The Raiders believe they will be past the rough waters regarding Garoppolo’s foot trouble by training camp. Garoppolo is expected to be fully recovered by camp, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who adds the veteran quarterback should be ready to go weeks before that point (video link). Garoppolo initially suffered the foot fracture in December, and while he had attempted non-surgical rehab for a potential January or February return, the ex-49ers passer ended up needing to go under the knife shortly after signing with the Raiders.
Although Garoppolo agreed to a three-year, $72.75MM deal with more than $33MM fully guaranteed, the Raiders included an injury waiver before the 10th-year vet signed the deal. Garoppolo now must pass a physical before seeing his guaranteed money. But an early separation would make neither party look particularly good. As it stands now, the Raiders are committed to moving forward with Garoppolo as their starter.
Garoppolo, 31, has attended OTAs thus far but has not taken part. He will be returning to a McDaniels-led offense for the first time since the 2017 season. Garoppolo spent four years in McDaniels’ offense in New England, but an October 2017 trade split up the pair — as Tom Brady‘s endless prime continued into the late 2010s. The Raiders ditched Derek Carr, who had missed two regular-season games due to injury in his career, for Garoppolo. While familiarity with McDaniels will certainly help, Las Vegas is obviously taking a considerable risk here. Garoppolo has missed 33 games due to injury since his September 2018 ACL tear and has only finished two of the past five seasons.
Until Garoppolo is recovered, the Raiders will have off-and-on Patriot Brian Hoyer, who signed with the team this offseason, taking snaps. Hoyer, who spent most of last season on the Patriots’ IR list, is going into his age-38 season. Fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell and former UDFA Chase Garbers are the other QBs on the Raiders’ roster. Rather than an emergency Carson Wentz or Teddy Bridgewater escape hatch, the Raiders remain tethered to Garoppolo. Barring a setback, the expected Vegas starter will be on the field come training camp.
Durability concerns should be tied to Garoppolo once he recovers from the foot surgery, but regarding this particular injury, the Raiders expect June to be the recovery homestretch.
The start of June has served as a key NFL financial period for decades. While teams no longer have to wait until after June 1 to make that cost-splitting cut designation, teams pick up the savings from those transactions today. With a handful of teams making post-June 1 cuts this year, here is how each team’s cap space (courtesy of OverTheCap) looks as of Friday:
The Jets’ number is a bit deceiving. They are still working on a restructure withAaron Rodgers, as the trade acquisition’s cap number — after a Packers restructure — sits at just $1.22MM. In 2024, that number skyrockets to $107.6MM. Rodgers’ cap hit will almost definitely will climb before Week 1, so viewing the Jets along with the other teams north of $20MM in space is not entirely accurate.
Minnesota is moving closer to separating from its $12.6MM-per-year Dalvin Cook contract. The team already created some space by trading Za’Darius Smithto the Browns. Cleveland, which is one of the teams connected toDeAndre Hopkins, added Smith and did so with help from its Deshaun Watsonrestructure. Watson was set to count $54.9MM against the Browns’ 2023 cap. That number is down to $19.1MM, though the Browns’ restructure both ballooned Watson’s mid-2020s cap figures to $63.9MM — which would shatter the NFL record — and added a 2027 void year.
Tampa Bay and Los Angeles sit atop the league in dead money, with the Bucs — largely from their April 2022 Tom Bradyrestructure — checking in at $75.3MM here. That total comprises nearly 33% of the Bucs’ 2023 cap sheet. The Rams, at more than $74MM, are not far behind. Despite the Bills and Chiefs — the teams most frequently tied to Hopkins — joining the Bucs and Rams near the bottom of the league in cap space, both AFC contenders also sit in the bottom five in dead money.
With Tom Brady agreeing to buy a piece of the Raiders and the team’s new quarterback — Jimmy Garoppolo — recovering from another surgery, understandable speculation regarding another Brady unretirement has emerged. The all-time great is again attempting to dispel notions he is coming back.
During a recent interview with SI Now’s Robin Lundberg, the former Patriots and Buccaneers quarterback confirmed he is retired. Brady has announced retirements in each of the past two years. While he backtracked on his initial NFL exit in March 2022, the 23-year veteran has remained retired this year and insists he is done.
