There is no position in professional sports that is more important than quarterback, and if you’re a fan of the Las Vegas Raiders, you’re feeling the weight of that reality in full this off-season. Having decided to move on from Derek Carr, I’ve suggested that the Raiders have three potential pathways in front of them: they can go star chasing, they can make a lateral move to a Carr-level quarterback, or they can bite the bullet and look to the future.
Earlier this week, I looked at the pros and cons of chasing a star quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, and today we move to option number two and a group of guys I consider to be a sideways move from Carr. These are quarterbacks who are in the same tier as the former Raiders quarterback, and they’re guys that would present an alternative route to drafting and developing a future guy. This is trying to win on a budget in my mind — and the question is whether or not this route makes any sense.
Before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s identify the type of guys we’re talking about in this tier: Daniel Jones, Jimmy Garoppolo and Geno Smith. They’re all guys who are among the 30 best quarterbacks in the world, but they’re not guys who are going to be the reason you win as much as they’re trying not to be the reason you lose.
Of these three, it seems unlikely that Jones and Smith ever really make it to free agency as I find it hard to believe that either of their organizations would let them walk, which leads us to Garoppolo as the most realistic option. Of course, Jimmy G has a notable history with Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels from his time in New England, so the rumored interest here makes some sense. So let’s look at the arguments for or against a Jimmy G-type quarterback…
The argument for is pretty straightforward: you know what you’re getting here. It’s not an earth-shattering move, but you guarantee yourself some competence at a critical position. Add in the familiarity between McDaniels and Garoppolo, and maybe you feel like you’re getting somewhere, right?
For his career, Jimmy G has an astonishing record as a starter: 40-17, a 99.6 quarterback rating and an 87:42 touchdown to interception ratio. On paper, it’s hard to argue with any of that!
You may notice that isn’t very many starts for a guy who is 31! In six seasons in San Francisco, he has started just 55 games due to a litany of different injuries. In 2018 it was a torn ACL, ankle injuries in 2020, calf and thumb injuries in 2021 and then a broken foot in 2022. Despite all of this, he’s probably going to be well compensated this offseason — and while there isn’t any draft capital necessary to acquire him, he isn’t exactly free.
So should the Raiders take the plunge? For me, this is yet another hard pass.
Garoppolo is unquestionably a step down from Carr, in my opinion, and while the cost might be $10 million less than Carr, I just don’t see the upside here. If Carr couldn’t get this team to the playoffs, I don’t see Jimmy being the difference maker — plus you’re paying for a guy who has shown no ability to be available. For all the negatives you might see in Carr, the guy never missed games — and I think Raiders fans have taken that for granted.
For me, when you decide to move on from Carr, there’s only one pathway forward: a new long-term plan, not a short-term fix. Sorry, Jimmy.