The off season is officially upon us. Free Agency is on the horizon and begins March 17th. After cutting ties with nine year incumbent Derek Carr; Las Vegas is on the hunt for its next signal caller.
While most of Raider Nation will be hoping for the most talented player or biggest name available to fill the position, I feel that a smart and calculated approach is necessary to find the correct fit. There are many talented QBs in this year’s free agent class but a select few could really make for a smooth transition and potential bridge to the QB of the future.
Josh McDaniels’ scheme is highly complex and takes some time for even the most talented QBs to grasp. Derek Carr had obvious struggles mastering the scheme through 2022 which ultimately led to his departure from the Raiders.
A few Quarterbacks who are proficient in the McDaniels scheme happen to be available in free agency this year and one may also be available via trade.
● Jimmy Garoppolo-
The 49ers made their intentions of moving on from Garoppolo clear last off season when they drafted former North Dakota State QB Trey Lance. Later in the year rookie QB Brock Purdy stepped in when Lance and Garoppolo both went down with injuries and proved to be a more than suitable option at QB. This left Garoppolo as the odd man out. Through his career Garoppolo has proven to be a solid game manager when healthy. His history in New England and with Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels makes him one of the most likely options at QB for the Raiders.
● Mac Jones-
Mac Jones excelled in Josh McDaniels scheme in 2021 and regressed in 2022 upon the departure of McDaniels. Jones is still under contract in New England but after his struggles last season and the potential shown by New England backup QB Bailey Zappe the Patriots may be persuaded to ship Jones to Vegas for the right offer. This gives Vegas a young QB with a ton of potential and a full season under McDaniels.
● Jarrett Stidham-
When Derek Carr was benched last season backup Jarrett Stidham stepped in and had a phenomenal performance in a classic OT game against San Francisco. He amassed 365 yards and tossed 3 TDs against the number one defense in the NFL at the time. However the next week against the Chiefs, Stidham and the Raiders were brought back to earth as Stidham posted a pedestrian 219 yards and a single touchdown as the Raiders were routed by their rival and eventual super bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Stidham would provide a measure of continuity and understanding of the system in 2023.
Now if the Raiders can land a superstar like Aaron Rodgers then I believe they should absolutely make that move. Rodgers is the kind of player who could speed up the learning curve of any scheme. Maybe you see three or four weeks of uncertainty but after that it should be smooth sailing for the multiple time MVP award winner and his cast of all pro weapons in my opinion.