“I’m certain I’m not playing again,” Brady said (video link). “I’ve tried to make that clear. I hate to continue to profess that, because I’ve already told people that lots of times. But I’m looking forward to my broadcasting job at FOX next year. I’m looking forward to the opportunity ahead with the Raiders.”
Brady, 45, added he is in the process of finalizing the Raiders agreement. Part-owner of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, Brady is set to serve in a similar capacity with Mark Davis‘ flagship franchise. NFL owners must approve Brady’s ownership stake by a three-fourths majority. While that majority vote exists for Brady’s ownership stake, a unanimous vote would be required for him to serve simultaneously as an owner/player.
This topic came up during the period in which Brady was connected to serving as a Dolphins owner/player. The NFL came down hard on Miami for its tampering effort involving Brady and Sean Payton, docking the franchise first- and third-round picks and suspending owner Stephen Ross. A year later, the QB icon is planning to enter the ownership ranks with another team.
A comeback with the Raiders certainly would make sense, were Brady interested in a Brett Favre-esque second unretirement. Brady spent many seasons working with current Raiders HC Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator, with GM Dave Ziegler also in New England during part of Brady’s 20-year tenure. Garoppolo, Brady’s backup from 2014 until an October 2017 trade exit, underwent surgery on his fractured foot in March.
The latest Garoppolo surgery came to light just last week, and the Raiders reworked his three-year contract to protect themselves against their preferred QB1’s foot injury keeping him off the field. The Raiders also may be in need of another backup option, with ex-Brady backup Brian Hoyer — ahead of his age-38 season — and fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connellin place behind Garoppolo. Before Brady announced his retirement for a second time, the Raiders looked into the ex-McDaniels charge as a free agent. That door appears closed.
Brady said earlier this year he would not begin his FOX analyst job until 2024, keeping Greg Olsen in that chair for the time being. In 2022, FOX gave Brady a 10-year, $375MM deal to work as its No. 1 NFL analyst. Given his star power and the Raiders’ situation, this might not be the last time the seven-time Super Bowl winner needs to insist he will remain retired. But Brady is moving forward in ownership and broadcasting roles.
As teams regroup on potential trade talks, 2024 draft picks represent the top non-player assets available. Although the usual run of draft-weekend trades featured teams moving up and down the 2023 board, a high number of 2024 picks have changed hands. The Cardinals resided at the center of such movement, but many other teams have already made changes to their 2024 draft arsenals. Three first-rounders have already been traded, and a fourth — barring an Aaron Rodgers injury — will be expected to transfer.
Here are the 2024 picks to have changed hands thus far:
The quarterback market has moved again this offseason. A year after Aaron Rodgers raised the average annual value bar past $50MM, Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson did so on long-term extensions. Overall, four teams have authorized the most lucrative QB deal in their respective histories this offseason. Two more — the Bengals and Chargers — are in talks about record-setting extensions as well.
On that note, here is the richest quarterback contract each team has authorized. Although teams like the Jets and Lions have acquired big-ticket contracts via trade, only teams’ extensions or free agency agreements will qualify here.
Carr’s second Raiders deal — agreed to in April 2022 — was worth $40.5MM per year. The full guarantee, thanks to the February escape hatch the team built into the contract, checked in lower than Carr’s initial Raiders extension.
While Derek Carr did not exactly bring a high ceiling at quarterback for the Raiders, the nine-year starter is one of the NFL’s most durable quarterbacks. Carr missed two regular-season games (and one playoff contest) due to injury with the Raiders. Las Vegas’ plan to replace Carr is not off to a great start.
A delay between Garoppolo’s free agency agreement and the signing of the contract commenced in March. In that time, the Raiders inserted a clause that will offer them protection in the event Garoppolo cannot pass a physical, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. This addendum gives the Raiders an out in the event the left foot injury keeps Garoppolo off the field, and it converted $11.25MM from roster bonus to base salary.
Garoppolo’s reported agreement featured $33.75MM guaranteed at signing. The $11.25MM bonus — due on Day 3 of the 2024 league year — comprised part of that total. Garoppolo’s other guaranteed cash comes from a $22.5MM 2023 base salary, which the Raiders will only be on the hook for if Garoppolo passes a physical. To some degree, their situation resembles a fifth-year option setup during the period in which the options were guaranteed for injury only. But teams could only cut those former first-rounders free of charge if said player passed a physical a year later; Garoppolo failing his opens the door to a free-of-charge Raiders release.
