Antonio Pierce

Raiders Split On Moving Up For QB?

Antonio Pierce has spoken openly about his interest in acquiring a long-term QB option this offseason. New GM Tom Telesco had franchise QBs at the helm in each of his 11 years running the Chargers. This would point the Raiders to doing what they need to in order to acquire one of this draft’s starter-caliber arms.

But the team holds the No. 13 overall pick. With the Vikings acquiring another first-rounder from the Texans, they hold Nos. 11 and 23. The Broncos lack a second-round pick, but they do possess No. 12 overall, their first Round 1 draft slot in three years. It could be difficult for the Raiders to climb high enough to outflank the Vikings, as the Bears, Commanders and Patriots more likely than not to select a passer in the top three.

It also may not be a given all the key parties in the Las Vegas building want to put together a big trade package to draft a QB. Pierce is on board with doing so, per’s Tony Pauline, but Telesco is “leaning heavily” toward sticking with Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell. Controlling the Raiders’ roster, Telesco has the final call. Though Pierce should be expected to wield notable power ahead of his first draft as HC, Telesco has obviously run 11 drafts to his zero.

The Raiders have been closely tied to Jayden Daniels, who arrived at Arizona State when Pierce was on the Sun Devils’ staff. Daniels has remained close with Pierce, going so far as to be in the Raiders’ locker room after their Week 18 win over the Broncos. While a recent report indicated Las Vegas wants to trade up for Daniels — a player they mentioned during their OC search — the Commanders and Patriots stand as clear obstacles in that path. The Raiders believed to have been making an effort to move up, and a report coming out of the Combine confirmed Vegas had made inquiries about climbing from 13. Understandably, a Daniels visit is on the Raiders’ docket.

Mark Davis has OK’d a move up the board, though it could cost two future first-rounders to make that jump. The Commanders choosing Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy at 2 could make matters quite interesting in Nevada, given the stream of connections to Daniels. That would put the Patriots to a decision, should the Raiders make a monster offer to vault to No. 3. The Pats are likely open to moving down, but the buzz as of now points to New England drafting a QB at 3. Moving back to 13 would effectively lock the Pats out of the Daniels-Maye-McCarthy tier.

The Raiders could stick at 13 and have a chance at Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr., though Broncos-Nix connections have come out during the draft run-up. If the Raiders pivot to a non-quarterback call at 13,’s Jordan Reid indicates a cornerback-or-tackle decision may be on tap. While cornerback remains a need, especially after Amik Robertson‘s defection to Detroit, a Las Vegas tackle move should be considered on the radar, Reid writes.

The Raiders have Kolton Miller entrenched on the left side, but two-year RT starter Jermaine Eluemunor left for the Giants. Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock draft sends Penix to Vegas, while Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest offering gives them Oregon State tackle Taliese Fuaga.

Of course, a tackle-or-CB move would only raise the stakes for the Raiders in 2025, as a Minshew-centered roster would not present a high ceiling for the 2024 team. In a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, that would not qualify as an exciting plan. But Minshew signed a two-year, $25MM deal. He does give the Raiders a fallback option if they opt against leaving Round 1 with a passer. Of course, if Pierce wants a QB and Telesco does not view it as realistic, this draft would not exactly start this partnership off on the right foot.

Latest On 2024 First-Round Quarterbacks

In a recent article for The Washington Post, NFL insider and analyst Jason La Canfora provided his projection for how the first-round quarterbacks may play out in this year’s draft. After the seemingly obvious prediction of USC quarterback Caleb Williams to Chicago, La Canfora declared a somewhat more surprising projection: national championship-winning Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy going second overall to the Commanders.

The first reasoning that La Canfora points to is the betting markets. Though betting odds are fickle and often change at the slightest whims, they can quite often predict the likeliest outcome, and right now, McCarthy’s odds of getting picked right after Williams are skyrocketing. Secondarily, La Canfora points to an evaluator who compared McCarthy to “another (Brock) Purdy.”

