After nine seasons as the Las Vegas Raiders starting quarterback, the franchise seems set to move on from Derek Carr this offseason. It’s a curious decision, just one year removed from swinging the blockbuster trade for Davante Adams, but the Raiders may be setting their sights on another experienced QB. Specifically, Jimmy Garoppolo.
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Raiders are considering signing the current San Francisco 49ers QB, who’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He also adds that the team brass is looking into adding Tom Brady as well. Both quarterbacks have been to the Super Bowl, and both players have previous experience working in the current offensive system, albeit with different franchises.
While the Brady to Vegas rumors have long been talked about, ever since Jarrett Stidham took the keys from Carr, the idea of Garoppolo to the Raiders hasn’t been examined nearly as much. Let’s dive into this potential scenario.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s ties to Josh McDaniels makes sense for Raiders
With the Raiders running into troubles with Carr driving the offense in the first year under head coach Josh McDaniels, the team instead turned to Stidham, who had a chance to make his first regular-season start and promptly performed better than expected. Stidham proceeded to post the Raiders’ highest-yardage output of the season.
But on a team that has desires to reach the postseason in 2023, chances are, Stidham isn’t the solution. He may be a prime candidate to remain in the backup role, stepping in when needed, but the Raiders realize the 2019 fourth-round pick doesn’t give them their best chance at reaching a Super Bowl.
Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, on the other hand? Well, they’ve already proven capable of leading their teams to the postseason on several occasions, and both are set to be unrestricted free agents.
It also likely helps their chances to land in Vegas since coach McDaniels coached both for several seasons during their days together in New England. If McDaniels wants a player who he won’t have any questions about whether they can quickly learn the system and operate it to perfection, both players would seem to be excellent fits.
Looking to win now, the Raiders aren’t expected to fill their QB need through the draft. This means signing either Brady or Garoppolo are their best option without having to fork over more draft capital. Knowing that both have previous experience with McDaniels, turning to free agency instead of having to dip into the trade market actually works out well for the Raiders. The only worry is having to compete with other NFL franchises that are also looking for a new starting QB in 2023.
Las Vegas Raiders expected to face stiff competition for both Jimmy G, TB12
It’s rare for NFL teams to be able to quickly solve their need for an above-average starting QB who can help compete for a playoff start from the jump. Sure, you can gamble in the draft, like the New York Jets have done, first with Sam Darnold and then with Zach Wilson, but even two top-five picks don’t guarantee a franchise solution.
Established quarterbacks just don’t hit the open market all that often. We typically see teams have to conduct a trade for a high-profile QB, whether it’s Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, or Russell Wilson. While none of those trades have worked out well either, it’s generally the norm when a long-time QB switches teams.
But not in the 2023 offseason.
Look at a franchise like the Jets, who are once again seeking a better QB and have a roster ready to compete. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur has also coached Jimmy G before, and coach Robert Saleh may prefer the idea of having a capable veteran who can help young playmakers like Garrett Wilson take their game to the next level.
That’s just one example. But other teams, like the Titans, Colts, Commanders, Saints, and Panthers, are all likely looking for a new starter heading into the new year as well. The point is, while the Raiders seem like a match made in heaven for Garoppolo and Brady, they will have plenty of other teams to bid against.