The Washington Football Team needs a new quarterback, and Gardner Minshew could be the best bet without setting the franchise back.
The Washington Football Team might be the biggest club on the rise for 2021. They also are the most confusing to evaluate this offseason.
Despite a 7-9 finish in the NFC East, their “best of the worst” mantra led them to win the division. The defense played at a near top-five level all season under the direction of new head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Sure, that sounds like a winning recipe for the team’s future, but they ultimately lost in the form of a top name in the 2021 NFL Draft when trying to add a quarterback.
Washington will be selecting 19th come April. That will all but take them out of the top four quarterback conundrum of players who are expected to go early. Alabama’s Mac Jones impressed in Mobile, but Washington has swung and missed at quarterbacks in the past early.
Why risk on another early boom-or-bust project?
Will Smith return next season to Landover? Despite being 5-1 as a starter, he’s coming off another year plagued with injuries and will be 37 in May. The Deshaun Watson news is enticing, but the price is too steep.
If Washington wants a proven starter and a name that can compete right away, a trade will be the only option. However, one name has gotten lost in the mix as a potential standout signal-caller or at least a bridge option.
Say hello to Gardner Minshew.
Minshew Mania might work in D.C. for 2021
Washington understands they need a franchise option to remain ahead in the divisional race. It’s why the team offered at least one first-round selection for Matthew Stafford last week before his trade to Los Angeles.
Rivera stated earlier this offseason the team will be “aggressive” in assessing the quarterback position, but what exactly does that word mean? Washington doesn’t have the offensive pieces to carry a team, but the defense must remain intact for promising results.
With the emergence of Kam Curl at the strong safety position, perhaps moving Landon Collins down into a dime-backer role is far from the worst idea?
Minshew went 1-7 as the starter for Jacksonville during his second season in Duval County. When looking at his stat line though, how much of that was all on him? In six games, the former Washington State product had a completion rating of 62.5 percent or higher. He also had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 17:5.
Sacks and defense were the ultimate problems down in TIIA Bank Stadium. Minshew in nine games was sacked 27 times, while the team allowed 44 on the year.
Washington allowed 50, but the addition of a new quarterback would allow them to focus heavily this offseason and the draft on retooling the offensive line.
Best of all, look at Stafford and Minshew’s average passer rating — the 33-year-old who cost three total picks while averaging 7.7 yards per throw with a rating of 96.3. Minshew, who also has two years remaining on his contract, averaged 6.9 yards per throw and had a rating of 95.9.
Minshew’s value will be low since it’s well-known that Jacksonville will be selecting Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence early. Still, Urban Meyer might be keen on keeping a veteran in the building for the right price. But for say, a fifth-round pick? Would that be enough?
Minshew isn’t a proven franchise quarterback, but with a decent defense, he can work. During his rookie season, the “Mississippi Mudflap” finished with more touchdowns than No. 1 pick Kyler Murray and compiled a 6-6 record.
Washington isn’t a “quarterback away” from Super Bowl contention. They do require a quarterback though. Add Minshew and several key names via free agency and the draft, and suddenly Washington is ready to contend for another division title.
The Minshew Mania tour is on hiatus. It can be brought back for a reunion in our Nation’s capital.