Raiders HC Josh McDaniels, Jimmy Garoppolo Can't Go?

3 QB Options For Josh McDaniels If Jimmy Garoppolo Can’t Play

You’ve read just about every scenario when it comes to Jimmy Garoppolo by now. Still, the Las Vegas Raiders could be in serious trouble if said quarterback isn’t ready to go.

Since the 2014 NFL season, the Raiders have never had to worry about who was starting at quarterback. The answer was always Derek Carr, as he started 142 games for the Raiders in nine seasons.

However, with only two playoff appearances in that time span and being benched at the end of last season due to poor play, the Raiders were looking past Carr. So, this offseason, the organization released Carr after being unable to trade him.

Las Vegas quickly turned its attention to the quarterback market, adding Jimmy Garoppolo on a three-year deal. Yet, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as there’s a waiver in his contract that, due to his surgery on his injured foot, the Raiders can release him without paying him if he doesn’t pass his physical before the season.

It might not be as serious as people are making it out to be, but just in case, the Raiders might want to look into a backup plan if Garoppolo doesn’t work out. So here are three quarterback options for the Raiders (not including Tom Brady).

Josh McDaniels Keeps It In-House

It’s not the preferred option, but the Raiders could just stick with who they have on the roster, and that’s veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Aidan O’Connell.

Hoyer is not a guy who will win you a Super Bowl, but he is a serviceable quarterback who will win you some games. He’s only started the majority of a season twice in his career: in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns (13 starts) and in 2015 with the Houston Texans (9 starts). Hoyer combined for 5,932 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions in those two seasons.

The other option is O’Connell, the Raiders fourth-round draft pick from this year’s NFL Draft. O’Connell was a two-year starter at Purdue, combining for 7,202 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions in his final two seasons with the Boilermakers.

It should be noted that O’Connell spent six years at Purdue, not playing his first two seasons in college. The rookie is seen as the long-term option for the Raiders; he can develop into a starter but might be thrown into the fire sooner.

Raiders Could Sign A Free Agent

The second option is for the Raiders to turn to the free agency market. The only issue is that it’s VERY scarce. The best three players left are Carson Wentz, Teddy Bridgewater, and Matt Ryan.

Wentz was on his third team in three seasons, hoping to turn things around in Washington. He started the season strong, throwing for over 300 yards in three of the first five games. However, an injury sidelined him, and the Commanders stuck with Taylor Heinicke when Wentz returned.

Since returning from his injuries in Minnesota, Bridgewater has struggled to remain a starter. He started two straight years in 2020 and 2021 for the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos but didn’t last in either place despite throwing for over 3,000 yards and 15 touchdowns in both seasons.

Ryan clearly isn’t the same player he was when he was starting in Atlanta, as evident from his poor play last season with the Indianapolis Colts. Despite completing 67% of his passes and throwing for over 3,000 yards, Ryan had 14 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, along with just four wins under his belt.

With a great wide receiver in Davante Adams and a strong run game to rely on, any of these three QBs can do well with the Raiders.

Trade For Someone?

The Raiders can trade for a quarterback if the other two options don’t pan out. Plenty of teams have viable options on their depth chart that could be starters in the NFL if given the opportunity. Three players that could be on the move are Jameis Winston, Bailey Zappe, and Trey Lance.

Winston emerged from Saints training camp as the starter in back-to-back seasons before injuries derailed him in 2021, and he was benched in favor of Andy Dalton in 2022. In 10 starts over the last two seasons, the former No. 1 overall pick threw for 2,028 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

At 29 years old, Winston still has plenty of gas left in the tank.

Maybe the Raiders can revisit the Patriots’ pipeline…

The Raiders might need to wait until the end of training camp to see if Zappe is available. He could possibly become the starter for the Patriots. Zappe was the third-string quarterback in New England before injuries forced him into the limelight.

Zappe won both of his starts, in which the Patriots scored the most and second most points on the year. For the season, Zappe completed 70.7% of his passes and threw for 781 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions. Zappe is young, and the Raiders can make him the future of the franchise.

Las Vegas might have to give up more than they would like for Lance. Still, it could pay off in the long run. Lance has not had many opportunities since being drafted in 2021. In fact, he started just four games and played in eight. At the same time, he has shown flashes of success in the league.

For his career, he’s thrown for 797 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions. On top of that, Lance has 54 carries for 235 yards and one touchdown. An injury derailed his season last year as he entered Week 1 as the starter. But now, with the emergence of Brock Purdy, Lance is the odd man out.

Similar to Zappe, Lance could be the quarterback of the future in Las Vegas.

*Top Photo: AP Photo/John Locher

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