Former 3,000-Yard Passer Called Top Free Agent Need for Rams


Getty Matthew Stafford and Baker Mayfield talk to an official before the Rams' January 1, 2023 road game versus the Chargers.

The Los Angeles Rams now need to make a quarterback change — one that involves who backs up Matthew Stafford.

Rams Wire on USA Today wrote down on Wednesday, March 15, that the Rams’ newest No. 1 free agent target must come from the free agent quarterback market. Now at the top of their list? A former 3,000-yard passer from the 2019 season who eventually was replaced by No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence: Unrestricted free agent Gardner Minshew.

Why Minshew is Called a Fit

First, a look at the current state of the QB room inside the “Rams House.”

Baker Mayfield has gone on to accept a one-year, $8.5 million deal to compete for the starting spot for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As of Thursday, March 16, the remaining quarterbacks John Wolford and Bryce Perkins are still free agents but haven’t officially signed anywhere. Still, an extra QB presence is needed either through the draft or in this early period of 2023 free agency.

And that’s where the former Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles backup for the past two seasons comes in.

Minshew went from 3,271-yard quarterback in his rookie season to settling for a backup role behind Jalen Hurts. He’s reached a stage in his career where he’s viewed more as a No. 2. While the Eagles’ offense features more Run Pass Option (RPO) plays with the mobile Hurts, it’s still an offense that thrives on smaller but speedy wide receivers — which has long been a staple of the Rams offense led by Sean McVay. And, Minshew was in a system that featured play action and roll outs, also a McVay staple.

“Minshew has past experience as a starter but not a ton of success in the last three years when he’s gone just 2-10 under center. In two starts with the Eagles last season, Minshew threw three touchdown passes and three interceptions, completing just 57.9% of his passes,” Cameron DaSilva of Rams Wire wrote. “Minshew will be 27 this year and though he’s been a starter previously, he’s not likely to get another crack at it in 2023. The cost to sign Minshew will be minimal, but at least he’ll bring more experience than someone like John Wolford or Bryce Perkins.”

Given the Rams’ current cap state, Minshew would come in as someone who wouldn’t break the Rams’ bank and can potentially qualify for a one-year deal.

Minshew on AFC South Team’s Radar

However, if the Rams were to pursue Minshew, they would face competition from one AFC South team with a coach who has ties to Minshew.

Per Zak Keefer of The Athletic on Thursday, the Indianapolis Colts are interested in the free agent. It just so happens the Colts head coach was Minshew’s offensive coordinator.

“Hearing Colts are looking into free agent QB Gardner Minshew. With the Shane Steichen connection — they were together in Philly the last two years, with Minshew making four starts — it makes sense,” Keefer said.

In his two seasons with Steichen, Minshew threw for 1,102 yards and tossed seven touchdowns with four interceptions. He also went 1-3 as a starter when Hurts went down with an injury.

Update: Minshew has since signed with the Colts per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

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