The Indianapolis Colts need to address quarterback depth in some form this offseason. NFL free agency may be the first way the team does that.
The Athletic’s Zak Keefer reported on March 16 that the Colts are pursuing free agent signal caller Gardner Minshew. Spending the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Minshew has previously worked with new Colts head coach Shane Steichen, making him an obvious fit in Indianapolis.
Steichen was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator from 2021-22.
“Hearing Colts are looking into free agent QB Gardner Minshew,” Keefer wrote on Twitter. “With the Shane Steichen connection — they were together in Philly the last two years, with Minshew making four starts — it makes sense.”
Minshew went 1-3 as the Eagles starter the past two seasons. In nine appearances during 2021-22, he posted a 62.5% completion percentage while averaging 8.1 yards per attempt. He also had 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
He recorded a 57.9% completion percentage with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in 2022. Although Minshew had a 68.3% completion percentage in 2021, his yards per attempt jumped from 7.3 in 2021 to 8.7 in 2022.
Presumably, the Colts are interested in Minshew as a placeholder until the rookie quarterback the team drafts is ready to become the starter. But that may not 100% be the case.
Colts ‘Aren’t Completely Sold” on 2023 QB Class
Separate from the reported Colts pursuit of Minshew, Forbes’ Evan Massey reported on March 15 that the Colts are considering a trade for Lamar Jackson. Massey also tweeted that the team is not “completely sold on any QB” to be available in the 2023 rookie class.
That last detail is crucial. Presumably, Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard could add Jackson or Minshew or both because his organization is not all-in on the rookie quarterback class.
It also explains, at least in part, why the Colts weren’t more aggressive in trading up to No. 1 in the 2023 NFL draft. Ballad shouldn’t be giving up draft capital unless he is convinced one of the quarterbacks is worth trading up for in the draft.
If Indianapolis isn’t interested in a rookie quarterback, the team will have to add to the position in free agency. The Colts released veteran Matt Ryan to save $17.2 million in cap space, so they will have to find a new Week 1 starter.
The Colts still have Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger on the roster behind center. Both could start, but neither is considered a long-term solution.
Colts Reportedly Interested in Gardner Minshew
Putting aside Massey’s report, Indianapolis’ interest in Minshew makes sense.
A four-year veteran who will turn 27 in May, Minshew has starter experience but is better suited as a backup. He’d be the perfect quarterback to pair with a rookie. Minshew could start if needed and mentor the young signal caller.
Massey’s report, though, throws a wrench in that assumed plan.
If the Colts are interested in Minshew and not a rookie quarterback, they could be looking at the soon-to-be 27-year-old as competition for Ehlinger to start. Or the Colts could be interested in adding Minshew as a fallback in case they can’t acquire Jackson.
Minshew owns an 8-16 record as an NFL starter in his four-year career. His best season came in 2019 when as a rookie he posted a 6-6 record with 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
In his second season, he went 1-7 as a starter with 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Obviously, there’s a lot of moving parts to acquiring quarterbacks in the NFL offseason. It’s clear the Colts need a signal caller; it’s not yet evident how they are going to get one.