New Commanders general manager Adam Peters comes from the 49ers front office that selected Purdy as the last pick of the draft two years ago. If McCarthy is demonstrating the attributes that drew Peters and company to Purdy, that also helps the Michigan passer’s chances of heading to Washington. Unfortunately, that same brain trust in San Francisco was responsible for the trade to move up for Trey Lance, so Peters’ history with picking quarterbacks may be hit or miss.

La Canfora also claims that the Giants are highest on McCarthy over the other remaining quarterbacks after Williams is drafted, but if he goes to the Commanders, as La Canfora predicts, New York will have to settle for another option: LSU Heisman-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels.

La Canfora doesn’t take it as fact that Daniels is headed to New York, though. He reports that the Raiders, who currently hold the 13th overall pick of the first round, “badly want to move up” to land Daniels. This rumor makes a ton of sense when you consider that Las Vegas’ head coach Antonio Pierce got an up-close look at Daniels when the two were together at Arizona State for several years. The team isn’t very well-positioned to make the move, but according to two general managers in the league, the Raiders are making the effort, nonetheless.

Aside from those two bigger predictions, La Canfora’s projection is fairly in-line with what we’ve been seeing. He predicts that the first four picks will be quarterbacks (Williams to Chicago, McCarthy to Washington, Daniels to New York, and North Carolina passer Drake Maye to Minnesota [via trade]), he sees the Raiders settling for Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. if they can’t trade up, and he sees Oregon quarterback Bo Nix becoming the fifth first-round quarterback of the draft thanks to the Ravens trading down so that the Broncos can select him 30th overall.

This all continues a wild runup to what is certainly shaping up to be an unpredictable 2024 NFL Draft. A top-heavy quarterback draft class has provided pundits and analysts alike with myriad predictions for how everything will play out. With a little over three weeks until the all-important date, the sequence of events following the No. 1 overall pick is unclear as ever.

Raiders Expected To Aggressively Pursue Top-Three Pick

The Raiders have been mentioned as a suitor for one of the draft’s top-three quarterbacks, and the buzz is only getting louder. The Raiders are “expected to be aggressive” in trading up from pick No. 13 in pursuit of a quarterback, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Albert Breer of passes along a similar sentiment, writing that the Raiders are among the teams inquiring “on a trade-up for a quarterback.”

[RELATED: Raiders Interested In Acquiring No. 1 Overall Pick]

The organization left no stone unturned at last week’s combine, meeting with the majority of the draft’s quarterback prospects. As Bonsignore passes along, the team interviewed a range of QBs, including top prospects like USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. The team is especially enamored with Daniels, who was at Arizona State when Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce was on the staff.

A trade for any of those three quarterbacks would likely require a massive haul; the Bears are reportedly seeking a historic bounty for the No. 1 selection. As a result, the Raiders may need to pivot to one of the second-tier prospects like Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy or Washington’s Michael Penix Jr..

Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed of The Athletic believe one of those non-top-three QBs may be a more reasonable expectation, with the duo writing that a trade into the top-three “may be unrealistic.” Tafur and Reed also pass along that the organization has explored trades into the No. 5 to No. 7 range.

“You have to weigh how bad you want the player and how much you’re giving up,” general manager Tom Telesco said last week. “It’s just a judgment decision. Part of that is we may think we know the player is going to hit, but we really don’t. You never 100 percent know.”

While the quarterback prospects won’t have much (if any) say in their destination, it sounds like the incoming rookies were all impressed by Pierce and the organization.

“What a great job he did this past year,” Maye told Bonsignore. “So much respect for him for earning the respect of the guys.”

Raiders “Very Unlikely” To Pursue Justin Fields?

The Raiders are one of the few QB-needy teams that don’t possess a top-three pick and don’t have exclusive negotiating rights with a starting-caliber option. As a result, they’ve been mentioned as a natural suitor for Bears QB Justin Fields. However, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur dismisses that notion, stating that it’s “very unlikely” the Raiders pursue Fields.

