too early to tell with both) the Bears would be a natural trading partner with the Jags. Foles has spent at least 3 years under Reid and Pederson so it would be easy to transition into Nagy’s offense. Nagy may have been his qb coach at kc if I am not mistaken. Would a pair of 2nd round picks do the job in a trade though?

  5. This kid is transcending team / fan borders and appeals to everyone who loves the game instead of just the 1 franchise they cheer for.

    Its easy to appreciate his situation and hope for his continued success.

  6. Good! I hope he has supplanted him. Quicker this all wraps up the quicker we can get Foles back to where he rightfully belongs – the backup QB in Philly where the town loves him eternally and he can be ready to take over for Wentz when he takes his annual injury tour.*

    *this comment isn’t grounded in reality or expectation. It’s forged from my deep desire to get Foles back to Philly. He belongs in Philly.

  7. It’s not a bad situation to keep both. If Files ends up being your backup he’s a proven winner in that role. If Menshew gets worse you can turn to Files. And the salary at 18 million is a bargain in today’s NFL. It would be one thing if Foles was under contract for 5 years but on a 2 year deal just keep both and be happy with it.

  8. If Minshew is still playing well once Foles is cleared to return, the Jags will have no option but to go with the hot hand.

  9. Andrew Teal says:
    October 6, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Its early but if it continues, Foles will end up in Denver.
    You think Denver is a QB away from contention? They’re about to gut that team and start over.

  10. It seems highly unlikely that the Jags — or any NFL team for that matter — would start or bench guys based on the consideration of whether or not it looks like one of their players has “really been benched.”

    If they get to a point where Foles is cleared to play and he looks like the better player in practice, Foles will take the field. Until then, Minshew’s the guy.

    No need to complicate it any further than that.

  11. Sorry dude, you got carried away with that article. Minshew’s time as the starter will ultimately depend jointly on his play and the team’s record with him at the helm. The notion that he may just be the guy period going forward largely because the fans just can’t live without him and the excitement he brings is farcical and not the reality of the situation.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!