Two expensive misses, one cheap hit for Jaguars at quarterback

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It’s the most important position on a football team, and it has been the focal point of the most significant decisions made by the Jaguars in recent years.

From the drafting of Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in 2014 to the exercise of his fifth-year option at $19 million in 2017 to the replacement of the $19 million option with a three-year, $54 million contract with $26.5 million guaranteed in 2018 to the dumping of Bortles only one year into that deal to the giving of a four-year, $88 million contract with $45.125 million fully guaranteed at signing to Nick Foles after cutting Bortles, the team that once made notorious the phrase “keep chopping wood” has made plenty of axe swings that haven’t struck the stump.

And the Foles decision can’t quickly be erased. His 2020 salary of $15.125 million is fully guaranteed; unless the Jags can find a trade partner to take on that burden, Jacksonville will be paying all or part of it, whether he’s on the team or not.

Then again, the Jaguars also used a sixth-round pick on Gardner Minshew II, signing him to a slotted contract that will pay a grand total of $2.7 million over four years. Most recently, the Jaguars have ignored the temptation to justify the Foles mistake by doubling down and giving Foles the balance of the season to turn things around, opting instead to revive Minshew Mania.

After losing 33-13 and 42-20 in Foles’ first two games back from a broken collarbone suffered in Week One to falling behind the Buccaneers by the score of 25-0 through two quarters (that’s 95-33 through 10 quarters with Foles), the Jaguars pulled the trigger, bencing the Super Bowl LII MVP for the 178th overall pick and 10th quarterback selected in the 2019 draft.

With the season as a practical matter lost, the only question left is who will lose their jobs due to a Super Bowl window that seemingly has slammed shut in less than two years. De facto football guru Tom Coughlin needs to make as graceful an exit as possible (if possible), and then ownership needs to decide whether to give coach Doug Marrone and G.M. Dave Caldwell a chance to push things forward without the influence (interference) of a former coach who ultimately was unable to quit coaching.

Finishing the season strong can’t hurt. Ultimately, Shad Khan will have to decide whether it’s better to stay the course or to attempt to upgrade — realizing that there’s a chance that a supposed upgrade may become a downgrade. But if the current coaching staff and front office believe in the highly-marketable Minshew, it could make sense to stick with the status quo for at least one season, giving Minshew a chance to embrace the gig from the first day of the offseason program and carry it into the 2020 regular season.

With plenty of talented players on both sides of the ball, the Jaguars aren’t far from contending. If Minshew can be the difference maker, it makes sense to let the power structure that found and embraced him try to get him toward his ceiling, especially since a new regime may want its own quarterback, an agenda item that coaching and G.M. candidates rarely wear their sleeves.

Whatever the Jaguars do, an open competition between Foles and Minshew could be a mistake. If they’d move on from Foles barring the contractual complications, then they need to figure out a way to move on from Foles while managing the contractual complications.

22 responses to “Two expensive misses, one cheap hit for Jaguars at quarterback

  1. This is the unfortunate reality of a teams owner that is distracted by other business moves in london or jacksonville. When the jags need him to invest more attention in the personal that makes these decisions. Who ever gets held accountable in jacksonville? Years and years of this

  2. Why would you keep Marrone? He has a decent roster with a lot of veterans and they are totally under achieving? You don’t keep a head coach who was expected to contend for the division but is in last place because he is willing to play a 4th rounder drafted under his watch

  3. Minshew wasn’t exactly lighting it up his last few starts. Funny how everyone glosses over that.

    Foles needs to be in Indy, and probably would have been there if Luck didn’t wait to retire.

  4. Miami might be willing to help them out with Foles.

    It would likely take a 2nd and 4th though for them to take on that $$.

    Then Miami can turn around and trade him to Philly.

  5. 95-33 in ten quarters with Foles? I didn’t know he played on defense as well as offense!

    Hold him accountable for the offensive woes, absolutely. But don’t hold him accountable for the failings of the defense, when he’s sitting on the sideline.

  6. Remember when Seattle paid Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson beat him out? Pete carrol was smart to give it to the better QB, not who makes more. That’s a mistake for the GM to figure out.

  7. As a jag fan I don’t care who’s back there under center as long as this joke of a o line continues to preform like this we will continue to get poor play from the offense this product this regime puts out there is a complete disorganized joke.. being a jag fan is hard

  8. Foles is a proven winner in the right circumstances (An Andy Reid style offence and West coast concepts). The problems on offence can’t be laid totally on the QB. The whole unit is struggling.
    The jags could look for trade partners as suggested, but they shouldn’t be in a hurry to get rid of him, absent the right offer.

    Minshew deserves to at least be in equal competition for the starting job next yr.

  9. It sure looked like the team played harder when Minshew was in there so I’m not sure it’s all Nick’s fault. They need to get rid of Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone. Then they need to get someone who realizes the importance of having a good offensive line. Apparently the current crop of idiots doesn’t realize that. Then they can get rid of all the losers on that team who don’t seem to care about giving the kind of effort it takes to win. Give Minshew some help on that OL and that offense could be interesting.

  10. This is all part of Nick Foles plan. He wrote the Art of War By Sun Tzu. His strategical prowess is unmatched.

  11. Foles’ $15.1 + Minshew’s $600k = a really good price for a QB room, even if the depth chart is being paid out backwards next year. Under $16 million to have Minshew start & Foles as the backup (where he strives) gives the Jags a chance to see if they found their QB of the future, while having a reliable veteran backup/ guidance/ spiritual leader.
    Unless they get a offer they can’t refuse (doubtful), they should keep Foles at least into the preseason & see if an injury occurs, if not into the season.
    Smart CAP GM’s look at the price of the position on the roster, not just the price of an individual player. If they are to go with Minshew, would they trade Foles, eat some of his cash, then turn around & pay Chase Daniels to be the veteran backup?
    Stick with it, see it thru, then blow the whole damn thing up if neither are the answers in 2020. Throw away 2019 to Foles getting injured and see what you have with a whole new offseason, no matter which one you have in the QB1 slot.

  12. Minshew is Fool’s Gold in terms of long-term viability, but the Jags are a relatively dumb organization who will likely only learn that the hard way. The bigger question at this point is exactly how to manage the unwieldy financial arrangement they have with Foles that intelligent football people warned them not to embrace. Giving up on Foles after four games or whatever in their uniform would be a monumental embarrassment and just further proof that this organization is run by people who really don’t know what they’re doing. Again, the idea that Minshew, a shallow cult hero who’s perfect for our shallow times, will develop into a star on the field and just made all the rest of this just go away in time is nothing more than wishful and erroneous thinking.

  13. So Foles plays 10 quarters of bad football after coming back from a broken collarbone and he is a big mistake…did I get this right? Full disclosure…I have always been behind Foles, but you see how bad organizations knuckle down to fan pressure in their decision-making. Minshew is an interesting guy, but he has wasn’t a Super Bowl MVP and he doesn’t have 2 displays of his jersey in Canton.

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