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Graney: Gardner Minshew is the ultimate Band-Aid QB for Raiders

Updated March 12, 2024 - 3:11 pm

An obvious take: The Raiders are much better today at quarterback than they were this time last week.

It also means coach Antonio Pierce must have changed his tune on Band-Aids.

Gardner Minshew agreed to a two-year deal with the Raiders on Monday with $15 million guaranteed. He’s a veteran who started 13 games for the Colts last season, a former sixth-round pick who will be playing for his fourth NFL team.

This was Pierce at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis when discussing the Raiders’ options at quarterback:

“I would hope whoever we draft, that’s the route we go, that’s who the starter becomes. You don’t want to put a Band-Aid at that position. That’s old … that’s old, man. I think the Raiders … we’ve seen that enough in this organization.”

Minshew, 27, is the ultimate of Band-Aids, having never played for the same team more than two seasons. He’s a virtual tourniquet.

Doesn’t mean it can’t work in the short term. The immediate assumption was that Minshew would compete with returner Aidan O’Connell for the starting job. If so, it should be a short-lived battle. Minshew is certainly an upgrade to what the team’s quarterback room looked like before he joined it.

And yet I would still assume the Raiders are interested in drafting a quarterback.

It’s what makes the Minshew signing so interesting. The Raiders pick at No. 13, and there is every chance they already know trading up won’t be a simple proposition. Certainly not to climb into a top-three spot to take one of the top passing prospects.

But there’s other players at the position who might entice the Raiders to seek a trade into the top 10 or simply remain at 13 and hope a quarterback they like falls to them. If that occurs — and it’s a long shot — it would be fascinating to see in which avenue the Raiders travel to start the season.

Teams don’t usually draft a quarterback in the first round and not play him. They’re also paying Minshew a tidy sum. He might simply be that valued insurance policy should the Raiders not land a top-level quarterback in the draft.

That bridge as others develop behind him.

Either way, you’re getting a quarterback in Minshew who last season threw for a career-best 3,305 yards, who has NFL numbers of 59 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Who was named to his first career Pro Bowl as an alternate with Indianapolis.

Who might be one of the more entertaining players around.

Teammates love him. His quirky style. His humor. And now he’s going to share a locker room with Raiders star edge rusher Maxx Crosby.

Who spent an entire game against the Colts last season referring to Minshew as a “little-ass boy.” Ouch. That hurts.

Good thing the Raiders now have a Band-Aid to cover it up.

Jacobs departs

Josh Jacobs had some thoughts via social media regarding the Raiders on Monday: “When a players leaves it’s always the player being unloyal at what point do we ask the franchises for that same loyalty?”

Um, when they rightly stand firm on contract negotiations.

The running back agreed to a four-year deal with the Packers worth $48 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed. Jacobs will make $14.8 million in the first season of the deal.

The Raiders reportedly tried to re-sign Jacobs, but wouldn’t go to the financial level that Green Bay did. So that was that. It’s a hard stance to take with a player who led the league in rushing two years ago and whom Pierce called the team’s heartbeat.

But you’re still talking about a running back whose production declined because of injury last season. Zamir White appears ready to take on a leading role. You can find a running back via the draft.

The Raiders settled on a number, and it wasn’t enough.

That’s not a lack of loyalty. Considering the position, it’s good business.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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