Raiders Make Final Decision on $72 Million Free Agent Bust

tom telesco

Getty Las Vegas Raiders GM Tom Telesco.

After just six starts with the team, the Las Vegas Raiders are already moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo. According to a March 12 X post from The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, the team is planning to cut the quarterback soon.

The news that the Raiders are going to cut Garoppolo isn’t a surprise. It’s been expected since the news last month that he’ll be suspended for two games next season for violating the league’s Performance Enhancing Substances Policy. Garoppolo signed a three-year, $72.75 million contract with Las Vegas last season but it quickly became clear he wasn’t going to work out.

The quarterback dealt with injuries early on before getting benched in favor of Aidan O’Connell. Now that Josh McDaniels is no longer the head coach, Garoppolo is no longer a fit. By cutting the quarterback, the Raiders will open up nearly $11.3 million in salary cap space. The team is revamping their quarterback room with Brian Hoyer also getting cut. Garoppolo was once considered a viable starter but it appears his injury issues are starting to catch up to him. With the Raiders signing Gardner Minshew, there was no reason for them to keep him around. It’ll be interesting to see if Garoppolo will land on his feet.

Which Teams Could Be Interested in Jimmy Garoppolo?

The Raiders don’t have a set starting quarterback right now so the fact that they are moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t bode well for his value around the NFL. Garoppolo led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance but his stock is taking a big hit.

At the time of his benching last season, he was leading the NFL with nine interceptions. While it’s unlikely a team will sign him to be the unquestioned starter this offseason, he should still have some suitors. The Minnesota Vikings could be a team to watch. They just signed Sam Darnold but he hasn’t proven enough to suggest that he’ll be the starter.

Garoppolo is likely around the same level of quarterback as Darnold at this point in his career but he’s won a lot of games in the past. A reunion with the New England Patriots may also make sense. Garoppolo is also familiar with Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel. He could make sense as a backup to Tua Tagovailoa.

What’s Next for Aidan O’Connell?

Aidan O’Connell is set to be the only returning quarterback from last season. Despite finishing the season 3-1 while throwing eight touchdowns to zero interceptions in that stretch, the Raiders don’t seem to be confident in the idea of having him start.

Gardner Minshew should be the favorite to start as of right now. The Raiders are giving him $25 million over two years which isn’t quite starter money but it’s also rich for a backup. Now, that doesn’t mean O’Connell has no chance of starting next season.

Head coach Antonio Pierce may have a soft spot for the young quarterback. There’s also a strong chance the Raiders will draft a quarterback early this year. Until the draft is finished, it’s difficult to know who will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2024 but they are very likely to go into training camp without a clear answer regardless.

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