Gardner Minshew

Peter King’s Latest On 2020 NFL Draft

While Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah is widely viewed as the top defensive back in the 2020 draft class, at least one general manager thinks a portion of NFL decision-makers may have a different view. “I bet 40% of the teams in the league have C.J. Henderson higher on their boards than Okudah,” the anonymous GM told Peter King of NBC Sports. “Better cover guy.” Henderson, a Florida product with 30 total games and a 2019 All-SEC nod under his belt, is pegged as a first-round pick, but it would certainly be a surprise if he came off the board before Okudah, who is thought to be a potential top-five selection.

Let’s take a look at a few more draft tidbits from King’s latest column:

  • The Chargers‘ quarterback situation continues to a conundrum. While a source close to Los Angeles GM Tom Telesco tells King Telesco is high on Oregon signal-caller Justin Herbert, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has faith in incumbent Tyrod Taylor. In fact, Lynn might be comfortable starting Taylor even beyond the 2020 season.
  • While the Chargers may target a quarterback in the first round, don’t expect the Jaguars to go after a passer with the ninth overall pick, per King. Jacksonville intends to give 2019 sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew a legitimate shot at becoming a full-time NFL starter after trading veteran Nick Foles to the Bears earlier this month.
  • Although the 49ers are already loaded along their defensive line (even after trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts), they could still target even more front four help in the first round. Specifically, San Francisco could be eyeing a defensive tackle such as South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw. The 49ers own both the 13th and 31st picks on Day 1 of the draft, leaving them ample opportunities to address nee areas.
  • The Cowboys may look to find a replacement for All-Pro center Travis Frederick after he announced his retirement earlier this year, but at least one rival executive tells King that Dallas won’t spend the 17th pick on a pivot. However, that same executive believes the Cowboys are fans of Michigan interior lineman Cesar Ruiz, and could trade down before selecting the ex-Wolverine.
  • One NFL GM tells King the Patriots “love” Herbert, but may not be infatuated enough to trade up from pick No. 23. Indeed, New England would likely need to sacrifice a 2021 first-round pick in order to move into Herbert range.

Jaguars Want To Trade QB Nick Foles

If the Jaguars have their way, it’ll be Minshew Mania again in 2020. ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler report that the Jaguars “want to go with Gardner Minshew as their starting QB” next season. As a result, the organization would like to find a taker for Nick Foles.

However, as the two reporters point out, it might not be easy to trade the veteran quarterback, and the Jaguars will have to “sweeten the deal, either with a pick or by paying part of the salary.” Last offseason, Jacksonville signed the former Super Bowl MVP to a whopping four-year deal worth $50.1MM guaranteed. The veteran will count for more than $22MM against the cap next season, although teams could have an out (with a $12.5MM cap hit) following the 2020 campaign.

It’s not too surprising that the Jaguars are opting for the younger option. While Foles didn’t play horribly in his four starts, the team still went 0-4 with him under center. The Jaguars improved to 6-6 with Minshew at quarterback, and the rookie finished the season with a top-10 interception rate.

Foles could theoretically be a fallback option for a squad that misses out on their free agent or trade targets. However, considering the 2020 salary and modest future investment, rival teams may choose to use their money elsewhere.

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QB Notes: Rivers, Tannehill, Jags, Winston

Philip Rivers‘ disappointing season has led to speculation the Chargers will seek an upgrade in free agency or the draft. But GM Tom Telesco said (via Daniel Popper of The Athletic, on Twitter) this week he still believes the 38-year-old quarterback can compete at a “top-starter level.” Rivers has bounced back from down seasons before, even winning 2013’s comeback player of the year award after merely coming back from a rough 2012 slate. But the free agent-to-be is much closer to the end of his career and has acknowledged Week 17 may have been his final Bolts game. The Chargers aim to get the Rivers situation sorted out before the 2020 league year begins March 18, Telesco adds (Twitter link). Tyrod Taylor is still under contract, and while Telesco called the ex-Bills starter a capable first-stringer (Twitter link via ESPN’s Eric Williams), promoting the 30-year-old veteran would not be viewed as an upgrade.

Here is the latest from the quarterback landscape:

  • A franchise tag may be in the cards for Ryan Tannehill, but the Titans are convinced his change-of-scenery breakout is legit. The Titans believe the 31-year-old passer is a “huge part of their future” and want to sign him to a long-term extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The prospect of a Tannehill re-up initially surfaced in late November, and the sides have begun negotiations. It would cost Tennessee approximately $27MM to use its franchise tag on Tannehill. With Derrick Henry and right tackle Jack Conklin also up for free agency, it would behoove the Titans to have Tannehill locked down before the March 10 deadline. Of course, Tannehill’s Dolphins history makes such a commitment risky.
  • The Jaguars will not commit to Gardner Minshew as their clear-cut starter going into the offseason. Doug Marrone said Minshew and Nick Foles will compete for the job, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. The Jags gave Foles $50MM guaranteed in 2018; his 2020 salary is fully guaranteed.
  • Jameis Winston may have been playing through a more significant thumb injury than initially believed. The Buccaneers quarterback is now wearing a cast, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Winston threw his usual variety of interceptions before the thumb injury surfaced but tossed four in Week 16 against the Texans after being on the Bucs’ injury report with the malady. The soon-to-be 26-year-old passer will be a free agent in March.

