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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kevin Hickey

Instant analysis of Colts signing QB Gardner Minshew

The Indianapolis Colts found their bridge quarterback, reaching an agreement on a one-year deal with free-agent Gardner Minshew.

It’s a move that simply makes too much sense. Minshew has had two seasons of experience working with new head coach Shane Steichen, who was his offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Keep up to date with the latest news, signings and rumors through our free agency tracker for the Colts.

Here’s our instant analysis of the signing:

How he fits in the depth chart

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

If the season started today, Minshew would be the clear starter. He also would be in a quarterback room that includes Nick Foles, and we shouldn’t expect that to be the case much longer.

With the expectation that the Colts are selecting a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, here’s how the projected depth chart looks in the quarterback room:

QB Depth Chart
*Incoming Rookie QB*
Gardner Minshew
Sam Ehlinger
Nick Foles

In the slight chance the Colts pass on a quarterback in the first round, Minshew would be the projected starter. While that’s certainly a possibility, it’s not the probable outcome.

How this impacts the draft

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As we said above, the expectation is that the Colts will use the No. 4 overall pick to select a quarterback. They may need to trade up one spot to do so, but that’s the expectation and probable outcome. Adding Minshew is a smart move, but it’s not going to keep the Colts from drafting a quarterback in the first round. If anything, it solidifies the notion of getting a quarterback prospect because they have a strong backup option.

In order for the Colts to pass on a quarterback at No. 4, it would have to be a scenario where they feel very uncomfortable with the options on the board. It’s certainly possible because anything can happen in the NFL, but that’s not what we’re projecting.

How this impacts free agency

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts bringing in Minshew means they won’t be adding another veteran to the room during free agency, and it almost certainly means the departure of Foles is imminent. The Colts can save $2.1 million against the salary cap by releasing Foles, it makes sense to do so. This is especially true since the only reason Foles joined the Colts in the first place was because of former head coach Frank Reich, who is no longer with the team.

Contract details

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only a one-year deal worth $3.5 million, but that money is fully guranteed, which is a nice payment for his services. However, the contract also includes an extra $2 million in incentives, assuming that will be tied to playing time and production in the off chance he starts more than expected in 2023.

Instant grade

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This is a move that most fans and analysts could see coming from the beginning of the offseason. The rapport he has with Steichen coupled with the fact that he’s proven to be among the top backup quarterbacks in the NFL makes this a perfect fit. It also doesn’t hurt that he seems to be loved everywhere he goes, and the contract isn’t outlandish at all.

In a word? Ideal.

Grade: A

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