[RELATED: Raiders Interested In Acquiring No. 1 Pick]

Tafur’s logic mostly surrounds the presence of new Raiders offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who guided the Bears’ offense for the past two years. Following disappointing results between 2022 and 2023, Getsy was let go by Chicago, but that didn’t stop Antonio Pierce from bringing him on the Raiders staff.

As Tafur notes, the Raiders hired Getsy because of his previous pass-game work in Green Bay and his creative “run-game concepts” in Chicago, with Pierce and the organization chalking up the Bears’ offensive struggles to the player under center. The team has apparently already made up their mind about who was to blame in Chicago, and it doesn’t sound like they have any interest in replicating that arrangement in Las Vegas.

Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t expected to be back with the Raiders next season, and despite Aidan O’Connell’s solid showing as a starter, the 2023 fourth-round pick won’t just be handed the reins in 2024. While a few signs point to the Raiders pursuing a veteran QB via free agency, it sounds like the organization will be more aggressive in moving up in the draft.

We heard recently that the Raiders were eyeing a move for the first-overall pick, although the Bears are expected to require a historic haul for the selection. Pierce’s connections to Jayden Daniels, who was at Arizona State during the new Raiders HC’s time with the Sun Devils, have also emerged. With Caleb Williams likely going No. 1, the Raiders wouldn’t have to deal with Chicago’s trade demands in that scenario. Still, if the Raiders are truly interested in the LSU product, they’d have to find a way to move up from their current No. 13 draft position.

Raiders Updates: Foster, Pierce, Armstead

Last we had heard, with former Raiders running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu heading to Seattle for the same position, Las Vegas had selected long-time UCLA staffer DeShaun Foster to take over as their new running backs coach. With Chip Kelly shockingly stepping down as head coach of the Bruins to take the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coaching job at Ohio State, Foster has been selected as Kelly’s replacement in Los Angeles, per Pete Thamel of ESPN, forcing the Raiders to go back to the drawing board for their next running backs coach.

To fill the role, the Raiders are turning to a name millennial NFL fans will recognize. Las Vegas dipped back to the college ranks, confirmed by Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, hiring Auburn associate head coach and running backs coach Carnell Williams, known during his playing days as “Cadillac.” The 2005 Offensive Rookie of the Year’s playing career ended after seven seasons in the NFL. He would eventually turn to coaching as a career, starting off at small colleges like Henderson State and West Georgia before spending a year at the high school level at the prestigious IMG Academy.

Williams followed that up with a year as a running backs coach in the Alliance of American Football league before first arriving at his alma mater in 2019. Williams has coached running backs at Auburn for the last five years, spending a stint in 2022 as interim head coach and earning the title of associate head coach this past season. The most notable name coming out of his position group in Alabama would’ve been Tank Bigsby, a third-round rookie for the Jaguars last year.

With star back Josh Jacobs, Ameer Abdullah, and Brandon Bolden all bound for free agency, Williams inherits a room that is currently only slated to hold third-year rusher Zamir White. Perhaps Williams’ input will be crucial in how the position group is formed this offseason.

Here are a few other staff updates coming out of Sin City:

  • The Raiders were also able to secure their new offensive line coach, hiring former 49ers assistant offensive line coach James Cregg to the role, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Cregg, who has been in San Francisco for the past two years, will get his first full position coaching opportunity in the NFL with Vegas. He has held the assistant role with the Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers in the past and the offensive line coaching title at three different Power 5 schools at the collegiate level, but this will be his first NFL offensive line coach title.
  • Also on offense, the Raiders have added new head coach Antonio Pierce‘s son DeAndre Pierce to the coaching staff, according to Myles Simmons of NBC Sports. The younger Pierce, who served in 2023 as a defensive quality control coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, will be an offensive quality control coach for the Raiders in 2024.
  • Lastly, the older Pierce reportedly reached out to an old teammate from New York, Jessie Armstead for a potential front office role in Las Vegas. Armstead, who currently works as a special assistant to the general manager for the Giants, was offered a similar role with the Raiders. Las Vegas was under the impression that Armstead was going to be on staff, but the Giants were reportedly able to block the lateral move, since Armstead is still under contract, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post.

