Gardner Minshew was one of five Jacksonville Jaguars players that the team placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sunday. Along with Minshew, running back Ryquell Armstead, tight end Charles Jones, receiver Michael Walker and safety Andrew Wingard were also placed on the list. Minshew, the Jaguars' starting quarterback, joins Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford as recent NFL starting quarterbacks who have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. On Saturday, Stafford became the first NFL starting quarterback who has been placed on the list.
The league's recently-implemented reserve/COVID-19 list includes players who either tested positive for the virus or who have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. If a player falls into either category, their team is required to immediately place the player on the list. Teams are not permitted, per the agreed-upon NFL-NFLPA policy, to comment on player's medical status other than referring to roster cuts. Furthermore, teams may not disclose whether a player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.
Prior to the start of training camp, the NFL and the NFL Player's Association agreed to a plan that allows players to opt-out of the 2020 season if they are uncomfortable with the COVID-19 health protocols put in place. High-risk individuals could opt-out and receive a $350,000 stipend, whereas those less at risk would receive a $150,000 stipend. Players also have the ability to opt-out later in the season in the event that a family member becomes sick. Here's the list of players who have made the decision to opt out.
Minshew, a 2019 sixth-round pick, went 6-6 as a starter during his rookie season after replacing an injured Nick Foles in Week 1. In 14 games, Minshew completed 60.6% of his passes for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. Minshew performed so well that the Jaguars decided to trade Foles to the Bears for a fourth-round pick, a pick the Jaguars used to select former Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman.
This offseason, Jacksonville supplied Minshew with a formidable group of teammates at the skill positions. While his top two receivers from last season -- D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook -- are back for 2020, Minshew will also have rookie receivers Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson, former Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert and rookie tight end Tyler Davis to throw to this fall. The 42nd overall pick, Shenault caught 142 passes and 10 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Colorado. A fifth-round pick, the 6-foot-2, 222-pound Johnson caught 188 passes and 15 touchdowns in four seasons with the Longhorns.
Eifert, after several injury-marred seasons, enjoyed a solid campaign in 2019, catching 43 passes during his final season in Cincinnati. A former quarterback and receiver, Davis caught seven touchdown passes after switching to tight end late in his college career.
The Jaguars could have a compelling position battle at running back between undrafted rookies Tavien Feaster and James Robinson should they have room to carry one. After spending three seasons at Clemson, Feaster spent the 2019 season at South Carolina, where he rushed for 672 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Robinson left Illinois State as the school's second all-time leader in rushing yards (4,444), rushing touchdowns (44) and all-purpose yards while averaging 5.58 yards per carry. Devine Ogizbo also remains in the mix at running back.
Jacksonville, 6-10 last season, will kick off the 2020 season with a home game against AFC South rival Indianapolis on September 13.