The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Multiple former Cougars rewarded with contracts in NFL free agency

Gardner Minshew II, Frankie Luvu earn big contracts after high-level play in 2023
Cougar legend Gardner Minshew II is placed fourth on all-time quarterbacks list.

Every offseason the NFL has its own version of Shark Week, with 32 hungry teams frenzying for new additions at the start of the free agency period. This year, multiple Washington State University alumni were rewarded with new deals for their performance last season.

A handful of Cougs are on the move in 2024, including quarterback Gardner Minshew II, linebacker Frankie Luvu and offensive tackle Andre Dillard, although the latter still has yet to ink a new deal.

Gardner Minshew II

The 26-year-old QB signed a 2-year, $25 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders following a successful 2023 campaign.

Minshew signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts expecting to fill a backup role for the rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, He was quickly thrust into the starting job, however, after Richardson struggled with injuries and immediately proved his worth. He finished the season with over 3,000 yards, 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, on top of being voted into the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

The nature of his role has yet to be revealed, as we likely won’t know until after the draft or training camp if the Raiders plan to start Minshew, second-year QB Aidan O’Connell or a rookie signal-caller they acquire through the upcoming draft.

Frankie Luvu

Luvu started all 17 games of the regular season for the Panthers in 2023, and set career highs in tackles (125), forced fumbles (2) and quarterback hits (11). He also finished with 5.5 sacks and was ranked 35th in PFF’s top free agent list, where they gave him 86.6 run-defense and 56.4 coverage grades.

Luvu signed a 3-year, $31 million contract with the Washington Commanders, in which the signing bonus ($11.5 million) is almost as much as his career earnings thus far ($11.7 million). He will likely play a big role in their defense with new head coach Dan Quinn.

Washington State sports fans will see that he is joining a familiar face in the linebacker room for the Commanders, as Bobby Wagner also signed with the team after playing for the Seattle Seahawks.

Andre Dillard

Dillard’s off-season has been less exciting, to say the least. The former 1st round pick was cut from the Tennessee Titans after signing a 3-year, $29 million contract a year ago.

In 2023, the Titan’s offensive line ranked dead last in multiple media outlets’ rankings, including PFF. Dillard was a big part of that, playing as the starting left tackle for the majority of the season.

There is still time to find a potential suitor for the 29-year-old tackle whose now seen the highs of reaching the Super Bowl and the lows of losing his job. Teams like the Cowboys, 49ers, Steelers and many others are still in need of the position and could use either a starter or depth piece.

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About the Contributor
GABE KAIJA, Evergreen reporter
Gabe is a junior multimedia journalism major from Gig Harbor, Washington.