Dave Ziegler

Dave Ziegler To Join Saints Through 2024 Draft

When the Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels midway through his second season with the team, general manager Dave Ziegler was also dismissed. The latter has found his next NFL opportunity, at least on a short-term basis.

Ziegler is joining the Saints as an advisor through the upcoming draft, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reports. This temporary agreement will give New Orleans an experienced voice in key personnel decisions over the coming weeks as the team navigates its annual slate of cap gymnastics and free agency. The draft itself will of course be another crucial checkpoint on the offseason calendar.

Ziegler started his executive career with the Broncos in 2010. He worked as a player personnel assistant that year, but some of his subsequent experience came on the scouting side of the operation in Denver and New England. The 46-year-old worked his way up to player personnel director with the Patriots in 2021 before taking the Raiders’ GM gig.

Things did not go according to plan in Vegas, however. The Raiders went 14-20 during his time in charge, a span which took on a distinctly ‘Patriot Way’ flavor. A number of ex-Patriots players were brought in, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The veteran encountered new injury concerns in his debut Vegas campaign, and he was benched in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell by interim coach Antonio Pierce. Garoppolo’s PED suspension will allow the Raiders’ new regime to cut bait, but finding a replacement will be a top offseason priority in the bid to move on from the McDaniels-Ziegler tandem.

The Saints have a number of important decisions to make in the near future, including a continuation of the restructures and extensions which will be needed to get under the salary cap ceiling. A number of veterans – including wideout Michael Thomas, whose contract is set up for him to be released – will likely be let go, though. Replacing them via free agency and the draft will be key factors in the Saints’ bid to reach the postseason after going a combined 16-18 under head coach Dennis Allen. It will be interesting to see if Ziegler earns an extended stay in New Orleans or helps his stock for another executive position elsewhere once the draft has concluded.

Champ Kelly Gaining Support To Remain Raiders’ GM; Team Eyeing High-Level Football Ops Staffer

When the Raiders signed up for a Patriot Way blueprint, they added Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler together. Mark Davis‘ upcoming HC-GM search will likely feature a different approach.

Indicating he would want his GM hire to have some say in the team’s HC choice, Davis said the Raiders will plan to hire their top front office exec first, according to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. While the owner stopped short of ensuring that is how the Raiders’ next round of searches will unfold, he said that will be the likely play (subscription required).

Davis cut the cord on the Ziegler-McDaniels partnership in the middle of the night, canning both hours after the Halloween trade deadline. Champ Kelly and Antonio Pierce are serving in those roles for the time being. It should be expected, barring a freefall over this season’s final three games, both will have a shot to see their interim tags removed. Kelly is viewed around the league as a legitimate candidate to keep his job, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes.

A well-regarded exec, Kelly interviewed for the job Ziegler received in 2022. We heard just after the firings that Kelly had support to ascend to the full-time role. Unlike Pierce, Kelly has a long track record as an NFL staffer. After a five-year tenure as the Broncos’ assistant pro personnel director — a run he began during McDaniels’ infamous Denver tenure — Kelly spent six years with the Bears, finishing out his run as their assistant director of player personnel.

The Raiders hired Kelly, 43, to be their assistant GM shortly after going with Ziegler to lead the way, though SI.com’s Albert Breer notes fellow 2022 interviewee Ed Dodds impressed as well. Dodds has been the Colts’ assistant GM for the past seven years. Dodds has been a popular name on the GM interview circuit in recent years, though he did not interview for any positions in 2023.

Although Pierce and Kelly are both Black, the Raiders will still need to follow Rooney Rule procedures during their search. Two external minority candidates or women are required to interview for teams’ HC and GM positions. At the league meetings last week, buzz pointed to Davis being more likely to retain Kelly than Pierce, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes. This makes sense given Pierce’s limited experience. The ex-Giants Super Bowl-winning linebacker has no NFL coaching experience prior to his Raiders gig, separating this situation from Davis’ call to pass on longtime ST coordinator-turned-interim HC Rich Bisaccia in 2022.

Recently, Pierce had his former Giants coach (Tom Coughlin), along with Adam Gase and ex-Arizona State coworker Marvin Lewis, in the building. The trio sat in on Raiders meetings and offered input on all team aspects, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, with Pierce attempting to gain intel from experienced HCs as he attempts to make a case for the full-time job. Coughlin and Lewis have counseled Pierce since the Raiders named him interim HC, Rapoport adds. No interim head coach has ascended to a full-time position since the Jaguars removed Doug Marrone‘s interim tag in 2017.

