- Gardner Minshew is only given odds of -150 to be the Week 1 starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars
- Might the Jags sign a free-agent QB, or spend a high draft pick to add a promising QB prospect?
- Below, find analysis of the odds along with predictions
Gardner Minshew is expected to be the future for the Jacksonville Jaguars at quarterback.
Or is he?
There seem to be mixed opinions on this matter.
Odds on Jaguars’ Game 1 Starting Quarterback (2020)
Odds taken April 6th.
When the Jags dealt Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears last month, expectations were that it was done to make the path to the #1 job clear for second-year pro Minshew.
Recently, though, there’s plenty of speculation that the Jaguars might opt to trade for a veteran QB, or even sign one of the free agents still on the market.
All of this turmoil is impacting the betting line that Minshew will indeed be the Jacksonville starter come Week 1 of the 2020 NFL regular season.
Oddsmakers still favor Minshew to be the Jags’ opening-day starter but at odds of just -150, it’s not an overwhelming endorsement
Minshew went 6-6 as Jacksonville’s starter in 2019.
Minshew Must Step Up
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was speaking about his team’s forecast for the 2020 NFL season earlier this week. He assessed that progression must be made in all facets of the Jaguars offensive unit.
That was including at the quarterback position. Marrone described Minshew as “a hard-working kid who has a lot of potential.”
#Jaguars HC Doug Marrone on Gardner Minshew's development:
"He’s not going to change the way he is; he’s a hard-working kid and he’s got a lot of potential, and we have to make sure that everyone around him is doing their job and doing it at a high level.”
— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) April 1, 2020
Areas where Marrone wants to see a step forward from Minshew include completing more touchdown passes. He’s also anticipating improved numbers in the red zone.
As well, Marrone indicated that Minshew must reduce the total of lost fumbles. Minshew fumbled the ball away seven times during the 2019 campaign.
Jacksonville added former Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator during the offseason.
Filling Jaguars’ Void
Expectations were that Foles, the Super Bowl 52 MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles, would be Jacksonville’s starting QB last season. That’s why he was acquired from the Eagles.
Instead, Foles suffered a broken clavicle in the season-opening loss to the eventul Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Gardner Minshew was accurate on 51.4% of his deep sideline passes last season.
That's better than Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Lamar Jackson. pic.twitter.com/XrmN2r7f8R
— QB Data Mine (@QBDataMine) March 31, 2020
A sixth-round draft pick from Washington State, Minshew stepped in and stepped up. He started and finished strongly.
Minshew threw for seven touchdowns over his first four starts, and for six in his last three starts. He finished the season with 21 TD passes and just six interceptions.
There’s Money To Spend on a QB
Jacksonville currently has the lowest salary cap hit of any NFL team. Minshew ($722,721) actually will be earning less than backup Joshua Dobbs ($825,000).
By comparison, AFC South rivals Indianapolis have $47 million designated to be paid to their QBs next season.
And the #Jaguars have the smallest QB cap hits for 2020.
Gardner Minshew – $722,721
Josh Dobbs – $825,000
Total – Just over $1.5 million. https://t.co/O3w16UFiNc
— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) April 3, 2020
That leaves plenty of wiggle room if the Jags decide to invest in a veteran QB, and there are still a few solid ones out there that are worthy of consideration.
The Cincinnati Bengals, expected to select Heisman Trophy-winning QB Joe Burrow first overall in the NFL Draft, are shopping 10-year veteran Andy Dalton.
Jameis Winston, who led the NFL with 33 TD passes last season, is available through free agency. So is 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.
Jaguars Will Go With Gardner
Jacksonville could – and most likely will – draft a QB. But it’s unlikely that the Jaguars will spend an early pick on help under center.
The team desperately needs to fill holes in the secondary and along the defensive line. Those figure to be draft priorities.
Last November, one sportsbook offered a -160 betting line that Minshew wouldn’t be the 2020 Game 1 starter for the Jags. Today, those odds seem unlikely to pay off.
— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) April 2, 2020
On the surface, Minshew looks like a stop-gap measure at QB. He doesn’t have great arm strength. His size isn’t impressive. But Minshew is like a poor man’s Russell Wilson. He’s elusive, and finds ways to make plays.
At this stage, are an injury-prone Newton, an erratic Winston, or a near-the-end-of-the-road Dalton a better option than Minshew?
Pick Gardner Minshew (-150)
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