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INDIANAPOLISSimply, the Colts can’t provide what Gardner Minshew wants.

And while Minshew might not be able to find exactly what he wants elsewhere in free agency, he can find a much better shot at it somewhere other than in Indianapolis.

If Minshew is gung-ho about wanting a realistic chance at earning some playing time in 2024, he’s best served to try and find that in another spot, unless he is banking on Anthony Richardson getting hurt again.

From the Colts point of view, they are not overlooking the value in a backup quarterback.

Honestly, how could they knowing what Richardson went through as a rookie, combined with the playing style they want him to continue to utilize moving forward.

“I think it’s a position you’ve got to continue to evaluate every year,” Chris Ballard said at the end of the season of the backup spot. “The backup quarterback is going to be very important, I think we saw that (in 2023).

“I don’t want to underestimate the value of the (No. 2 quarterback).”

The AFC had several examples of what value in a backup can have in a team maintaining a playoff push.

Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Houston each won December/January games while starting a variety of backup quarterbacks, which helped all three of them eventually cement their spots in the postseason.

Minshew went 7-6 as a starter for the Colts, and clearly left a strong impression on Ballard and company.

“I can’t understate the value of what Gardner brought to this team,” Ballard said last month. “He gave us a chance to win each and every way, gave us hope, a chance to win, fun guy to be around. Guys believe in him. That’s the one thing, likeability and belief are two things that are – when they believe and think that the quarterback, you have a chance to win, that’s important. Grateful for Gardner and what he was able to do.”

Ballard also knows what Minshew ultimately wants.

“Of course, Gardner wants to be a starter,” the GM says. “That’s what his makeup is. Sam (Ehlinger) is the same way. Him and Sam are a lot alike in that way where they both – you wouldn’t want it any other way. Jacoby (Brissett) was that way. They want to be the guy, I get it. They’re competitive and it’s hard for them to accept somebody telling them, ‘Hey, you’re the two.’ This is what’s great about Gardner – he was the two, knew he was the two but he continued to work like he was the one and then also help (Anthony Richardson) like he was the one. That’s a special quality. He’s a tremendous young man, good player. Thank God we had him.”

Assuming Minshew finds an NFL home that gives him more of a playing-time opportunity than Indianapolis, the Colts must then weigh where to go behind Richardson.

Both Ehlinger and Kellen Mond (who the Colts added last season) are under contract for 2024.

Based off Ballard’s comments, there’s plenty of belief in investing some notable resources in whoever is backing up Richardson.

How the Colts approach that will be interesting.

-Do they value a similar style QB to Richardson?

-How much will actual starting experience (like Minshew brought) factor in?

-What about personality and fit, knowing this player is going to be right there with Richardson during a key year (or years) of the young QB’s development?

Some potential FA quarterbacks next month include: Ryan Tannehill, Tyrod Taylor, Jacoby Brissett, Marcus Mariota, Sam Darnold, Jameis Winston, Tyler Huntley, Mason Rudolph.

Will one of those be backing up Richardson in 2024?

Or is Minshew not going to be able to find what he wants elsewhere in free agency?

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