We are just a few days away from the NFL’s 53-man roster deadline. By 4pm ET on Tuesday, August 31st, every single team is going to have to be down to their “final” roster.
Final is, of course, said in a bit of a loose manner as there will be plenty of roster decisions made after the deadline. Teams will put players on injured reserve, bring some players back, and even make some trades. It is always an ongoing process.
One trade in the league took place on Saturday morning with the Jacksonville Jaguars (who the Dallas Cowboys will face in their final preseason game on Sunday) sending quarterback Gardner Minshew to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a late-round conditional draft pick.
The move is a curious one for Philly as one would figure that they would want to utilize 2021 to figure out as much about second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts before having to make a more significant decision in 2022 with some more draft capital that they have.
As potentially interesting as all of that is one question is on the mind of just about every Cowboys fan - why didn’t our team do this?
The Dallas Cowboys should have been the team to trade for Gardner Minshew
Philadelphia sent a sixth-round draft pick to the Jaguars (who have first overall pick Trevor Lawrence whom they are committed to) in exchange for Minshew. The compensation can ultimately become a fifth-round pick if Minshew plays at least one half of three games.
This is nothing. It is a Day 3 pick that could have been used right now to provide a legitimate answer as to who is going to back up Dak Prescott over the next two years (Minshew’s current contract runs through 2022).
At present time the Cowboys have a “competition” going on for the backup job between Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert (all due respect to Ben DiNucci). This only really even became a competition last week when Rush significantly outperformed Gilbert against the Houston Texans. Prior to that, literally all throughout the offseason, training camp, and preseason, the job had belonged to Gilbert. At least on paper.
The Cowboys learned a painful lesson about how important a QB2 can be to a team’s roster. In all fairness, it is my personal opinion that Andy Dalton would have been fine if he had only been needed for a couple of games. It was never going to work out for him as the primary quarterback for a team, something Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy seems to be the only person not to know.
There is no perfect path to building an NFL team, but quarterbacks with recent starting experience tend to be “fine” when they are called upon to be starters in new roles as a reserve. Sometimes these things take a different turn like Ryan Tannehill with the Tennessee Titans, but consider the Buffalo Bills signing former Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as an example of this philosophy.
Minshew has started 20 games in the NFL (he is 8-12, so not exactly a sterling record), but he started eight of those games last season. He is still only 25 years old and has a contract that runs through the next two seasons.
Nobody is saying that Minshew is a star quarterback or anything, but he certainly looks like one in a room filled with Rush, Gilbert, and DiNucci. Just two years ago many wondered if Minshew was a long-term option in Jacksonville. During that 2019 season Minshew finished with a higher passing grade from PFF than Andy Dalton who the Dallas Cowboys signed the very next offseason. Theoretically if Minshew was better (generally speaking here) than Dalton in the 2020 offseason and the Cowboys were willing to commit to the latter, why wouldn’t they commit to the former now? Especially for such a low cost?
When a team brings in a quarterback with recent starting experience (like Buffalo with Trubisky) it has to be in a situation where the starter is unquestioned in his role. That is certainly the case in Dallas as Dak Prescott is firmly QB1, all of the boxes are checked here. Especially the box that reads “DO THE COWBOYS HAVE A NEED”.
The Cowboys have seen more than enough to know that what they have behind Dak Prescott isn’t going to cut it. Many have said that the future QB2 of the team is one that is going to be waived at roster cuts, but who will conceivably be waived that will be an option worth pursuing? Or even an option better than Gardner Minshew?
Should the Cowboys have traded a fifth-round draft pick for Gardner Minshew?
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