After a two-year run, the phenomenon is over. Minshew Mania is moving on from Duval County.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have officially traded third-year quarterback Gardner Minshew to the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional sixth-round pick. The pick could become a fifth-round pick if Minshew plays more than 50-percent of three games. Only this week after a four-week long, Training Camp battle did head coach Urban Meyer officially name rookie Trevor Lawrence his starting quarterback over Minshew.
The move leaves two quarterbacks on the Jaguars’ roster: recent free agent signee C.J. Beathard and 2020 sixth-rounder Jake Luton.
Minshew was also a sixth-round selection of the Jaguars, rising up the depth chart during 2019 training camp to become then-starter Nick Foles’ back-up. Foles broke his collarbone 11 snaps into his Jaguars’ tenure, forcing the rookie Minshew into action. He completed an eye-popping, 88-percent of his passes in his NFL debut, and while his numbers never reached that height again, Minshew’s crafty-style of play proved to be just what the Jaguars needed. He went 6-6 his rookie season, briefly losing the starting role when Foles returned from injury only to be re-inserted into the line-up three games later. Minshew finished the 2019 season with 21 touchdowns to six interceptions and was a multiple time winner of the NFL’s Pepsi Rookie of the Week honor. Foles was traded that off-season to Chicago, all but handing Minshew the starting role.
Despite the Jaguars’ 1-15 record, Minshew did get off to a hot-start to the 2020 season. He threw for three touchdowns in both of the Jaguars’ first two games, including a 19-of-20 performance in the season opener. Two duds of a performance against the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals would follow though, and then came an alleged hand injury during a loss at the Houston Texans Week Five. Minshew would remain the starting quarterback until the bye week, when his injury was revealed. He did not play the next four games and would only appear in two more down the stretch. Those two games would prove to be “The Mississippi Mustache’s” final two in a Jaguars uniform. Minshew finished the 2020 season with 16 touchdowns to five interceptions and a 66-percent completion percentage.
As soon as the Jaguars drafted the prodigal Lawrence at No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, many wondered if Minshew’s days in Duval County were numbered. From the get-go, most assumed Lawrence would start from the get-go of his rookie season. But Minshew split first-team rep's with Lawrence, rotating days with the first-team offense up and until this week.
"My admiration for Gardner as a warrior is well documented," head coach Urban Meyer told reporters Wednesday when he announced Lawrence was his starter.
Having won seven games in this league and a career QBR of 93.1, Minshew clearly had value. His new team saw it and the Jaguars capitalized on the opportunity. Minshew left an indelible mark on the city of Jacksonville, but now he “must dash” to his next opportunity.