Much was made about the Las Vegas Raiders‘ quarterback opening this offseason. The team was linked to many names, including Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson. The team ended up settling on Jimmy Garoppolo but it doesn’t appear they view him as a long-term option.
The Raiders continue to be linked to quarterbacks in the draft and have met with all of the top prospects. They view Garoppolo as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. However, they might not even be completely sold on Garoppolo being the starting quarterback this season. There’s a chance the team could move up and get one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. That could lead to the Raiders already having a quarterback competition. General manager Dave Ziegler would actually prefer to have a competition at quarterback this offseason.
“Yeah, I think we’re open to have a competition at the quarterback position and every other position on the roster,” Ziegler said during his April 21 media availability. “Just philosophically the way that Josh and I believe that we’re going build this roster is any opportunity that we have a chance to improve the competition — and if that means at the quarterback position that there’s a competition there — we think that brings out the best of our players.”
Garoppolo the Likely Week 1 Starter
The Raiders are going to keep the door open for any possibility but they didn’t give Garoppolo a $72.75 million contract so that he could ride the bench. There are ways for them to get off of his contract after the season but it’s difficult to envision a scenario where Garoppolo isn’t the starter at the beginning of the 2023 season.
The only way that doesn’t happen is if the Raiders draft a rookie quarterback who is way further along than expected. It’s possible to see a scenario where a player like C.J. Stroud could convince the team he needs to start immediately. If the team went after Will Levis or Anthony Richardson, Garoppolo’s chances of keeping the starting job in 2023 are much higher.
Ziegler Expresses Importance of Having an Open Mind
Ziegler’s comments weren’t meant to be a slight toward Garoppolo. The team is excited to have him and believes he’s a starting-caliber player. However, it doesn’t do the Raiders any favors to have a closed mind about this. The Chiefs likely wish they started Patrick Mahomes as a rookie instead of riding with Alex Smith. Ziegler plans to keep an open mind.
“Anytime you can find a young player at that position that’s going to have an impact on your team, you have to keep an open mind to that,” Ziegler said. “Of course, we’re excited to have Jimmy. And having Jimmy does supply us with a very high-quality starting player on the position, so we feel comfortable with that, but I think to close that door and just say that that’s not something you would do because of X, Y and Z, that’s not the business that we’re in.”
Things could be very interesting for the Raiders if they decide to draft a quarterback. Garoppolo’s injury history is also a reason why the team may be keen on adding a rookie quarterback.