Nick Foles signed a 4 year/$88 million dollar contract with the Jaguars to be the face of the franchise. After a tumultuous career that included a Pro-Bowl selection in 2012 and struggles that eventually made him a backup quarterback, he revived his career in 2017 after a playoff run that ended with him as Super Bowl MVP.
Then in his Jacksonville debut, Foles broke his clavicle paving the way for rookie sixth round pick Gardner Minshew.
Minshew took over the starting job and has shocked us all by throwing for 13 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Minshew has posted a 4-4 record as a starter leaving the Jaguars only 2 games behind the Texans in the divisional race.
Minshew has done all this while relying on the receiving corps of D.J. Chark, a former second round draft pick who is far from elite, and a Kansas City Chiefs reject in Chris Conley, as well as the always electrifying(very sarcastic) tight end James O’Shaugnessy, but since he got injured, he has been replaced by the subpar Seth DeValve.
Minshew, while not putting up Mahomes like numbers, has far exceeded expectations and has been doing it while, not turning the ball over and keeping the, at times, over matched Jaguars competitive.
Minshew’s four interceptions is less than Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson and DeShaun Watson, in addition, three of Minshew’s four losses have been in one score games. Minshew has clearly earned the starting job for the Jaguars as he has shown the ability to win and has the tools to improve further down the line.
Committing to Minshew would put the Jaguars in an awkward spot with Nick Foles. After all, how do you get rid of an overpaid, glorified journeyman? The answer to that was shown in 2017 when the Texans traded Brock Osweiler and a second round pick to the Browns. In return, Houston received a fourth round pick, a sixth round pick, and cap flexibility.
Today’s equivalent of the 2017 Browns would be the Miami Dolphins who have been collecting draft picks like baseball cards and have the cap room to absorb Foles’ contract.
If the Jaguars front office ships Foles and a second round pick to the Dolphins, the Dolphins could then follow the Browns mold and cut Foles or hold on to him if they would like to. This would allow the Jaguars to fully commit to Minshew and give them an additional $22,125,000 in cap room this offseason.
This cap flexibility allows the Jaguars to follow the model that has been working for decades now to build great teams. Draft a young quarterback and build an elite team around him while he’s young.
This is the model that led the Rams to the Super Bowl last year, allowed the Seahawks to build the Legion of Boom around a young Russell Wilson, and has allowed the Cowboys to be able to bring in the likes of Robert Quinn and more recently Michael Bennett on the tail end of their careers.
By benching Minshew, the Jaguars are potentially hurting their franchise for the next 10 to 15 years for a 30 year old journeyman quarterback.