This reality would introduce significant concerns for Las Vegas, which dumped Carr for one of the NFL’s most injury-prone players. Garoppolo has missed 33 games due to injury since suffering an ACL tear in September 2018 and has only finished two of his past five seasons. In the two Garoppolo did complete, he started Super Bowl LIV and piloted the 49ers to the 2021 NFC championship game. But calf, thumb and shoulder injuries — the latter two requiring surgeries — affected him during the latter season. At 31 and coming off three straight injury-plagued years, Garoppolo is certainly a poor bet to make it through this season unscathed.
On the other side of this, Garoppolo passing a physical removes the clause from the equation, The Athletic’s Tashan Reed and Vic Tafur report (subscription required). Josh McDaniels, who coached Garoppolo in New England from 2014-17, said everything is on schedule for the 10th-year veteran, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore indicating the team believes the clause will be moot (Twitter link).
A window exists for the Raiders to release Garoppolo before he passes his physical. Of course, they would be doing so with limited options at the position. The team has used offseason addition Brian Hoyer as its first-stringer during OTAs thus far, per The Athletic, though the 37-year-old passer is far past his prime and would invite obvious questions about the Raiders’ competitive viability this season. The Raiders attempted to keepJarrett Stidham, but he signed with the Broncos to be Russell Wilson‘s backup. The team hosted the draft’s top five QB prospects and discussed a trade for the No. 1 pick with the Bears. But the Raiders did not make their QB move until the fourth round (Aidan O’Connell). The ex-Purdue arm is viewed as a developmental player.
Moving into elephant-in-the-room status by virtue of his agreement with Mark Davis to buy a piece of the Raiders, Tom Brady looms as well. But owners will need to approve the recently retired quarterback’s purchase. As was the case with the Brady-Dolphins rumors during his first retirement, they would be unlikely to do so if he returned to play. In fact, a league source informed Bonsignore that Brady’s Raiders stake could come with a provision he will only serve as an owner — and not a player — for the franchise.
The Raiders looked into Brady as a free agent — before retirement No. 2 — this offseason. Brady’s past with McDaniels would make him the top emergency solution for the Raiders, even ahead of an age-46 season. But owners were unlikely to approve Miami’s long-rumored Brady plan in which he would have served as a player and owner. Twenty-four “yes” votes will be required for Brady to buy a piece of the Raiders. That could be contingent on the 23-year veteran staying retired. Were Brady dead-set on making a second comeback, he could simply back out of his ownership agreement.
Absent that long-shot solution, the Raiders will need to hope Garoppolo can finish his latest rehab effort. But the team’s quarterback stability has taken a substantial hit this offseason.
Only eight linebackers saw snaps for the Raiders last seasons, so with eight currently on the roster, the number of bodies is a problem but maybe not the most pressing one. The steep decline in experience and talent is a more troubling situation, though. Last year’s group was led by the Pro Bowler Perryman, second-year starter Divine Deablo, and Brown. Due to various injuries, each of the three missed at least five games last year, with Deablo and Brown appearing in just under half of the team’s contests. The absence of their top players led Las Vegas to lean on undrafted rookie Luke Masterson and veteran Blake Martinez. The team also utilized Harvey Langi, Darien Butler, and Curtis Bolton, but the three were mainly relegated to special teams.
Deablo returns to lead a group of de facto starters that includes free agent signing Robert Spillane and Masterson. None of the three have ever started for more than half of an NFL season, but all will enter 2023 as full-time starters. Deablo was off to a strong sophomore season before injury, racking up 74 total tackles in just eight games as a full-time starter. After initially signing as an undrafted free agent with the Titans, Spillane broke out in 2020 as an injury replacement for Steelers starter Devin Bush. Bush’s return resulted in a diminished role for Spillane the next year, but he finally earned more time on defense last season in Pittsburgh. Masterson handled himself admirably when thrust into action as a rookie last year, but ultimately, he has a ways to go before proving himself to be an asset to the starting lineup.