Jaguars To Stick With Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew initially landed the Jaguars’ starting quarterback job because of injury. He will now take over for a healthy Nick Foles.

The Jags announced Monday afternoon their sixth-round rookie passer has supplanted Foles. Despite the latter’s $22MM-AAV contract, Minshew relieved him during Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers. That setup will stick, which calls questions into Foles’ future.

Foles’ return from a broken collarbone injury brought two blowout losses — to the Colts and Jaguars — and the Bucs were delivering more of the same. However, Minshew oversaw a one-sided Jags defeat against the Texans and could not bring them back against the Bucs. He will have a chance to make his ninth start Sunday against the Chargers. The Washington State product went 4-4 while filling in for Foles.

Jacksonville gave Foles a four-year, $88MM deal — with $50MM guaranteed — despite seemingly no other serious suitors. The team had to make cap-related cuts because of its misstep with Blake Bortles, a move that forced them to carry $16.5MM in dead money this year. It might be too late for Doug Marrone to save his job, but the switch back to Foles certainly generates questions about the 30-year-old former Super Bowl MVP’s future in north Florida.

Foles has completed 65% of his passes this season. While Minshew sits at 61, the more elusive passer is averaging an additional yard per attempt — 7.3 to 6.3 — and has shown a better rapport with emerging wideout D.J. Chark. After throwing a touchdown pass Sunday, Minshew is up to 14 for the season compared to just five interceptions.

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AFC Notes: Marrone, Dolphins, Lawson

After the Jaguars ugly 42-20 loss to the Titans, the team fell to 4-7 and reporters asked head coach Doug Marrone if the team would be making any changes at quarterback or defensive coordinator. Marrone remained steadfast that he is not considering changes at either spot, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.

Marrone, currently in his third season as Jacksonville’s official head coach (he served as the interim at the end of 2016), is still looking to replicate the success he found in his first year at the helm. That season the Jaguars had one of the best defensive units in football that carried a team with questionable quarterback play to the AFC Championship Game. Since, the team is 9-18 and recently looks in disarray defensively. On the opposite side of the field, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew showed promise while Nick Foles was out with a broken collarbone. Foles returned last week, but has yet to lead a strong offensive performance.

Here’s some more Sunday notes from the AFC:

  • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is perfect for the Dolphins situation, according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. Fitzpatrick has helped their offensive unit maintain an acceptable level of competence, but not to a level that could cause the team to win enough games to have their first round pick fall outside the top five in next year’s draft. Salguero also notes that head coach Brian Flores’ choices have made clear that Miami believes that Josh Rosen is not the franchise’s answer under center.
  • The Bills defense dominated the Broncos offense in Sunday’s 20-3 victory. It’s no secret that Buffalo has one of the best defensive units in football, but one player seemed to be playing with a little chip on his shoulder. According to Denver7’s Troy Renck, Bills edge rusher Shaq Lawson, who recorded two sacks on Sunday, looked for Broncos center Connor McGovern after the contest to tell him, “You will remember me now.” Apparently, McGovern said he did not who Lawson was prior to the game and the Clemson alum took note.

Jaguars To Start Nick Foles

Nick Foles is the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback, head coach Doug Marrone announced. Foles is ready to rock after recovering from a broken collarbone and Minshew’s rough outing against the Texans in London cost him the No. 1 gig.

It’s not one game,” Marrone said of the QB situation on Sunday, after the Jags took the L in London. “It’ll be a body of work.

Foles’ body of work, which includes a Super Bowl ring, trumped Minshew’s largely impressive, but occasionally rocky, rookie season. There’s still hope for Minshew, but the Jaguars gave Foles a hefty contract this offseason for a reason. The veteran probably gives the Jaguars their best shot to win right now and turn their 4-5 season around.

Foles’ longstanding relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo probably played a role in the decision as well. DeFilippo saw the Super Bowl LII MVP at his very best and believes that he can eek out an encore in 2019.

Thanks to the four-year, $88MM deal he signed with Jacksonville in the offseason, Foles is under contract through the 2022 season.

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Marrone Tightlipped On Jags’ QB Situation

The Jaguars suffered an ugly 26-3 loss to the Texans during the London game Sunday, but head coach Doug Marrone didn’t tip his hand when speaking to reporters after the game. It was widely believed that rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew could hang onto the starting job with a strong performance against Houston, but obviously that didn’t materialize.

