Following Derek Carr’s dismissal from the Las Vegas Raiders, the thought was that the team was going to take a big swing at quarterback. That may have been the original plan. Tom Brady was set to hit free agency and the hope was to add him in the offseason, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
After he retired, there was talk of trades for Aaron Rodgers or Mac Jones but it appears the Raiders always had their sights set on Jimmy Garoppolo as a backup plan. From a pure passing standpoint, there’s no doubt that Carr is more talented. He’s got a better arm and is more athletic. However, Garoppolo is simply a better fit under head coach Josh McDaniels. Breer, who is close with McDaniels, had the inside scoop on exactly why the Raiders preferred the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to Carr:
O.K., so on the field, why Garoppolo over Carr? The Raiders, for better or worse, didn’t see Carr as a culture fit after having him in the building for a year, and they couldn’t get that wrong again at that position. They aren’t guessing on whether Garoppolo will be better in that regard. They know.
The other thing is that McDaniels really does believe in Garoppolo. He wasn’t surprised in the least at the quarterback flourishing at the end of his first season in San Francisco, and always thought there was a little more there that the injuries wound up concealing. So now, the 31-year-old essentially takes the spot Carr held—playing the role that Alex Smith did in Kansas City as the Chiefs waited for Patrick Mahomes to come along—and the Raiders brass can continue to build the roster up elsewhere.
Raiders Offense Can Improve From 2023
While Garoppolo isn’t a player who is going to get the fan base fired up, the Raiders’ offense can make a leap with him under center. The team’s offense was disappointing last season despite having two First-Team All-Pro players in Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs. They were 12th in yards and points per game. Injuries were part of the reason the group didn’t live up to its potential but Carr’s substandard play didn’t help.
Garoppolo has proven he can lead a top-five offense with the 49ers in the past and his weapons in Las Vegas are every bit as good, if not even better. He will able to pick up McDaniels’ system much quicker than Carr was able to. While the Raiders won’t have much of a vertical passing game, they should be able to gash teams with short-yardage plays.
Raiders Aren’t Done Adding QBs
Jarrett Stidham signed with the Denver Broncos so Garoppolo and Chase Garbers are the only quarterbacks on the Raiders roster right now. Garbers has never played in an NFL game. With Garoppolo’s injury history, Las Vegas needs to add a capable backup who can lead the team while he gets healthy.
The likely solution is the Raiders drafting a rookie at some point. They could still use a first-round pick on a player like Anthony Richardson. They could also wait until the second round to take Hendon Hooker. Regardless, they will almost certainly add another quarterback at some point in the draft.