Poll: Which Team Made Best HC Hire?

This year’s HC cycle became the rare carousel to generate more attention around the coaches who did not land jobs than the ones hired. Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel being left out will assuredly generate stories ahead of the 2025 hiring period, and it will be worth monitoring if Pete Carroll is connected to another coaching job.

But eight teams — up from five in 2023 — made the decision to change coaches. Dan Quinn‘s hire filled the final vacancy. While the Commanders’ process generated extensive fallout, teams are now moving forward with staff assembly following their HC hires.

The Commanders look to have gone through a bit of back-and-forth about their interest in Lions OC Ben Johnson. Pushing back on the notion the two-year Detroit play-caller was their top choice all along, Washington will give Quinn a second chance. But the former Dallas DC may well have been Washington’s third choice; the team made an aggressive push to land Mike Macdonald as well. The Seahawks finished that 11th-hour competition by giving the young Ravens DC a six-year deal.

Only Seattle and Washington waited until after the conference championship games to hire their coaches. Macdonald, who is half Carroll’s age, becomes the NFL’s youngest HC (36). (New Patriots leader Jerod Mayo, 37, held that title for several days.) A Ravens defense that carried major questions in the pass-rushing department led the NFL in sacks while leading the league in scoring defense as well. Quinn re-established his value over three years in Dallas, restoring that unit as one of the game’s best. While Quinn has the Super Bowl LI collapse on his resume and went 0-for-3 in playoff berths over his final three seasons in Atlanta, Washington’s new ownership group will bet on the experienced staffer.

Although the Commanders’ search produced a number of headlines, the Falcons introduced this year’s top “what if?” storyline. The only team serious about hiring Belichick, interviewing him twice, the Falcons steered clear of the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC. While Arthur Blank went into the hiring period prepared to hire the 24-year Patriots leader, it appears other Falcons higher-ups — in an effort potentially connected to their own statuses — helped sway the owner toward the Raheem Morris hire.

Morris, whom Falcons CEO Rich McKay hired during his time as Bucs GM in the early 2000s, will make the historically rare move of returning to coach a team years after operating as its interim HC. Morris left Atlanta on good terms in 2021 and comes back after a successful run as the Rams’ DC. Though, Belichick will undoubtedly be tied to Morris during the latter’s second Atlanta stay.

It took a six-year contract for the Panthers to bring in Bucs OC Dave Canales, who parlayed his first coordinator season into a head coaching gig. The Panthers trading the No. 1 overall pick and David Tepper‘s reputation as an impulsive meddler played into Carolina’s search, but the team had long been connected — despite Frank Reich‘s struggles — to pursuing an offense-oriented leader. Carolina also pursued Johnson for a second year but did not wait to make an attempt to interview him in-person. Following his work with Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield, Canales will be charged with developing Bryce Young.

The Titans also went offense with their hire, adding five-year Bengals non-play-calling OC Brian Callahan to succeed Vrabel. Zac Taylor‘s longtime lieutenant probably would have landed a job earlier had he called plays in a Joe Burrow-piloted offense, but the Titans will turn to the 39-year-old candidate to develop Will Levis. Brian Callahan will also technically oversee his father this coming season, hiring well-regarded Browns O-line coach Bill Callahan to the same position. This will be the Callahans’ first time on the same staff.

Las Vegas and New England each went with in-house solutions. The Raiders became the first team in seven years to elevate an interim HC to the full-time position. Mark Davis listened to his players, after expressing regret about not removing Rich Bisaccia‘s interim tag in 2022. But the second-generation owner also passed on interviewing other viable candidates for the job, only going through with required interviews to comply with the Rooney Rule. While Pierce accounted himself well as a leader during the season’s second half, his experience level is quite thin compared to just about every other HC hire in modern NFL history.

