The Las Vegas Raiders were expected to make a splashy move at quarterback this offseason but they eventually landed on signing Jimmy Garoppolo. While he’s a solid quarterback, his injury history and lack of explosive playmaking ability made him an underwhelming signing. After it was revealed that the quarterback isn’t practicing right now due to offseason foot surgery, it turned people very sour on the signing.
The Raiders were able to secure a clause in his contract that allows them to cut him without any penalty if he can’t pass a physical. Head coach Josh McDaniels appears to believe that this is a non-issue but it’s still something to keep an eye on. According to ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez, there is still a chance Garoppolo never suits up for the Raiders:
With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined as he recovers from surgery to his left foot that took place after he signed with Las Vegas in March, Raider Nation turns its eyes to Brian Hoyer, Aidan O’Connell and Chase Garbers. While Las Vegas bet on Garoppolo being ready for training camp, there remains a possibility that he never plays for the Raiders, meaning minicamp will give the 14-year vet (Hoyer), the fourth-round draft pick (O’Connell) or the second-year pro who has yet to take an NFL snap (Garbers) a leg up on the competition.
What if Garoppolo Doesn’t Play?
The Raiders are in serious trouble if Garoppolo can’t play at the start of the season. If that happens, his contract will almost certainly be terminated. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play for the Raiders. They could cut him and greatly re-work his contract. That may be the only option they have as Tom Brady has confirmed he’s not coming out of retirement.
There’s a scenario where Brian Hoyer is the Week 1 starter for the Raiders. If that happens, they can essentially kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. The defense is not good enough to carry a team starting a backup quarterback. The Raiders really need Garoppolo back on the field as soon as possible if they hope to be competitive at all this season.
QB Options if Garoppolo Is Out
If it’s looking like Garoppolo won’t be ready to play, the Raiders would be wise to add another veteran quarterback. There are still some decent options on the market. Carson Wentz is probably the most talented. He’s been a Pro Bowler but has fallen on hard times in recent years. He sometimes looks like a decent starter but looks unplayable at other times. Regardless, he might be worth taking a risk on if Garoppolo can’t play.
Teddy Bridgewater could be an interesting player to take a flyer on. Similar to Garoppolo, he doesn’t make a lot of throws down the field and has an extensive injury history but he’s a solid player when he’s healthy. The Raiders likely wouldn’t win a lot of games with Bridgewater or Wentz starting but they’d have a better chance at keeping the offense moving. If Davante Adams is going to have to play for a losing team, at least give him a quarterback who can get him the ball at a decent rate.