INDIANAPOLIS – The next step has been taken in the complete revamping of the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterbacks room.
The team has agreed to terms with veteran Gardner Minshew II, according to NFL Network, which reported it’s a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
The move reunites Minshew with Colts’ first-year head coach Shane Steichen. They were together the last two years with the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s also the second step in the team’s commitment to a fresh approach at its most consequential position. Wednesday, the team released veteran Matt Ryan.
The next phase comes in the April 27 NFL draft when the Colts are expected to invest the No. 4 overall pick in their quarterback of the future.
Whichever rookie general manager Chris Ballard, Steichen and their personnel staff select undoubtedly will be eased into the starter’s role. That’s why the acquisition of a proven veteran was critical.
The 2019 sixth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars has spent the past two seasons as the backup for Eagles’ starter Jalen Hurts. He appeared in nine games and was 1-3 in his four starts.
In his nine appearances with Philadelphia, Minshew completed 85-of-136 passes (62.5%) for 1,102 yards with seven touchdowns, four interceptions and a 92.8 passer rating.
Speculation has swirled around the possibility of the Colts acquiring Minshew to serve as a buffer for a rookie quarterback.
At the NFL Scouting Combine last month, Ballard made it clear the team would be receptive to adding a veteran to allow the rookie to settle in.
“If it works out that way, yeah,’’ he said. “That’s definitely on the table.’’
Regardless how the pecking order works out, the Colts will have a different opening-day starting quarterback for a seventh consecutive season and head into the season with a sixth different primary starter for a sixth straight season.
The six previous opening day starters: Ryan, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck and Scott Tolzien.
It’s not a coincidence the Colts have lost nine straight season openers.
Perhaps the combination of Minshew and a rookie will provide the stability that’s been missing.
Prior to his two seasons with Steichen in Philadelphia, Minshew appeared in 23 games with 20 starts in two seasons in Jacksonville. His future with the team essentially ended when the Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in the ’21 draft. After adding Lawrence, Jacksonville traded Minshew to the Eagles for a sixth-round pick.
For his career, Minshew has completed 62.8% of his passes for 6,632 yards, 44 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a 93.1 rating.
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