Aside from those three contributors, the team returns reserves Bolton, Butler, and Kana’i Mauga, an undrafted rookie who didn’t see any playing time last season in Las Vegas. While those three didn’t contribute much last year and shouldn’t be relied upon too much this season, perhaps some depth will be provided from the team’s sixth-round draft pick out of Florida, Amari Burney. Burney projects as an outside linebacker after serving in a hybrid safety/linebacker role for the Gators throughout his career. He started all 13 of the team’s games as a fifth-year senior and added strong contributions with 79 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, and four sacks. He provides some versatility, as well, as he tallied two interceptions, four passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. The Raiders also signed NC State’s Drake Thomas as an undrafted free agent. Thomas was a tackling machine in Raleigh, reaching 99 and 101 total tackles over his final two seasons, respectively. Over that time, the disruptive defender tallied 32.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. If he can contribute near the same level as a pro, Thomas could add to the list of undrafted linebackers getting significant playing time on the Raiders defense.
It’s hard to determine who Las Vegas might pursue to add some depth and experience to the room. Former Viking and Cowboy Anthony Barr is available and, although he’s 31 years old, he still started 10 games for Dallas last season. Brown is still available if healthy and agreeable to a return. A couple years separated from a Pro Bowl season, Jaylon Smith is available after starting 11 games for the Giants last year. Rashaan Evans is still fairly young and hit free agency after starting every game for the Falcons last season and racking up 159 total tackles. Kwon Alexander and Zach Cunningham should be available for relatively cheap, as well.
It does look like Las Vegas could desperately use some more experienced bodies in the linebackers room, especially after the onslaught of injuries they dealt with in 2022. There are plenty of options available out there if the team is looking. The Raiders just need to find the right fit for the right price or settle for what they’re working with.
The way in which Raiders wideout Davante Adamsexited the field after the team’s loss to the Chiefs in October has once again become the source of a legal development. Adams shoved photographer Park Zebley to the ground as he was departing GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, which raised the potential for legal and league discipline to follow.
Adams has now been named in a civil lawsuit filed by Zebley, as detailed by David Hudnall of the Kansas City Star. Aside from the 30-year-old, the Raiders, Chiefs, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority and Landmark Events Staffing have also been named as defendants for their various levels of responsibility for Adams’ conduct and the general safety of personnel on and around the field.
Adams – who apologized for the incident via social media following the game – is currently facing a misdemeanor assault charge for his actions. His next scheduled court date is June 26; it is believed the NFL will await the outcome of those proceedings to decide if any further discipline in the form of a fine or suspension will be necessary. This latest development marks another potential turning point in this case, though.
“A municipal misdemeanor battery charge is not sufficient,” a statement from Zebley reads. “I’m looking for justice. You can’t shove someone down and walk off like it didn’t happen. Not in real life.”
Zebley contends that, in addition to the injuries he sustained (including a concussion), he received death threats online following the incident. As a result, the 20-year-old “felt concerned for his own safety and sought counseling and stayed away from his apartment.”
“We’re in the beginning stages of this,” Zebley’s attorney Dan Curry said. “But [Zebley] is looking for compensation for what happened to him, and if a jury has to decide, then that’s who’ll decide.”
12:04pm: This unexpected delay stems from another surgery. Garoppolo spent months rehabbing his injured left foot but underwent surgery in March, Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed of The Athletic report (subscription required). While Garoppolo’s recovery timetable is unknown, this certainly explains why he is unavailable to start the Raiders’ on-field offseason work.
11:19am: Jimmy Garoppolo has failed to finish three of his past five seasons. The five-plus-year 49ers starter sustained his most recent injury — a fractured foot — in early December. The Raiders are not planning to rush him back.
The new Raiders quarterback has not yet received full clearance to return from the Jones fracture he suffered last season, per Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Josh McDaniels said Thursday the team has planned for this slow buildup, though Garoppolo may not take part in any on-field work until training camp (Twitterlinks).
“Everything that’s happened since we signed Jimmy, we knew ahead of time,” McDaniels said. “… Certainly had an awareness of all of it. Our preference is not to push it and rush anybody back at this point in time.”
This news comes a few months after reports surfaced about Garoppolo potentially being able to return for a 49ers Super Bowl LVII appearance. Brock Purdy‘s UCL tear shut down those prospects quickly, and Garoppolo would have been in line to return as a backup in that instance. Caution makes sense for the Raiders regarding Garoppolo, given his extensive injury past, but it is a bit surprising he would need to be held out until training camp.
