Raiders & Derek Carr

Armchair GM: Fixing The Raiders’ QB Woes Post-Derek Carr

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Las Vegas Raiders will be looking for a new starting quarterback this offseason. After benching him for the two final games of the season, it’s clear that Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler are ready to move on from Derek Carr as the franchise signal-caller for the Raiders.

But who are they moving on to? And how do they get there? For a little while, many were confident that Tom Brady would be coming to the Raiders, but with his retirement announcement, that’s no longer on the table. So what now?

The Raiders have a good amount of draft capital and, upon parting ways with Carr, will have a generous amount of cap space as well. But their options for replacing Carr simply aren’t great.

The list of potential free agents seems decent at first glance. Then again, maybe not. If you believe, as I do, that Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones will not hit free agency, then suddenly the options aren’t very inspiring.

Raiders Offseason: Options In A Post-Derek Carr World

The biggest name and the one most likely to create a lot of buzz is Jimmy Garoppolo. “Jimmy G” played in New England when McDaniels was the offensive coordinator, so he knows the man and the system.

So what’s the problem? He’s just not very good. But given the QB market, he’s the kind of player who ends up getting massively overpaid because, while he isn’t very good, he’s still better than the options many teams currently have before them, the Raiders included.

That brings us to the next name that is likely to be tied to the Raiders: Jarrett Stidham. The backup for the Raiders is set to hit free agency after starting the final two games of the year. He played lights out in one of them and, well, pretty poorly in the other. His ties to the team and McDaniels are obvious, but he’s not as good as Garoppolo, and he is already a guy who doesn’t really move the needle.

That being said, Stidham is unlikely to cost anywhere near as much as Garoppolo. While he isn’t as good as the latter, I don’t think the difference between how they play on the field will be as dramatic as the difference between the size of the contract each one signs in free agency.

Jacoby Brissett replacing Derek Carr?

But I wouldn’t just stop with Stidham; I’d sign another lackluster free agent option: Jacoby Brissett. Now, before anyone loses it and thinks Brissett is a legitimate starter, please go back to the start of this paragraph and read it again.

Brissett isn’t a good option if your team is trying to win now. But he isn’t a bad option if your team is looking for a stopgap. He filled that role admirably last season, starting for the Cleveland Browns until Deshaun Watson was cleared to return. He wasn’t great and did not earn himself a starting opportunity, but he did show that he’s a very capable backup with starting experience.

And, yeah, he knows McDaniels and his system.

But all of that is just what I said—a stopgap.

The answer to the future at the QB position for the Raiders must be found in the draft.

Aaron Rodgers is not the answer for the Raiders anymore… 

Yes, I know many will point to the aging Aaron Rodgers as an option. Still, the fact of the matter is that it’s not a good one. Rodgers appeared to be a shell of his former self last season. In fact, we’ve seen in the past that players frequently fall off a cliff at the end of their careers. Rodgers may already be on his way down.

Plus, obtaining Rodgers means giving up draft picks and taking on Rodgers’ contract. That’s a lot of resources to put into an aging quarterback when the roster has holes everywhere that need to be addressed.

Having a rookie quarterback is valuable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that a good rookie quarterback is paid a wage that is far below their fair market value. That discount on an important position is a key way for teams to build a complete roster. Finding a quality quarterback in the draft is also a way to guarantee your team’s competitiveness for years to come, unlike trading for an aging vet who may not be around for much longer.

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2023 NFL Draft: Who should the Raiders target?

I’d urge you to ignore anyone who tells you they do. The draft is far from being an exact science. In fact, the NFL Draft is more akin to a state lottery than an exact science. And because of that, I’m a fan of playing the numbers and drafting more than one quarterback. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean taking one in the first round.

Perhaps the Raiders will prioritize defense and then turn their attention to the quarterback position once they are satisfied with the defense. Regardless of how they choose to build, one thing the Raiders absolutely should be doing is drafting multiple quarterbacks. It’s the most important position in football and using more than one draft pick to obtain a franchise quarterback is not a bad thing.

With this strategy, the Raiders would enter training camp with at least four quarterbacks. Two of them would be veterans who’d ideally compete for the backup job in 2023. Meanwhile, the two rookies would compete for the “franchise quarterback of the future” title.

And if it doesn’t work out? Well, you just keep drafting until it happens because you can’t win in the NFL without a good quarterback.

*Top Photo: AP Photo/Don Wright

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