Jimmy Garoppolo Draws Two-Game Suspension; Raiders Expected To Cut QB

Expected to be released by the Raiders, Jimmy Garoppolo will not be able to suit up for his next team until Week 3 of the 2024 season. The veteran quarterback received a two-game suspension Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Garoppolo will be banned under the league’s PED policy, per Schefter, who indicates this penalty is believed to stem from the veteran quarterback using a prescription medication without a therapeutic use exemption. Garoppolo will not appeal the ban.

During what turned out to be Josh McDaniels‘ final offseason running the show, the Raiders gave Garoppolo a three-year, $72.75MM contract hours into the legal tampering period. This came after a foot fracture ended Garoppolo’s 49ers career. More injury trouble emerged for the ex-Patriots draftee in Las Vegas, but the Raiders benched their starter immediately after firing McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler. Garoppolo spent the second half of the season backing up Aidan O’Connell. That setup always pointed to a release; Friday’s suspension will ensure Garoppolo will be a Vegas one-and-done.

The suspension stands to help the Raiders, who will be eyeing other QB options this offseason. Garoppolo is due an $11.25MM guarantee, which covers his 2024 base salary. This ban will reduce the dead money that would come the Raiders’ way in the event of release. Cutting Garoppolo will now only cost the Raiders $17.1MM, as opposed to $28.4MM, according to OverTheCap. That will help the Antonio Pierce-Tom Telesco regime as it determines its 2024 QB path. The suspension will void the guarantee, per CBS Sports’ Joel Corry, who notes Garoppolo’s contract includes language indicating a PED ban would trigger a void.

This continues a downward trend for Garoppolo, who was at the controls for the start of what turned out to be a seminal 49ers win streak during the 2022 season. A December 2022 Jones fracture ended Garoppolo’s season, introducing Brock Purdy to the NFL world. The 49ers did not make an attempt to re-sign Garoppolo, despite the team reaching a resolution to retain him as Trey Lance insurance just before the ’22 season. Garoppolo still commanded a decent market in 2023, fetching $33.75MM guaranteed from the Raiders. Part of that guarantee will not come his way.

Garoppolo, 32, started six games for the Raiders last season. Given a less QB-friendly setup in Las Vegas compared to the one he enjoyed under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, Garoppolo struggled. He finished his six-game run with nine INTs compared to seven TD passes. The Raiders, who had included an injury waiver in Garoppolo’s deal in case he did not heal properly from offseason foot surgery, parked the 10th-year passer on the bench after a dismal Monday-night showing in Detroit — one that preceded the firings of McDaniels, Ziegler and OC Mick Lombardi. With Pierce and Bo Hardegree in charge, Garoppolo was no longer part of the plan.

Although Garoppolo was coming off a benching that was set to cut into his 2024 market, a few teams are in need of at least a bridge option at QB this offseason. This suspension will further reduce Garoppolo’s negotiating leverage. While Garoppolo joins Russell Wilson as experienced starters expected to be cut by an AFC West team, the former’s injury history and newly discovered unavailability will hurt the former Super Bowl starter as a street free agent. A team wanting a bridge QB would ideally need that passer to be available to start the season, potentially as a rookie develops.

The 2023 Raiders agreement showed other teams pursued Garoppolo, who has made 63 career starts. Of course, he has also missed 32 starts due to injury over the course of his career. This suspension stands to help the markets of some stopgap-type passers on this year’s market. Beyond top UFA QBs Baker Mayfield and Kirk Cousins, a glut of midlevel vets — from Ryan Tannehill to Jacoby Brissett to Gardner Minshew to Sam Darnold — loom as options for teams unable to land the top two signal-callers. Justin Fields also likely will be an option via trade. Considering the Raiders’ Luke Getsy hire, they should at least be viewed as a possible destination for the three-year Bears starter.

Pierce’s past with Heisman winner Jayden Daniels has already come up this offseason, with the former Arizona State recruit’s name being mentioned during the Raiders’ OC search. It would likely take a big haul for the Raiders to move up from No. 13 into Daniels territory, however. O’Connell still resides as a possible Week 1 starter for Las Vegas, but once Garoppolo is cut, the now-Telesco-led team may also seek a veteran — should it determine a trade-up for a prized rookie too pricey — to compete with the 2023 fourth-round pick for the 2024 gig.

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