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Pros and Cons: Should Giants sign Gardner Minshew to be backup quarterback?

Just how much the Giants believe in Daniel Jones might very well be evident by what they choose to do behind him.

Tyrod Taylor is an unrestricted free agent and not expected to return. Tommy DeVito was a nice story and the Giants will continue to develop him, but he’s not considered a major part of their plans.

Basically, the Giants need another quarterback.

So GM Joe Schoen has two options.

The first: Draft someone early, who will ultimately end up supplanting Jones this year or next. The second: Sign another veteran to be Jones’ backup, as Taylor was.

There aren’t many better options than Gardner Minshew if they choose the latter.

Pros

Game experience

Minshew is a bit rare in that he’s 27 years old, but few around the league view him as a legitimate option as a starter. He is, though, a perfect backup in large part for his game experience.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Minshew in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Since then, he’s played in 49 games with 37 starts. He’s seen just about everything you can see. He’s served in the backup role before. That’s important because not all quarterbacks can go in at a moment’s notice and be able to succeed. Minshew has proven he can.

Talent

Minshew played on some pretty bad Jaguars teams, so it’s hard to make much of his record as a starter (15-22). His production can’t be argued, though. Minshew is a career 62.6 percent thrower with 59 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He was arguably at his best for the Indianapolis Colts this season when he threw for 3,305 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He completed 62.2 percent of his passes and had a quarterback rating of 84.6.

Minshew has the arm strength to make any throw, solid accuracy (74.2 percent on-target accuracy in 2023) and mobility to escape when needed. He does have a bit of a gunslinger mentality, which gets him into trouble. But, again, for a backup, you can’t ask for much more.

Knows his role

You have two options when signing a backup quarterback: You add someone who’s going to push the starter or you add someone who’s not. Minshew is the guy if the Giants want to truly commit to Jones again while knowing if something were to happen to their former first-round pick, the season isn’t lost if Minshew has to play.

Cons

Competing interest

Minshew’s performance in place of Anthony Richardson last year will make his market robust. Any team needing a backup will have him atop their wish list, including the Giants’ cross-town rival Jets. The one benefit the Giants might actually have is Jones’ injury history. While few teams will look at Minshew as their starter, the Giants might give him the best chance to potentially play because of Jones’ questionable durability.

How much will it cost

League executives anticipate quite the boom in the backup market this offseason after the number of injuries to starters a season ago. Basically, backups will get paid like never before. You might legitimately see someone like Minshew get $10 million (or more) annually. That price might be too steep for a Giants team that has more than a few holes to fill.

Won’t push Jones

Giants ownership might love Jones and believe he can be their franchise quarterback, but there’s mounting evidence to the contrary. This will be the former first-round pick’s sixth season. He’s been varying degrees of bad in four of the previous five, and was maybe his worst in 2023. Jones went 1-5 as a starter with two touchdowns and six interceptions. He averaged just 151.5 yards per game – the fewest of his career.

Head coach Brian Daboll might have a shorter leash on Jones than some believe. Remember: Neither he nor Schoen drafted him. If the Giants are looking for someone to truly turn the heat up under Jones, that’s not Minshew.