The Chicago Bears can’t afford to pour all of their hopes into one quarterback possibility this offseason. They need multiple options. Plan A, plan B, plan C, and so on. Everybody wants Deshaun Watson. Everybody wants Matthew Stafford. The Bears will no doubt pursue any and all possibilities. Yet it’s important to have alternatives in mind. One of those alternatives could be Gardner Minshew.
The former 6th round pick has had a fascinating start to his NFL career. He wasn’t even supposed to play as a rookie in 2019. Then Nick Foles broke his collarbone in the first game against Kansas City. He went on to make 12 starts, throwing 23 touchdown passes and just six interceptions in one of the more exciting storylines of the year.
Things certainly changed in 2020.
As the Jaguars sank further and further into the NFL depths as the worst team in the league, Minshew’s star went with it. He was benched multiple times for Mike Glennon of all people. Excitement for the 24-year old quickly wore off despite him having a not-so-terrible year statistically with 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions in eight starts.
Now with Jacksonville likely to draft Trevor Lawrence at #1 overall, his future on the roster appears certain. Either he’ll be a backup, traded, or cut. Could a team like the Bears be interested? Minshew is intelligent, charismatic, and has the field vision a good QB needs in the NFL. He also has connections to Chicago. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune didn’t shoot down the idea when asked.
“I remember talking to an NFC scout last summer who was pretty excited about Minshew and his playmaking ability. Obviously things fell apart quickly for the Jaguars this season and Minshew isn’t quite as interesting anymore, but the Bears should have pretty good intel on him as quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo spent the 2019 season with Minshew in Jacksonville.”
Gardner Minshew fits the profile of what the Bears want
No, he isn’t the otherworldly talent of a Deshaun Watson or Matthew Stafford. However, the strengths of his game mirror what Matt Nagy prioritizes at the position. Intelligent diagnosis before the snap, quick vision after the snap, and an ability to throw accurate passes both on and off-platform. It isn’t hard to view him as sort of an Alex Smith-type of player that Nagy had in Kansas City. Not flashy but smart, a leader, and protects the football.
Most important though is the contract. He has two years left on his rookie deal at just $897,000 and $1.012 million each. That is dirt cheap for a starter. Especially for a cap-strapped team like the Bears. If they could get Gardner Minshew back to the level he was playing at as a rookie or even a little better? They might be okay offensively provided they give him proper weapons and protection.
Rest assured, this isn’t Chicago’s Plan A for this spring.
They have other priorities at quarterback they’ll attempt to pursue. However, if they end up striking out on the big fish, don’t be surprised if Minshew’s name starts to collect some steam. His age, price, and productivity to this point at least make him an interesting one to watch. That is unless your Foles who probably wouldn’t much like seeing him again for obvious reasons. Then again, that can be the business of the NFL sometimes.