Using a Rooney Rule workaround by including language in Mayo’s contract about succeeding Belichick, the Patriots also passed on a true search. Robert Kraft intervened last year, extending Mayo after the Panthers had sought a meeting, and will give the keys to the recent Patriots linebacker. Mayo’s time in coaching does not match Pierce’s, though the former has spent more time as an NFL assistant. The franchise is largely keeping the Patriot Way going, promoting from within to fill the HC position and elevating an in-house staffer (Eliot Wolf) to fill the de facto GM post, only with Belichick no longer involved.

The highest-profile hire came out of Los Angeles. The Chargers became the team to lure Jim Harbaugh back to the pros. The Bolts gave the accomplished HC a $16MM salary — over five years — and signed off on allowing final say. Harbaugh has won everywhere he has been and held leverage in the form of another Michigan extension offer and a second Falcons interview being scheduled. The Bolts did not let him leave for that meeting and gave Harbaugh significant input into Tom Telesco‘s GM replacement (Joe Hortiz). Harbaugh’s final NFL snaps came with the Chargers, and after hiring three first-time HCs under Telesco, the team will make a bigger bet to turn things around.

Which team ended up doing the best with its 2024 hire? Why did Belichick fail to land a job? Will he and Vrabel be back in 2025? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this year’s HC market in the comments.

Raiders Expected To Add Hue Jackson To Coaching Staff

The Raiders are set to add another experienced coach to their staff. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders are expected to hire Hue Jackson.

The former Raiders and Browns head coach met with the organization last week, and he’s currently “ironing out a role” on new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy‘s staff. We heard that the organization was eyeing Jackson last week, but it was uncertain if he was still in the team’s plans after they had to pivot from Kliff Kingsbury to Getsy.

Jackson has multiple connections to the Raiders. The long-time coach had a two-year stint in Oakland, serving as the OC for a year before replacing Tom Cable at head coach. He went 8-8 during his lone season at the helm and was fired after the season. The 58-year-old also has a connected to head coach Antonio Pierce, who was an undrafted free agent when Jackson was in Washington.

Jackson has held multiple OC titles through his long career, but he’s most known for his dreadful two-plus-year stint in Cleveland that saw the Browns go 3-36-1. After getting fired by the Browns during the 2018 campaign, he had a stint with the Bengals and Tennessee State before being named the head coach at Grambling State. Following two-straight losing seasons, he was fired by the school in November. Now, he’ll land on his feet in Las Vegas.

Pierce has been busy adding experienced voices to his coaching staff. After assisting Pierce during his interim stretch, Marvin Lewis will be sticking with the organization in some capacity.

Raiders Targeting Jayden Daniels?

The Raiders will be eyeing quarterback prospects in the upcoming draft, but they might not wait for a signal-caller to fall to No. 13. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Raiders could be a trade suitors for a top-three pick.

Fowler notes that head coach Antonio Pierce is a “big fan” of Jayden Daniels, but the organization would surely have to trade for the LSU quarterback. Pierce and Daniels crossed paths during their stints at Arizona State, and that familiarity makes the Raiders a natural landing spot for the prospect.

Further, Fowler notes that Pierce was evaluating offensive coordinator candidates with “the loose possibility of Daniels in mind.” The team’s first choice for OC, Kliff Kingsbury, most recently worked with the draft’s top QB prospect, USC’s Caleb Williams. When Kingsbury declined the Raiders offer and opted for the Commanders’ job, the Raiders pivoted to Luke Getsy.

Fowler assumes that the Bears will take Williams with the first-overall pick, meaning the Raiders will likely have to trade with the Commanders (No. 2) or the Patriots (No. 3) if they want to add Daniels or UNC’s Drake Maye. New GM Tom Telesco was known for his drafting prowess during his years with the Chargers, although his strategy usually didn’t feature home-run, draft-day trades.

