After missing the playoffs last season in the first year with head coach Josh McDaniels, the Las Vegas Raiders made significant changes to the roster early in the NFL offseason. While the organization is confident the changes will deliver great results, the sentiment isn’t shared around the league.
Las Vegas swapped out several players on both sides of the ball this spring. Jimmy Garoppolo was brought in to replace Derek Carr, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers was signed to fill the void created by the Darren Waller trade and McDaniels brought in many other familiar faces.
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Led by McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, hired together in 2023, the top Raiders’ decision-makers added players who could help implement the ‘Patriot Way’ in Las Vegas. McDaniels also hired Danny Amendola as a coaching assistant, joining a staff made up of a lot of former New England Patriots staffers.
As the Raiders now prepare for the 2023 season with a new-look roster, one that features a lot of former Patriots players, some around the league believe Las Vegas didn’t improve at all.
Speaking to The Athletic’s Mike Sando, one NFL executed had some pointed criticism for the Raiders adding players McDaniels trusts but made the roster worse in the process.
“They want familiarity, but they have downgraded in every way.”Anonymous NFL executive on Las Vegas Raiders offseason moves
The majority of NFL quarterback rankings prefer Carr over Garoppolo, prioritizing the talent and durability over Garoppolo’s limited skill set. However, McDaniels brought in the former Patriots’ quarterback to be the starter in Las Vegas because Garoppolo will strictly operate within the structure of the coach’s game plan.
It’s not all that different with Meyers and other additions. Las Vegas downgraded at tight end and now has two slot receivers, with McDaniels seemingly trying to replicate the days when New England used two slot receivers at one time.
The Raiders’ approach to the offseason is also likely an indicator of what’s to come in the 2023 NFL Draft. Facing the increasing likelihood of the top quarterbacks coming off the board before the No. 7 pick, Las Vegas could instead prioritize a cornerback or offensive tackle and then draft a signal-caller to develop in the second round.