Derek Carr is gone, after nine years. So who will be this year’s quarterback of the Raiders?
Coach Josh McDaniels has plenty of choices. It makes sense to keep eyes on someone with whom McDaniels has worked in the past, in addition to any rookies to whom he may take a shine.
The top candidates include, in our view, Jarrett Stidham, who performed well when pressed into service after the Raiders decided to send Carr home in order to avoid an injury that would have triggered his $40.4 million in guarantees, if he couldn’t have passed a physical before today, the same he day he was cut. But Stidham is due to become a free agent. He can walk away, signing with anyone he wants.
Other free agents could attract the attention of McDaniels. Jimmy Garoppolo becomes the most obvious. He’ll be hitting the market. McDaniels could choose to reunite with the player with whom McDaniels worked for more than three seasons.
A few other names have ties to McDaniels. Jacoby Brissett possesses Patriot Way DNA. He started most of Cleveland’s games in 2022, and he has shown that he deserves a shot, somewhere. McDaniels could give it to him.
Or how about Mac Jones? After the season ended, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked whether Jones will be the team’s starter in 2023. Belichick didn’t answer the question, saying instead that Jones has proved he can play in this league. Perhaps a trade could happen, pairing Jones with the former Patriots offensive coordinator who helped Jones have a solid rookie season.
There’s one more name to watch. Just before the 2018 draft, McDaniels held a hush-hush workout with Baker Mayfield. The Patriots liked him; they just weren’t in position to get him. Mayfield will be a free agent next month, and McDaniels personally witnessed what Mayfield was able to do with limited preparation on a Thursday night, when Mayfield erased a 16-3 deficit to beat the Raiders.
Those are the names we’ll be watching, now that the name “Derek Carr” has landed on the transaction report as having been released by the Raiders, only months after they signed him to an extension that McDaniels decided to escape based on only 15 games.