Raiders Named Landing Spot for QB Coming off 1st Pro Bowl Season

gardner minshew


Indianapolis Colts QB Gardner Minshew.

There’s pressure on the Las Vegas Raiders to find a long-term quarterback solution this offseason but a stopgap quarterbacks could always be an option. If the team can’t find a young quarterback that they love, pushing the issue down the road is a possibility.

That’s why Gardner Minshew could emerge as a free agent target. Dallas Robinson of Pro Football Network detailed why Minshew is a fit in Las Vegas.

“NFL teams might’ve thought they already knew what Gardner Minshew was capable of heading into the 2023 campaign. But the longtime backup upended the narrative around his career, finishing 13th in QBR (59.5) after replacing injured rookie Anthony Richardson,” Robinson wrote in a February 20 column. “A return to Indianapolis could be awkward, given that Minshew won’t usurp Richardson any time soon.

“Minshew could make sense for the Raiders if they select [J.J.] McCarthy or [Bo] Nix in the first round of the draft, especially if Vegas intends to let a rookie quarterback sit in Year 1. If the Raiders roll with O’Connell, Minshew has enough fringe-starter ability to offer training competition.”

Minshew has established himself as a very good backup quarterback who can lead a team to wins if the starter goes down. He went 7-6 as the starter for the Indianapolis Colts last season, including a Week 17 win over the Raiders, and was also named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

What’s Gardner Minshew Going to Make in Free Agency?

Gardner Minshew may have played well enough in 2023 for a team to make a multi-year commitment to him. He threw 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions while also rushing for three touchdowns.

A team that’s desperate for a decent quarterback could be talked into paying him a decent contract but Spotrac has his market value at two years for $10.7 million. That’s a reasonable price for a quarterback who has proven he can win games as a backup.

Minshew is still likely most valuable in a backup role or in a competing role with a young quarterback. He hasn’t proven he can be the unquestioned starter quite yet. That said, teams can get desperate for quarterbacks and that could lead to Minshew getting a big contract this offseason.

Is Aidan O’Connell in the Mix to Start?

There’s a lot of focus on what the Raiders might do at quarterback this offseason but there hasn’t been much talk about Aidan O’Connell’s chances to be the starter next year. The former fourth-round pick took over the starting quarterback job last season and there were mixed results. However, he played well to end the season and threw eight touchdowns with no interceptions across the final four games.

O’Connell has limited upside due to his lack of athletic ability but he’s proven that he can deal with difficult situations and play well. Head coach Antonio Pierce is also a big fan of his. Unless the Raiders take a big swing in the draft and trade up to get a quarterback, it’s likely that O’Connell will be competing for the starting job.

Perhaps having a full offseason as a starter under his belt could be what he needs to have more consistent play. He’s got plenty of arm talent so if he can improve his elusiveness in the pocket, he could be a solid quarterback.

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