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Can Gardner Minshew be more than a placeholder for the Raiders?

As they attempt to claw their way back to relevance, the Las Vegas Raiders are in need of a franchise quarterback, or something approaching that. Aidan O’Connell was the only serious candidate until Monday, when the team agreed to terms with veteran Gardner Minshew on a two-year, $25 million deal with $15 million fully guaranteed. That per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

Selected in the sixth round of the 2019 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Washington State, Minshew was denigrated in some circles because he played in Mike Leach’s air-raid offense, but he’s proven able to do more in different systems over time. Last season, he was the main man for the Indianapolis Colts after starter Anthony Richardson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, and Minshew completed 305 of 490 passes for 3,305 yards, 15 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a passer rating of 84.6.

That would lead you to believe that Minshew might not be more than a guy competing in training camp for a job, but Minshew did have his moments for the Colts. He completed 20 of 51 passes of 20 or more air yards last season for 715 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 81.9. and he’s always been a better-than-average deep thrower.

Minshew has the capacity to lead an NFL offense if he keeps the randomness to a minimum and plays within structure — when that went south, things got a little weird.

Perhaps Minshew can keep everything in line, giving the Raiders more of a quarterback structure than they envisioned. This of course does not preclude the selection of a quarterback in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire