Rumors Heat Up as Raiders Make Surprise $17 Million Jimmy Garoppolo Move

Jimmy Garoppolo has agreed to restructure his contract with the Raiders

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo has agreed to restructure his contract with the Raiders

On a day in which the Raiders’ news cycle went a bit haywire (thank you, Chandler Jones), the team closed out with some potentially good news, at least in the short term—the contract of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been restructured, according to ESPN’s Field Yates on September 5.

The new deal will free up $17 million in cap space this season, Yates reported, giving the Raiders the ability to bring on a significant player ahead of the league’s October 31 trade deadline.

That’s led to speculation about whether Dave Ziegler, the team’s general manager, has a maneuver up his sleeve in the coming days or weeks–though the deal could have been solely to get and keep the Raiders under the cap.

The only potential issue is that the restructured contract pushes money into next year, making it almost impossible for the team to move off of Garoppolo’s deal in 2024, if this season does not work out as planned or if he, as has been all too common in his career, suffers an injury.

In other words, those who are calling for the Raiders to bench Garoppolo and make preseason sensation Aidan O’Connell the starter will likely be disappointed. The Raiders are at least going to give Garoppolo a fair shake, which makes sense given that the team just gave him a three-year, $72.8 million contract in March.

Will the Raiders Make a Trade?

Of course, the move by the Raiders and Garoppolo has opened a trove of speculation as to how the team could spend its cap space. Holdout names like Nick Bosa and Chris Jones have been mentioned–by fans, it should be noted–but the Raiders don’t have that much money on hand, though they could use help on the defensive line.

Other top-shelf players who could potentially hit the trade market are running back (Jonathan Taylor), where the Raiders just reworked the deal of Josh Jacobs and wide receiver (Mike Evans, Stefon Diggs), where the Raiders are already deep.

If a deal is to be made, the Raiders are more likely to look to boost their linebackers, which is thin at the top and thin at the bottom, or their defensive secondary. Both groups were ranked 30th in the league in Pro Football Focus’ unit rankings this week.

But it’s possible the tinkering with Garoppolo’s contract was done to facilitate a trade of Chandler Jones, who fired off a series of Instagram posts on Tuesday, September 5, expressing his frustration with Ziegler and Josh McDaniels, and saying he did not want to play for the Raiders anymore.

Garoppolo Sticking Around in Las Vegas

In the complicated universe of NFL contract restructures, one aspect of moving money around in the short term is that it tends to tie a team to the player in the longer term. That’s likely the case with Garoppolo.

That might come as a disappointment to those who hoped to see the Raiders turn to rookie passer O’Connell as soon as this season. O’Connell had an amazing preseason in which he threw for 482 yards in three games, completing 69.2% of his passes with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

He had a sterling quarterback rating of 108.4 in the three August games.

Garoppolo landed in Las Vegas after six rocky years in San Francisco, where he never quite gained the confidence of coaches or management and started just 55 of the 98 games for which he was eligible, missing 43 games because of injury or benching. He began his career in New England, where he was Tom Brady’s backup, and played for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, now the Raiders’ coach.