Free agency still won’t start for a while, but the Las Vegas Raiders have already been linked to pretty much every quarterback available. Tom Brady seems to be the one that the team has the most interest in bringing in. However, it still remains to be seen if he’ll really consider leaving New England. Another quarterback that the Raiders have been linked to is Jameis Winston.
Longtime NFL insider Peter King wrote a piece for Pro Football Talk and dropped an interesting nugget about a potential Raiders-Winston pairing:
“The Raiders could be aggressive [in the quarterback market], and I would not be surprised, if they don’t sign Brady, to see them in the Winston market if he’s free.”
Winston was the number one overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 and while he led the NFL in passing yards in 2019, the team could be looking to move on. While Winston is capable of putting up monster passing yards and touchdown numbers, he is also a turnover machine.
Winston Would Probably Fail in Las Vegas
The rumblings of the Raiders’ interest in Winston seem bizarre considering Jon Gruden values quarterbacks who don’t turn the ball over. He’s fresh off of a season where he was the first quarterback to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. You want to turn Gruden’s face red really fast? Average almost two interceptions a game over a whole season. The coach may find the idea of “fixing” the former top quarterback prospect romantic, but how much quarterback fixing has Gruden actually done in his career?
Outside of Rich Gannon, the coach really hasn’t done much to prove he can get the best out of a quarterback. Derek Carr almost won an NFL MVP in 2016 and now that he’s under Gruden, he looks like a shell of his former self. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Winston to the Raiders makes sense for the team. He had an amazing wide receiver corps in 2019 and still led the NFL in interceptions. There may be better options than Derek Carr for the Raiders in 2020, but it’s not Winston.
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Raiders to Go After Tua Tagovailoa If He Falls?
One thing that could make draft day very interesting for the Raiders is if Tua Tagovailoa falls in the draft. He was supposed to be the number one quarterback prospect heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, but a nasty hip injury derailed his season and hurt his draft status. King pegged the Raiders as a team that could take him if he falls in the draft:
“A bunch of teams could theoretically jump Miami (picking fifth) in the first round if Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert becomes the object of affection between now and the draft. Teams at 6 (Chargers), 7 (Panthers), 12 (Raiders) or 13 (Colts) all might be tempted. But Miami, with four picks in the top 40, could trump them all. I doubt Miami exits this draft without a quarterback it likes very much.”
It certainly would be tempting for the Raiders if Tua was available at number 12. If that happened, the team could get the best quarterback in the draft at a discount. Obviously, he still needs to prove he’s going to be able to return to form, but it may be worth the risk for the Raiders considering they could sit him behind Derek Carr for a year or two. It’s unlikely to happen, but the Raiders should give serious thought to taking Tua if he does fall.