The Raiders gave Garoppolo a three-year, $72.75MM deal and, despite meeting with the draft’s top five quarterback prospects, did not select a QB on the first two days. The team added former McDaniels charge Brian Hoyer and used a fourth-round pick on Aidan O’Connell. Garoppolo being out of the mix until late summer would allow his backups more work, but he has not endured a setback in his recovery, McDaniels said. The Raiders are expecting the 10th-year veteran to be ready to begin the season on time.
Garoppolo needing additional offseason recovery time represents familiar territory. He was in this boat last year, after undergoing shoulder surgery. Garoppolo’s March 2022 procedure effectively squashed his trade prospects, leading to an agreement to stay in San Francisco. The 49ers turned out to need their longtime passer, with Trey Lance going down in Week 2. Garoppolo kept the reins until his Jones fracture during a Dec. 4 game against the Dolphins.
In the days immediately following Garoppolo’s foot injury, uncertainty emerged regarding a potential late-season return. Kyle Shanahan did not express much optimism Garoppolo would come back, but the 49ers did not place him on IR. Reportedly facing a seven- or eight-week recovery timetable, Garoppolo did not undergo surgery and rehabbed for a possible return. The veteran passer did not make it back to practice in the final days of his Bay Area stay, and it appears he will have more time than expected before returning to full on-field work.
The Raiders ended their nine-season Derek Carr partnership in February and guaranteed Garoppolo $33.75MM in March. While Carr delivered a middling run as the Silver and Black’s starter, he did offer durability. Garoppolo does not. Counting the 49ers’ three playoff games in January, the 31-year-old passer has missed 33 games due to injury since suffering an ACL tear in September 2018. Garoppolo played every game for the Super Bowl LIV-bound 49ers team a year later but suffered an ankle injury that shortened his 2020 season to six games. San Francisco’s starter battled calf, thumb and shoulder maladies in 2021, needing two surgeries coming out of that season.
Less than four months after Tom Brady‘s second retirement, the legendary quarterback is close to becoming part of a new team — as a part-owner. The rumored Raiders connection will produce an agreement.
Brady agreed to buy a stake in the AFC West franchise, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer (Twitter link). The 23-year veteran passer already went into a partnership with Raiders owner Mark Davis, buying a stake in the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces franchise last year. This does prompt a few questions, but Brady does look set to join the ownership ranks soon.
This agreement will be subject to NFL approval, and Breer adds this piece of business will not be on the owners’ agenda at this week’s league meetings. It would seem likely Brady, 45, agreeing to purchase a presumably small stake in the Raiders will be approved, though it does raise questions about potential objectivity regarding his FOX agreement. Brady signed a 10-year, $375MM deal to become FOX’s No. 1 analyst last year, but the former Patriots and Buccaneers QB said — following retirement No. 2 — he will table that career path to 2024.
Monday’s agreement certainly opens the door to the possibility — however remote it might be — of Brady coming out of retirement and playing for the Raiders. This scenario could conceivably affect a potential vote on Brady’s status as a part-owner. Any rumors on this front would lead to Raiders salary cap questions — something a Brady ownership role with the team obviously would not — but Brady obviously has a longstanding relationship with Josh McDaniels and overlapped with GM Dave Ziegler during part of his New England tenure.
While this is not yet a scenario worth discussing in much detail, the Raiders signed ex-Brady backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who has become one of the league’s most injury-prone QBs since leaving the Patriots, and backstopped him with another former Brady QB2 — Brian Hoyer. Las Vegas’ backup will turn 38 this season. Fourth-rounder Aidan O’Connell is positioned as a developmental arm. Should Brady come out of retirement again, Vegas would certainly seem the venue. Unlike last year, when the Bucs held Brady’s rights, the 15-time Pro Bowler is a free agent after playing out his Tampa Bay deal.
The Raiders did pursue Brady as a player during his 2020 free agency but backed out before the finalist stage. Brady famously broached this topic during an appearance on HBO’s The Shop. They also were loosely linked to him this year, with a January report indicating they were doing homework on Garoppolo and Brady. The latter’s retirement took a big-ticket option off the table for the Raiders and other teams in free agency, and Garoppolo signed a three-year, $72.75MM deal in March.
Greg Olsen will spend at least one more season as FOX’s top analyst, and it will be interesting to see how Brady’s ownership agreement — if approved by the NFL — affects matters on that front. For now, the owners will consider Brady’s Raiders stake. But it appears the seven-time Super Bowl winner is close to returning to the league in a different capacity.