Quarterback options for the Las Vegas Raiders are becoming more and more limited. When the team first benched Derek Carr, the thought was that they’d go after Tom Brady in free agency before he decided to retire from the NFL. In recent weeks, it was sounding like Las Vegas was going to draft a quarterback in the first round. However, the Carolina Panthers jumped ahead of the Raiders by trading for the No. 1 overall pick and will almost certainly use it to draft a quarterback.
This might not be the best year for the team to find a quarterback in the draft. Jimmy Garoppolo has been one of the quarterbacks most heavily linked to the Raiders due to his familiarity with Josh McDaniels. The two worked together for a little over three years with the New England Patriots. With options limited, Garoppolo could be the best the team can do right now. Pro Football Focus is predicting the Raiders to end up with the nine-year veteran:
While Garoppolo has obvious deficiencies, he’s a timing and rhythm quarterback who has experience working with head coach Josh McDaniels and can let the Raiders’ bevy of receiving weapons go to work in space. Garoppolo’s 8.3 yards per attempt over the past three seasons ranks second, and his 2.53-second average time to throw puts him among the fastest quarterbacks over the span. He brings a high floor and is significantly cheaper than Carr was going to be over the next season or two.
Raiders Will Still Add Young QB if Garoppolo Is Signed
Garoppolo isn’t the most exciting option to replace Carr. It’s fair to question if he’d be any sort of upgrade over the previous starter. While PFF says he’ll be significantly cheaper than Carr, that may not even be true. It’s possible that Garoppolo will earn a contract that pays him in the $30+ million a year range.
If the Raiders go this route, they must take a quarterback at some point in the draft and perhaps also re-sign Jarrett Stidham. Garoppolo has never proven he can consistently stay healthy. He’s missed 18 combined regular season games due to injury over the past three seasons. He was able to play 15 games in 2021 but had to get surgery after the season. If injuries weren’t such a concern, he’d be a solid bridge quarterback option but the Raiders can’t rely on him. They’ll have to add a rookie at some point in the draft as an insurance policy.
McDaniels Won’t Draft a QB Just to Draft a QB
The Raiders still sit with the No. 7 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and have yet to show interest in trading up. There’s a chance they stand pat and wait to see how the board falls. If a quarterback they love falls to them, they’ll take him but McDaniels isn’t going to take a quarterback if he isn’t completely sold on him.
“I have confidence in our ability to evaluate and scout the position,” McDaniels told The Athletic during the NFL Scouting Combine. “When we find the right one or two, we’ll figure out if we have an opportunity to add them to our team. If we don’t, we don’t, but you’d like to believe there’d be a way to do that.”
It’s possible the Raiders might kick the can down the road in regards to finding a long-term solution at quarterback.