Bump: Ex-WSU Cougars star has chance to be multi-year NFL starter

Jun 30, 2024, 9:10 AM

WSU Cougars grad Gardner Minshew...

Gardner Minshew of the Las Vegas Raiders runs through a drill during a 2024 practice. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

There have been few football players – college or pro – whose combination of talent, look and personality have the sort of captivating draw as former WSU Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew.

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Whether he’s throwing touchdown passes on the field, taking viral photos or hanging with Uncle Rico from “Napoleon Dynamite,” the ex-WSU star has a way of winning over fans.

Minshew has had a solid NFL career mostly as a backup since he joined the league in 2019, but 2024 could be the year the charismatic signal-caller gets his chance to stick for multiple years as an NFL starter.

That’s what former WSU wide receiver Michael Bumpus thinks. He explained why Minshew could receive that chance with the Las Vegas Raiders on Friday during Four Down Territory on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

“This might be his opportunity,” Bumpus said. “He might be a starter for one to two years until they find a rookie sensation or they draft somebody over there, but I’m excited. I think this is the best opportunity Gardner is gonna have in the league.”

After starting 13 games for the Indianapolis Colts last season due to rookie Anthony Richardson’s season-ending injury, Minshew signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the Raiders this offseason. He joins a team that had its share of struggles at quarterback last season and was forced to turn to rookie fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell for 10 starts. O’Connell had solid showing for a rookie fourth-rounder, but the early buzz coming out of Las Vegas pegs Minshew as the Week 1 starter.

As Bumpus pointed out, Minshew has put together some very respectable numbers as an NFL quarterback. He’s completed 62.3% of his passes with 59 touchdowns and 24 interceptions over 49 games, including 37 starts, in the league.

For comparison, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, a former No. 1 overall pick who just signed a five-year, $275 million extension with the Jaguars, has completed 63.8% of his throws with 58 touchdowns and 34 interceptions in 50 games, all starts.

Bump said he doesn’t believe Minshew quite has the same talent as Lawrence, but that “it’s time for the league to respect Gardner Minshew and let him be the starter for the Las Vegas Raiders.”

Listen to Four Down Territory at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Bump and Stacy weekdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More WSU Cougars news

WSU removes interim tag, names Anne McCoy as athletic director
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