Marrone certainly didn’t hint that he was going to go back to Nick Foles, which suggests he’s at least strongly considering sticking with Minshew even after the rough outing. Interestingly, Marrone said “it’s not one game, it’ll be a body of work” that he looks at when making the decision, according to Grant Gordon of NFL.com, which would seem to indicate Minshew’s poor game won’t necessarily be the nail in his coffin. Marrone also added that he’ll likely make the decision sometime right before the team gets back together from their bye week, around next Sunday.

Minshew brought an initial jolt of excitement to the franchise, but he has been inconsistent recently. The Jaguars gave Foles a rich contract this offseason, and he hasn’t even played a full game for them yet. The Jags are now 4-5 after the loss, although they’re still very much alive in a muddled AFC wild card race. Against the Texans, Minshew finished with 309 yards, but it took him 47 attempts and he also threw two interceptions.

It sounds like we won’t know for about another week if Minshew Mania is indeed coming to an end. Foles has the contract working in his favor, as well as his longstanding relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who helped coax a Super Bowl run out of him two seasons ago. The decision could ultimately come down to input from leaders in the locker room, like defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Whoever Marrone decides to go with, they’ll probably be on a pretty short leash and at risk of getting yanked for the other at any time.

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Latest On Gardner Minshew, Nick Foles

Jaguars high-priced QB Nick Foles is expected to be healthy enough to return to the field in Week 11, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reiterates (video link). However, Rapoport indicated that if Foles’ replacement, sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew, played well against the Texans in London today, Jacksonville could continue to roll with Minshew and have Foles serve as his backup.

But there’s a problem: Minshew did not play well in the Jags’ loss to Houston. He completed 27 of 47 passes for 309 yards and accounted for four turnovers (two lost fumbles and two interceptions). As such, and as Rapoport indicated in a follow-up tweet, the Jags will have a tough decision to make in the next week or so (the team has its bye next week).

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports also heard that Minshew had a chance to keep his starting job, but now his immediate future is looking much more uncertain. The Jaguars are on the fringe of the playoff picture, and while it is difficult to envision them as legitimate contenders in 2019, it would also be tough for them to keep the experienced (and well-paid) Foles on the sidelines while there is still a chance at the postseason.

Minshew has injected some life into the Jags’ franchise, but he looked very much like a rookie today, and he has struggled with fumbles all season. He obviously has plenty of promise, but he still has a lot to learn, and he may have to do some of that learning as a backup.

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Latest On Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey

Jaguars star Jalen Ramsey will not practice on Wednesday, per the club’s daily blast. Ramsey is listed as unable to participate with a back injury, though many have been suspicious about his continued absence. 

Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville, and the Jaguars seem poised to trade him, but the club’s asking price seems to be a barrier to a deal. At the outset, they started the bidding at two first-round picks. Recently, a contending team offered two first-round choices, but the Jaguars turned down the deal with the belief that those picks would likely fall at the end of the draft.

Nearly every team in the league seems to be interested in Ramsey, but Peter King of NBC Sports recently speculated that the Chiefs and Ravens rank high on that list. He also believes the Chargers could join the fray.

For any club, Ramsey would mark a massive upgrade for today and become a huge cornerstone for seasons to come. The appeal is obvious – he’s one of the very best corners in the game and won’t turn 25 until later this month. On the flipside, acquiring Ramsey would mean giving the young star a top-of-the-market deal that is commensurate with his ability, so the notion of sacrificing two first-round picks for him is unpalatable to most franchises.

In related news, quarterback Gardner Minshew was added to the injury report with a knee ailment, but that issue is believed to be minor. Right now, it sounds like he’ll be available to face the Panthers this weekend.

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Jaguars To Place Nick Foles On IR

The Jaguars will not have their well-paid free agent quarterback for at least two months. Doug Marrone confirmed Nick Foles underwent surgery Monday. He will head to IR.

While no definitive timeline exists for the first-year Jaguar, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) this is not expected to be a season-ending injury. The Jags hope Foles will return later in 2019. Foles suffered a broken left clavicle against the Chiefs, sending sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew into action in what became a two-score loss.

Foles has experience with this type of malady. He suffered a clavicle break in 2014, leaving an Eagles-Texans game that season on Nov. 2. He did not return that year (and did not return as an Eagle until 2017). Per IR rules, Foles cannot come back to game action until at least Week 11. The 30-year-old passer must miss eight weeks, but since the Jags have a Week 10 bye, their Nov. 17 date with the Colts in Indianapolis would be the earliest target date for their starting quarterback.

Jacksonville traded a 2020 fifth-round pick for Pittsburgh backup Josh Dobbs on Monday. Dobbs is expected to play behind Minshew, at least for the time being, per NFL.com’s James Palmer (Twitter link). Minshew completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns.

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