Las Vegas Raiders Offseason
Bringing in a new head coach, Davante Adams, and Chandler Jones was supposed to usher in a new era of Las Vegas Raiders football. One that was looking to compete with the division’s elite quarterbacks. A year and six wins later, and they’ve found themselves at a crossroads.
Veteran quarterback Derek Carr has found himself in the French Quarter. His former team’s direction hangs in the balance of head coach Josh McDaniels. If the first month of the offseason is any indication, the new-look Raiders will reek of New England clam chowder. McDaniels is calling the shots. Will the Patriot way work out west?
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1 year, $10.091 million
3 years, $72.75 million, $33.75 M guaranteed
3 years, $33 million, $21 M guaranteed
2 years, $12 million, $7.755 M guaranteed
2 years, $7 million, $4.245 M guaranteed
1 year, $1.2175 million
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NO, 4 years, $150 million, $60 M guaranteed
NYG, 3rd-round pick (100th overall)
DEN, 2 years, $10 million, $5 M guaranteed
ATL, 1 year, $2.5 million, $0.91 M guaranteed
SF, 1 year, $2.5 million, $1.82 M guaranteed
If it wasn’t obvious already, there are a lot of former Patriots in the additions part of the table. McDaniels’ success was perpetual in New England, but untangling his influence on the offense is like separating chocolate syrup from milk. Las Vegas’ offseason is an experiment on familiarity at football’s highest level.
That, of course, starts at the quarterback position. Former Tom Brady backup Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t won in quite the same fashion, but he’s carved out a respectable career for himself. He too is hard to separate from the coaching he’s been privy to. A strong 2023 season would go a long way in boosting the public opinion of Garoppolo.
If McDaniels can rekindle the fire they shared during their New England days, there’s potential here for immediate success. That doesn’t mean truly competing with the Kansas City Chiefs or Los Angeles Chargers, but not having them play Ring Around the Rosie before scoring is a start.
A Strong Supporting Cast
Furthermore, McDaniels has done Garoppolo two favors. First, he’s surrounded him with former Patriots that he’s coached to success. Jakobi Meyers was the best receiver on that Patriots roster for some time, and while he struggled to find the end zone, he provides Las Vegas with consistency and nuance at the Z receiver spot.
Speedster Phillip Dorsett may be viewed as a first-round bust and a victim of the Ryan Grigson era in Indianapolis, but he saw a career-high in touchdowns under McDaniels. He should be a capable depth receiver that can stretch the field vertically.
Secondly, Las Vegas already has some dudes on offense. Adams is still amongst the league’s elite at wide receiver. Hunter Renfrow separates as well as any slot receiver and football. Kolton Miller provides stability on the blindside, and Josh Jacobs is coming off of a career year.
Garoppolo didn’t just benefit from the greatest offensive mind the NFL can offer, he also worked with arguably the best supporting cast in football. The talent Las Vegas harbors mitigates the culture shock that comes with leaving San Francisco.
Value or Vindictiveness?
Easily the most questionable decision of the offseason from McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler was trading away Darren Waller. We know Garoppolo can effectively target talented tight ends. We know how important a surplus of weapons can be!
Perhaps an oft-injured, expensive tight end could be worth less than the final top 100 pick. If they can turn that pick into a strong replacement, say, Luke Musgrave or Sam LaPorta, then the Raiders may find production at a fraction of the cost.
For now, though, they’ve traded one of the game’s top tight ends at a fairly cheap price.
It also didn’t come at a perfect time. McDaniels spilled the beans of Waller and WNBA star Kelsey Plum getting married, an occasion they meant to keep private. This, justifiably, upset Waller. Just 10 days later, he was traded.
Did the Giants go bargain-bin shopping and find the thrift shop’s most luxurious item? Was it the result of a head coach with a history of interpersonal conflicts? The developments of this upcoming season may give us those answers.
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