With rookie Gardner Minshew playing far better than expected as a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and Nick Foles set to come off the injured reserve list in November, the Jacksonville Jaguars might have a looming quarterback crisis. Although Foles signed a four-year, $88 million contract with the Jaguars in the 2019 offseason, the Super Bowl-winning signal-caller no longer seems like a sure bet to start behind center once he returns to action for the first time since suffering a clavicle injury during Jacksonville’s Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
On Monday, the Tampa Bay Times focused on this dilemma, noting that Minshew “may have shown enough promise” to demote Foles to No. 2 quarterback. While opinions have varied on whether the Jags should stick with the youngster or go back to Foles as their starting signal-caller, the publication speculated that if Jacksonville chooses the former option, they may have no choice but to trade the veteran, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers standing out as a potential destination.
“So, if the Jags stick with Minshew, does that mean Foles might be available in a trade in the off-season? And if so, would the Bucs be interested?” wrote Ernest Hooper of the Tampa Bay Times.
“It’s wildly premature for such speculation, but is it wrong to wonder about the possibility?”
While Minshew has continued to impress with his play for Jacksonville, that hasn’t been the case for the Buccaneers’ No. 1 quarterback, Jameis Winston. Two weeks after turning over the ball seven times — including five interceptions — against the Carolina Panthers, the former first overall draft pick continued struggling against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, completing just 48.8 percent of his passes and throwing two TDs and two picks.
Different demeanor this week at the podium for Jameis Winston and in the locker room with his teammates after dropping three straight… pic.twitter.com/qYGVHYNaBd
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) October 27, 2019
Despite the continued criticism against Winston and his penchant for turning over the ball, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians again maintained that the former Florida State superstar was not at fault for his interceptions in the loss to the Titans.
“His receivers let him down today,” Arians commented, as quoted by Bucs Nation. “Guys stopped on routes that were supposed to go down the middle. The last play was supposed to go down the middle, it was supposed to be a big play. He played his tail off.”
While Foles could arguably give the Buccaneers an upgrade over Winston in terms of experience, consistency, and intangibles, it won’t be easy acquiring the 30-year-old due to the terms of his existing contract. According to Yahoo Sports, Foles is set to earn close to $31 million this season and $16 million in 2020, and if the Jaguars do trade him, they will need to find a partner that has enough “hope, desperation, roster availability and cap space” to justify the deal.