Las Vegas Raiders ‘expected’ to pursue surprise Derek Carr replacement

The Las Vegas Raiders are reportedly expected to pursue Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency as the franchise looks to solve its quarterback issues. The Raiders dramatically benched now-free agent Derek Carr late in the disappointing 2022 campaign and are set to address the position this offseason. 

The Raiders finished 2022 with a dismal 6-11 record after entering the season with high expectations given the offseason moves made to sign superstar receiver Davante Adams. Rookie head coach Josh McDaniels – who won six Super Bowls as an assistant coach in New England – is already under mounting pressure to deliver in a competitive AFC West.

At the top of McDaniels’ list this offseason is to decide what direction the Raiders are going to move in regarding the quarterback position. The franchise have been heavily linked with a move for four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, who has an incredible relationship with Adams and appears set to leave the Green Bay Packers after 18 seasons. 

However, The Athletic recently reported McDaniels and Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler have agreed to not enter the Rodgers sweepstakes as the franchise cannot afford to give up the high draft picks necessary to complete a move for the Packers veteran. The Raiders will reportedly look at multiple alternatives if they don’t land Rodgers this offseason – including a surprise move for free agent Garoppolo.  

Many at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis expect the Raiders to pursue Garoppolo in free agency as a cheap alternative. McDaniels knows the former San Francisco 49ers signal-caller from his time with the Patriots, where Garoppolo served as the backup to Tom Brady.

Garoppolo thrived under McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick, throwing for 264 yards and 234 yards as well as four touchdowns as he led the Pats to wins in the opening two 2016 contests before suffering an AC joint injury. After impressing during his limited appearances, Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers and led the team to the Super Bowl. 

Garoppolo appeared set to leave San Francisco ahead of the 2022 season but he agreed a one-year deal to stay with the team with Trey Lance expected to take the reins. However, Lance suffered a broken ankle in Week 2, allowing for the 31-year-old to be the starter before he suffered what would prove to be a season-ending injury against the Miami Dolphins in Week 13. 

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The Raiders have been linked with a sensational move for current Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, who worked with McDaniels when he was the offensive coordinator in New England during his impressive rookie season in 2021. After leading the Pats to the playoffs and being named to the Pro Bowl, the 24-year-old struggled under poor offensive staff. 

According to ESPN, it is reportedly ‘unlikely’ the Patriots would consider moving the 2021 first round pick although the scenario isn’t impossible given the form of 2022 rookie Bailey Zappe when he had the opportunity to start after Jones suffered an ankle injury. Jones could still return to form in New England under new OC Bill O’Brien in 2023. 

Las Vegas also have interest in re-signing Jarrett Stidham and pairing him with a first-round pick at the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft next month. Following Carr’s benching late in the regular season, Stidham – in his first NFL start – threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns in an overtime loss to the 49ers.

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