The Las Vegas Raiders aren’t overly concerned about Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury. Head coach Josh McDaniels made it clear that he’s confident that the quarterback be ready to play once the season starts. However, setbacks do happen and Garoppolo has an extensive injury history.
If he misses all of training camp, it would definitely be time for the Raiders to be concentered. Brian Hoyer, Aidan O’Connell and Chase Garbers are the other quarterbacks on the roster but aren’t wise choices to be starters this season. Luckily for the Raiders, there are some veteran quarterbacks still available in free agency. Tom Brady has been talked about a lot but he reaffirmed that he’s not coming out of retirement.
Perhaps another former MVP could be on the team’s radar. Matt Ryan has one foot out of the NFL after taking a broadcasting job with CBS but he said that he’s still not technically retired. Playing with Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs might be enough to convince him to play one more year. John Breech of CBS Sports listed Ryan as one of the fits to replace Garoppolo if he can’t play.
“The former NFL MVP is now working with us here at CBS Sports and although he’s not retired, the Raiders would probably have to make an extremely generous contract offer to lure him back to the NFL,” Breech wrote.
Can Matt Ryan Still Be Effective?
Ryan isn’t the player he once was. Last season was his worst year as a pro where he threw 14 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. The former MVP is 38 now and is clearly nearing retirement. That said, the Indianapolis Colts were a mess last season and were even worse when he wants on the field.
The Raiders aren’t exactly the best team in the NFL but they do have elite offensive weapons for Ryan to utilize. He likely wouldn’t lead Las Vegas to the playoffs but he’d be an upgrade over what the team has behind Garoppolo. He might be worth taking a flyer on if the Raiders’ only other option is starting Brian Hoyer.
Aidan O’Connell Impressing at OTAs
The idea of the Raiders starting rookie fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell this year seems impossible to believe. His immobility makes it difficult to start him right now. He has to be an elite pocket passer to be effective but it’s likely going to take time to get used to NFL speed.
However, he has already been impressive at Raiders practice. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, O’Connell was making some “big-league” throws at practice.
Obviously, it’s just practice in the beginning of June so it doesn’t mean much but the Raiders are clearly high on the young quarterback. They traded up to get him in the fourth round and didn’t add another quarterback earlier. O’Connell still has a lot more to show the team before they’d even consider playing him over Hoyer but it’s a good sign that he’s playing well. Brock Purdy proved last year that a late-round rookie quarterback can come in and play well as a rookie. Is O’Connell the next Purdy? That remains to be seen but he’s off to a good start.