Why Gardner Minshew Should Be on the Bears' Radar

It's not just Gardner Minshew's hair, headband and mustache the Bears should look at because his production with a losing team has been impressive

With the Carson Wentz carousel currently in a stuck position, it's an ideal time to look for other Bears options.

After all, the Bears rate only a 50-50 chance at winning over Indianapolis in this quarterback auction. The best-case scenario is they have slightly better than even odds, if you believe the stories saying they've made the best offer—that sounds suspiciously like a planted story from the Eagles trying to restart the bidding war.

The Bears need options. 

With the Raiders wanting two first-rounders for Derek Carr and Deshaun Watson way out of the price range of the Bears in terms of draft pick compensation, there is always Sam Darnold. But the  Jets are talking about getting a first-round draft pick in return for Darnold, who has a passer rating slightly better than Rex Grossman.

The Bears need to be searching and the most obvious trade option available is a quarterback with some starting experience and decent numbers but not many wins. Gardner Minshew can't be blamed for that starting record of 7-13 with Jacksonville.

There's no real pressure on Jackonville to trade Minshew because he is in the third year of his contract and gets very little money. He's actually an ideal backup for soon-to-be Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence because he has started extensively the last two seasons and will count only $898,000 against their salary cap next season.

This isn't to say some team would have trouble prying him away by overwhelming the Jaguars with an offer for a player who figures to just sit around all season on a rebuilding team. At the best, he'll start a game or two at the beginning of the season while Lawrence gets his bearings and then proceed back to the bench to watch the first pick in the draft play.

Minshew has extremely interesting production numbers which any team looking for a quarterback needs to weigh, not to mention his hair style, the mustache and a Jim McMahon-style penchant for headbands.

The first is simply his victories. He went 7-13 in two seasons as the starter for Jacksonville. This might not sound impressive, but consider the talent or lack thereof that he dealt with, and what the other quarterbacks did while starting in his place with the same backing. The other QBs were 0-12.

He went 7-13 under two different head coaches in two different offensive systems with bad teams.

So Minshew obviously elevated this sad lot to a .350 winning percentage. It's not easy to project this performance to determine how he would do with a running game, with a defense, with some decent receivers and most of all some pass blocking.

Minshew is short compared with many NFL quarterbacks, at 6-foot-1. He's built solidly at 225 and is fairly mobile. He has 497 yards rushing in 23 games the last two seasons and in 25 games the last two years Mitchell Trubisky had 388 yards rushing.

Looking at Minshew's passer rating is the tough part of the assessment. He has a solid career rating of 93.1—91.2 in 2019 and 95.9 last season.

The trouble with his passer rating is it's easy to run up efficiency figures when your team is behind all the time and you're facing softer zone coverage. A lot of completions for meaningless yardage fattens the passer rating to an extent.

There are numbers which tend to favor Minshew, though. Yards-per-pass averages of 6.9 and 7.0 are not spectacular but definitely not bad for a quarterback throwing against softer coverages much of the time. When Trubisky hit 6.9 this season people were ready to throw parties.

The impressive numbers for Minshew are his touchdowns-to-interception ratio, TD percentage and interception percentage.

No one can complain about a career interception percentage of 1.4. He had 1.5 and 1.3 in two seasons. Unlike the efficiency figure, it's not necessarily easy to maintain low interception percentages against zone defenses. Tipped balls and overthrows can easily be picked off. For comparison's sake, when Wentz had his three good seasons in succession, his interception rate still wasn't as good as Minshew's at 1.7.

His touchdown percentage of 4.6 overall, with 4.9 and 4.5 the last two years is outstanding considering the hardship of playing on a bad team. And 37 TDs to 11 interceptions is good in any man's league.

Would the Bears be interested in a sixth-round draft pick whose play is difficult to assess but seems to be talented enough?

They already were.

Minshew was one of the quarterbacks they spoke with at the NFL combine in 2019 when they weren't necessarily thinking quarterback.

                                  -Gardner Minshew on his combine meeting with the Bears

“I had two formal interviews," Minshew last year told Chicago media personality Mark Carman during last year's Super Bowl week. "One was the Jaguars and one was the Bears. I loved it, meeting with Matt Nagy and all those guys.

"For a while, I thought that was going to be a real possibility."


Now they have the extra insight of John DeFilippo as quarterbacks. DeFilippo was Minshew's offensive coordinator while he went 6-6 as a starter in 2019, the year Nick Foles was supposed to lead the Jaguars.

If they aren't interested, perhaps they should be, and it shouldn't have anything to do with his haircut or headband.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven