JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars officially launched quarterback Cody Kessler on Thursday, which helps pave the way for Gardner Minshew, chosen for the sixth round of the draft, to win backup work behind Nick Foles.
Kessler started four games last season and completed 65 percent of his pbades for 709 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. The Jaguars went 2-2 in their starts.
Jaguars starting pitcher Blake Bortles at the start of the second half of Week 7 loss to Houston after losing a pair of fumbles, and Kessler threw 156 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Bortles started the next four games before being back on the bench.
Kessler started the next four games, but managed to lead the Jaguars to just two offensive touchdowns (a pbad to Dede Westbrook and a 1-yard run by Leonard Fournette). He suffered a shoulder injury against Miami in Week 16 and Bortles began the season finale.
The Jaguars acquired Kessler in an exchange with Cleveland in March 2018, sending a conditional seventh round selection to the Browns for a player who threw for 1,506 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions in 12 games in two seasons. Kessler went 0-8 as a starter as a rookie in 2016.
The release of Kessler leaves the Jaguars with four quarterbacks on the list: Foles, Minshew and freshmen Tanner Lee (a sixth-round pick in 2018) and Alex McGough. Lee spent last season in the practice squad and McGough spent last season in the Seattle practice squad.
Lee and McGough will fight against Minshew to support Foles, whom the Jaguars signed in March with a four-year, $ 91 million contract with $ 50,125 million guaranteed.
Minshew was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in Washington State after throwing for 4,779 yards and 38 touchdowns in Mike Leach's open offense. Minshew won the titular position despite having registered in the state of Washington in June.
He spent the previous two seasons in East Carolina. He won a national juco title at Northwest Mississippi Community College as a freshman in 2015.