Urban Meyer says decision to trade Gardner Minshew II was an emotional one

Jacksonville’s de jure quarterback battle came to an end this week when coach Urban Meyer named first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence the starter. Shortly after, the Jaguars did what many expected them to do a while ago and traded two-year starter Gardner Minshew II to the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional sixth-round pick.

The Jags may have their quarterback of the future entrenched, but Meyer said the decision to move on from Minshew was far from an easy one.

“That was tough, man,” Meyer said after Sunday’s preseason finale. “I was a little choked up when I saw him in that office. I walk in and, you know, I didn’t know him at all. It didn’t start off on the best of terms because I’m not sure how much he wanted to be here. I get it. First overall pick. He’s a competitive maniac, that guy. And I get it. I told him for the rest of his life, count me as a big fan because he’s what you want. He’s a warrior. He’s competitive.”

Minshew had a solid rookie season in 2019, but he battled injuries in 2020 and saw his production drop off in the games he was able to play in. Though the coaches talked him up in camp this offseason, he struggled during his appearances in the preseason, making it clear the team needed to roll the dice with Lawrence.

It’s clear that Meyer and many others within the Jaguars organization have a lot of respect for Minshew, a former sixth-round pick who took over the reins as a rookie when free-agent signing Nick Foles went down with an injury in the first game. That respect extends to the player who just beat him out for the starting job.

“Me and Gardner had a really good relationship,” Lawrence said on Sunday. “He’s always treated me really well since I’ve gotten here. Helped me as much as he could. We just had a really transparent relationship. We would talk about things and I will always be rooting for him. He’s a great player, super smart. I’ve learned a ton from him. I don’t really know about the details of the situation in Philly so I can’t really know if that is a good spot or not. But, I know wherever he goes, he is going to make the most of his opportunities. I am excited to watch him. I am going to miss him. He is a really great teammate. I am excited for him, excited for him to get an opportunity.”

Minshew joins a Philadelphia Eagles roster that could use another body at quarterback. The team enters the season with a second-year quarterback in Jalen Hurts, but he has a lot to prove in 2021. Behind him, there’s only aging veteran Joe Flacco, who hasn’t been capable of playing at a starting level for a few years now.

In what is shaping up to be a tough year in Philadelphia, Minshew will almost certainly get a chance at some point this year after things didn’t work out in Jacksonville.