The Colts got veteran QB Gardner Minshew on a good deal; Young Quarterbacks Can Mentor

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Indianapolis – The The Colts are widely expected to draft their quarterback of the future in April.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis Has Got a Veteran Backup Who can take over the starting role if a young quarterback isn’t ready to go? right away.

The Colts have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.5 million, fully guaranteed deal that includes the potential for $2 million in incentives with former Jaguars and Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew, a league source told IndyStar Thursday night. confirmed to

Indianapolis released former starting quarterback Matt Ryan on Wednesday, earning more than $17 million in cap savings, and although veteran Nick Foles remains on the roster, it is likely that Foles will also leave after just one season with the Colts. Will not return, leaving Sam Ehlinger as the only returning quarterback in Indianapolis.

Minshew plays a key role for new head coach Shane Steichen.

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For starters, the Colts need an experienced quarterback who can take over the starting role if a potential rookie isn’t immediately ready, and Minshew has started 24 games over four seasons in the NFL, including with the Jaguars in 2019 and 2020. Long tenure with.

More importantly, Minshew is already familiar with Steichen’s playbook, terminology and how the new Colts head coach puts together a game plan, helping him tutor a young player in the offense and tutor the offense perfectly. knows how to help.

When a new head coach establishes his system, it often helps to have veterans who know the ropes around to help the rest of the team pick up on the terminology and system quickly.

Unable to take over the starting role despite throwing 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over 20 starts at Jacksonville, Minshew has spent the past two seasons as the backup quarterback behind Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, making four starts. Minshaw completed 62.5% of his passes in his starts for 1,102 yards, an average of 8.1 yards per attempt, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions, going 1–3 in his four starts.

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But just as importantly, Minshew’s presence doesn’t change the franchise’s likely course of action in resetting with a rookie to develop the quarterback position.

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Colts owner Jim Irsay had already announced the team’s intentions when Steichen was introduced, citing the new coach’s track record of developing Hurts and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert as one of the deciding factors in the hire. in the form of.

Irsay said, “You thought Shane had a lot of offensive magic, which is hard to find in this league.” “The offense, in my mind, could be a little more complicated. It takes a lot longer to develop, knowing that we have to find a young quarterback to develop, that’s an important factor.”

The task has become a little more difficult since Irsay said those words.

Indianapolis has the No. 4 pick in April’s draft, a selection that puts the Colts firmly on course to take one of four quarterbacks to be taken in the first round: Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud , Anthony Richardson of Florida and Kentucky. Will Lewis.

Two of those quarterbacks will almost certainly be off the board by the time the Colts choose.

Carolina, led by former Colts head coach Frank Reich, made a blockbuster trade with Chicago last week, pouncing the Colts and everyone else on the No. 1 pick. Barring a surprise pick by Houston, the quarterback-desperate Panthers and Texans would take passers with the No. 1 and No. 2 picks.

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The possibility remains that Carolina and Houston leave the Colts with a rookie quarterback who needs time to develop. Richardson, in particular, is a raw prospect with excellent physical tools who may need seasoning, and the same can be said for Lewis, who played in a pro-style offense at Kentucky but struggled last year.

Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard did nothing to suggest that the Colts would not take the quarterback in April’s draft.

But he suggested it was possible for the Colts to go through a transitional year, playing a veteran quarterback while the rookie develops behind him.

“If it works like this?” Ballard said. “Yeah, it’s definitely on the table.”

The additional $2 million in incentives baked into Minshew’s contract would then come into play.

And even though Minshew’s $3.5 million is guaranteed, the Colts managed to find a capable veteran option for slightly less money than similar backups around the league.

Former Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett signed a one-year, $8 million deal with Washington that included $7.5 million guaranteed. Carolina signed veteran Andy Dalton to a two-year, $10 million deal that includes $8 million guaranteed and could rise to $17 million with incentives. Former Washington backup Taylor Heinicke received a two-year, $14 million deal from Atlanta that includes $6.32 million in guarantees and could do more with incentives.

Minshew’s deal is far less than that, signaling at least a temporary end to the Colts paying significant prices to play veteran quarterbacks. Indianapolis gave Brissett a two-year, $30 million deal when he stepped in for a retired Andrew Luck in 2019, paid Phillip Rivers $25 million to lead the Colts to the playoffs in 2020, and $25 million in 2021 Carson paid $21 million to Wentz and $24 million to Ryan. last season, as well as another $12 million in guarantees that impacted this year’s cap. Indianapolis has $18 million in dead money after releasing Ryan, and releasing Foles would put another $1.5 million in dead money on the cap.

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Assuming the Colts end up drafting a quarterback in April, Indianapolis won’t pay anywhere near those prices in 2023, an important consideration for a roster that has significant needs at wide receiver, offensive line and cornerbacks moving forward. .

All of those moves are still a possibility.

But the Colts have the veteran quarterback they needed.

Who are they grooming to learn from Minshue, and potentially play opposite him, is the big question.

This article originally appeared on the Indianapolis Star: The Colts got QB Gardner Minshew on a good deal; Young Quarterbacks Can Mentor