NFL Should ‘Pressure’ Raiders to Release $72 Million Benched Star: Insider

champ kelly antonio pierce

Getty Champ Kelly & Antonio Pierce of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Aidan O’Connell has won back-to-back games since being named the Las Vegas Raiders‘ starting quarterback for the rest of the season. It doesn’t look like he’ll be giving up the spot to former starter Jimmy Garoppolo anytime soon.

While Garoppolo was struggling for the Raiders this season, he could be an upgrade at quarterback for a number of teams. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin floated the idea of the NFL getting involved to allow Garoppolo to hit free agency.

“With injuries piling up and a dearth of decent QBs around the league, the NFL should quietly pressure the Raiders to release Jimmy G if they aren’t going to play him. He’d be a good fit for the Giants, but the Raiders are squatting on him,” Volin wrote in a November 14 post on X.

Garoppolo has a $55.3 million dead salary cap hit so that’d be a big ask by the NFL. Volin mentioned the New York Giants as a possible fit, but why would the Raiders take on all that dead money to help a 2-8 team? While the hope is for O’Connell to start the rest of the season, Garoppolo has value as a backup, especially with the Raiders in the playoff mix at 5-5.

Aidan O’Connell Talks Week 10 Win

Aidan O’Connell’s stats in the last two wins aren’t overly impressive. He’s thrown for 362 yards with one touchdown and an interception. However, he’s been doing enough to lead the team to back-to-back wins.

Though the Week 10 16-12 win over the New York Jets wasn’t the prettiest, O’Connell did just enough to keep the team from losing.

“It was a tough game. It was up and down, and obviously, we were down and had to come back,” O’Connell said during his November 12 postgame media availability.

“The second half was up and down. Even each drive, there were ups and downs, getting second and short and then a penalty, or a bad play by us, or a negative play on first-and-10 and behind the stick. So, it was kind of just all over the place and definitely not a super clean performance from us.”

O’Connell knows how hard it is to win in the NFL and isn’t going to take any win for granted.

“But it’s really hard to win in the National Football League, as I’m learning,” he added. “I’m just really proud of our guys. Our defense and special teams did an awesome job keeping us in the game for a while. And then a lot of the guys on offense stepped up to make plays when they needed to.”

Davante Adams Praises Aidan O’Connell

The Raiders’ offense was stagnant under Garoppolo, which was a source of frustration for star wide receiver Davante Adams. He said he’s been very impressed with O’Connell so far this season.

“It was impressive, man. He’s as cool as the other side of the pillow,” Adams said during his postgame media availability. “Dude is not a rookie. By years he is, but by action — and like you said, that poise that he has in those types of situations, you don’t see that often from a rookie quarterback.

“Like I said last week, the way he commands the huddle, the way he talks to us, the communication and confidence. Throw a pick down there early on in the game and the way he bounced back is impressive. So, I’m glad he is our guy.”

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