The Las Vegas Raiders raised eyebrows this offseason with several of their moves. Chief among them was when they suddenly traded Darren Waller to the New York Giants. Waller had signed a contract extension the offseason prior, so shocking was an understatement. Nonetheless, Giants general manager Joe Schoen revealed details behind the deal for the tight end.
With Waller gone, Josh Jacobs is a player the Raiders will lean on this 2023 season. However, there’s one problem—the Alabama product isn’t at training camp. Jacobs has yet to sign his franchise tag, and NFL analyst Brian Baldinger explains why this could hurt Jimmy Garoppolo.
There’s plenty of news regarding the Silver and Black, so let’s jump into the latest.
Giants GM Joe Schoen knew when Darren Waller was available…
When Las Vegas released Derek Carr in February, it was likely a sign for other NFL teams. The move signaled to the rest of the league that the franchise was open for business. As a result, the Giants inquired about Waller, which eventually led to the trade.
Schoen shared when he actually began talking to Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler during a Thursday appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. Furthermore, the Giants’ general manager notes what he saw in Waller that made him trigger a trade.
“It was probably early March,” Schoen told Eisen. “[I] Had a talk with Dave Ziegler, the GM of the Raiders, and we kind of talked through some guys that may be available, and I asked about him, and he said, ‘Well, I might listen.’ And we continued to communicate up until the trade was consummated.
“But, yeah, he was a guy that’s getting that position. He’s talented. He’s almost the unicorn in terms of his size, his athleticism. He would be one of the best receivers on a lot of teams. So, yeah, [a] good addition for us. He’s been an outstanding person, worker, [and] leader out there, and he’s strung together some pretty good days here at camp so far.”
The trade took little time to transpire. If talks began in early March, both teams pulled the trigger for the Waller trade on March 14. The quick manner in which the Raiders moved on from Waller might explain the lack of fit. Las Vegas jumped on a reasonable swap that allowed them to go and find a tight end that fits head coach Josh McDaniels’ system.
Afterward, the franchise drafted Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Mayer probably fits what McDaniels wants in a tight end and is cheaper than Waller. When you factor in Waller’s injury issues, the decline in his health and availability led to his plummeting production.
Still, both players will be intertwined from now on, considering Mayer is replacing Waller.
Will Josh Jacobs’ absence affect Jimmy Garoppolo?
Although the Raiders replaced Waller, someone they likely cannot replace is Jacobs. NBC Sports’ Chris Simms recently had a theory about why the Raiders are open to talks with Jacobs. Simms believes the Silver and Black are seeing their offense is not the same without the current rushing champion.
As a result, reports over the franchise’s desire to have Jacobs at training camp have surfaced. Jacobs’ absence isn’t only affecting the run game. Baldinger notes that not having a proper run game could hurt Garoppolo’s effectiveness for the Raiders.
The veteran quarterback had a quality run game with the San Francisco 49ers. Garoppolo’s ability to lean on his running backs and not having to shoulder all the offensive responsibilities was a recipe for success. If the Raiders want to replicate that formula, Baldinger believes the team needs Jacobs in training camp.
“Look, when Jimmy was [the] quarterback in San Francisco, Mike McDaniel was the run game coordinator,” Baldinger told Moe Moton on a recent episode of Silver & Black Today. “Mike said, ‘I’m going to show you how to run the ball, and I’ll show you the running backs that could run. So, Jimmy could hand it off to Raheem Mostert, I mean, on and on and on. The guys that went through there.
Jimmy is a good quarterback. He’s smart. He knows where to go tomorrow. He’s a good practice guy. He’s a good team guy. All that stuff is right. But, man, it’s a whole lot easier if you can hand it off to Josh Jacobs on third and three and not have to get Davante [Adams] free when they know it’s going to him. He’s important. They got to get him in there.”
The 31-year-old will get the football to the playmakers. However, asking him to operate without a running game is a tall task. Jimmy Garoppolo can win games, but at the end of the day, he’s there to manage the offense. He won’t do what Patrick Mahomes or any other elite quarterback does.
Ok, Raider Nation, let’s hear it—do you agree with Baldinger’s take? If Josh Jacobs decides to miss regular season games, how confident will you be in the running game to compliment “Jimmy G”?
*Top Photo: Fan Nation/Raiders Today