With that in mind, it’s notable that the team recently met with Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. at the Senior Bowl, per Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Penix is hoping to emerge as the fourth QB on the draft board (following Williams, Daniels, and Maye), although he’s not consistently projected for the first round.

Regardless of how things unfold during the draft, it’s likely that the Raiders will be eyeing a new signal-caller in 2024. Jimmy Garoppolo barely played once Pierce was named the interim head coach, and the veteran will likely be a trade/cut candidate. And while rookie Aidan O’Connell was a standout during the final chunk of the season, it sounds like the Raiders envision him as more of a backup. If the Raiders strike out in the draft, the team could turn to the likes of Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, and Jameis Winston via free agency.

2024 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

The Commanders’ hire has wrapped this year’s cycle. Barring a team making an 11th-hour change, the 2024 HC carousel has come to a stop. The final breakdown produced five defensive coaches being hired compared to three with backgrounds on offense. Many teams are still searching for offensive and defensive coordinators, however.

Updated 2-1-24 (10:37am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Jerod Mayo, linebackers coach (Patriots): Hired

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Latest On Raiders’ OC Vacancy, Team’s GM Interview Process

As the coaching carousel continues to spin, a number of coordinator vacancies remain open. The Raiders have yet to pair head coach Antonio Pierce with his next OC, but a number of candidates have been connected to the position.

Former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has interviewed for three openings during the 2024 cycle, including those of the Bears and Eagles. Chicago and Philadelphia have elected to go in a different direction, but Vegas has not landed on a top candidate yet. Kingsbury interviewed with the Raiders, and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network notes he is expected to land a coordinator gig in Vegas or elsewhere this year (video link).

Kingsbury spent the 2023 season with USC after his Cardinals tenure ended in underwhelming fashion the year prior. He is still well-regarded with respect to his offensive acumen, Garafolo notes, making him a strong candidate to return to an NFL staff. With Pierce’s background from his playing days and coaching career coming on defense, the Raiders’ next OC will be a key figure on the team’s new staff. Kingsbury is not the only high-profile coach linked to Vegas, however.

Former Eagles and 49ers head coach Chip Kelly is believed to be “targeting” the Raiders’ OC position, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. The 60-year-old’s last NFL stint came in 2016, and he has been at the helm with UCLA ever since. A recent report cited Kelly as a candidate to return to the pro ranks this year, but he has yet to conduct any known interviews. Like Kingsbury, Kelly would offer signficant play-calling experience on a Raiders team looking to improve on offense and find stability at the quarterback position moving forward.

Of course, Pierce will be a figure to watch closely as his staff takes shape. After a well-received interim HC stint to close out the 2023 campaign, he was given the full-time position earlier this month. The Raiders were also in the midst of their general manager search when that decision was made. Further details on the process of choosing ex-Chargers GM Tom Telesco – and Pierce’s involvement in it – have emerged.

The latter sat in on the second round of interviews with each of Vegas’ three GM finalists, owner Mark Davis recently explained. Telesco, interim GM Champ Kelly and Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds conducted follow-ups with Davis and a select number of other personnel. Pierce was present for each in-person sit-down, even though Telesco’s was the only one which took place after Pierce had officially been hired.

“The initial interviews with the GMs were only them and the group of five or six that we had,” Davis said, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur (subscription required). “Once we narrowed it down to the three finalists, I wanted to make sure that Antonio was in on those interviews as well. So, he was in all of the second interviews with the three candidates.”

The Pierce-Telesco partnership is now in place, but in addition to the OC position, there are unanswered questions on the team’s coaching staff. One of those is the role Marvin Lewis will take on. The longtime Bengals coach was one of the veteran staffers who assisted Pierce during his interim stretch, and he will stay in the organization moving forward. As Tafur notes, Lewis appears set to work with the coaching staff rather than the front office.

Plenty is yet to be determined in Las Vegas as the hiring cycle continues. The team’s search for an offensive coordinator will be worth watching closely, as will the relationship between Pierce and Telesco as they aim to give the franchise long-term stability following the failed Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler endeavor.