Regardless of the Raiders’ decisions regarding their interim staffers, a third power broker may enter the equation soon. Citing Hall of Famer Ron Wolf‘s impact as a scout during his 11-year tenure with the Raiders — ahead of a successful run as the Packers’ GM — Davis alluded to a non-GM hire having a significant say in the next Raider regime.

I think that the triumvirate in that regard worked very well together,” Mark Davis said (via Reed) of his father, Wolf and the Raiders’ HCs. “People think that their egos were all out there, but there was no ego at all. It was about who could they give to the coach to help him do his job and be great. Today, I don’t know.

“Because I don’t have that ability that my father had in judging talent. So, that’s a missing piece to the puzzle, so to speak, is a solid football mind that isn’t the GM or the head coach. And I think that’s a piece that’s probably going to be necessary somewhere down the line is bringing in somebody that understands that football that’s above the day-to-day work.”

The Raiders hiring a high-level football operations exec would stand to limit the GM’s power. This was the case when the Jaguars hired Coughlin to work above Dave Caldwell in 2017, and the Dolphins used this setup with Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier from 2016-18. Mark Davis, however, has struggled throughout his ownership tenure. Eight HCs have stopped through Oakland and Las Vegas since Al Davis‘ death in 2011; the team has two winning seasons since its Super Bowl XXXVII appearance 21 years ago. Bringing in an additional voice would be an interesting effort on the owner’s part. Although the GM and HC hires will generate the most attention, a third pillar coming in would represent a significant development.

Given McDaniels’ experience, it was assumed the three-time Super Bowl-winning OC was running the show during his brief Las Vegas tenure. Ziegler, however, was believed to have the final say on the 53-man roster. Davis confirmed this was the case but stopped short of indicating Ziegler wielded that power regularly.

I think there’s been a misconception on the last head coach and general manager and who had the authority,” Davis said. “Lately, some articles have come out making it seem like the head coach had more authority on that, and that’s the furthest thing from the truth. The general manager had the final authority on all of it. Whether he accepted that authority or not is a different story, but it was very clear when they were hired where the buck stopped.”

The McDaniels-Ziegler duo’s shortcomings will undoubtedly be on Davis’ mind as he determines the franchise’s course for the mid-2020s and beyond.

More Raiders Fallout: McDaniels, Ziegler, Davis, Harbaugh, Brady, Kelly

When the Raiders begin the search for a new head coach and general manager to replace Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, they could have a difficult time attracting the most desirable talent. Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required), owner Mark Davis vowed that he would give the duo a minimum of three years to return the Raiders to contention, but he fired them midway through their second season. Once seen as a patient owner, Davis has undermined his reputation in that regard, and most of the coaches and execs that Howe spoke with believe that the quick trigger will have a negative impact on his search.

One executive said, “I don’t know who you’re going to convince to take those jobs. I think Mark Davis made it harder on himself,” while another added, “[i]t definitely makes the jobs less appealing.”

To be clear, Davis will likely have plenty of candidates to choose from thanks to the desirability and rarity of a top job in the NFL coaching and personnel ranks. Still, it would not be surprising for the biggest fish in the upcoming hiring cycle to rebuff Davis’ overtures.

“If you’re only going to give me two years, just be upfront and honest with me,” a rival coach said. “I can handle that. It’d change the entire way you’d try to build the team. If you’re thinking about setting up to take off and win by Year 3, that’s how you’re going to manage your roster.”

McDaniels, of course, is a proponent of “hard coaching,” and it appears he alienated many Raiders players with his demanding style. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, players “ripped into” McDaniels during the team meeting in which he allowed his charges to air their grievances, and players were especially critical of (among other things) McDaniels’ micromanaging and the way he deflected blame for issues with play-calling. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer adds that interim HC Antonio Pierce attempted to speak on behalf of McDaniels at that meeting, but Pierce’s use of the Super Bowl-winning Giants team he played on as an example of what a good locker room culture can do irked McDaniels, who was part of the Patriots squad that lost that title game to New York (video link).

At the following practice, McDaniels attempted to give the players what they wanted by being less involved and not “overcorrecting” by stepping in after every mistake. However, one source told Rapoport that the new approach did not suit McDaniels well, that the head coach looked like “a shell of himself,” and that it was clear McDaniels’ tenure was coming to an end. Ultimately, McDaniels was unable to recapture the team chemistry that Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.com believes was destroyed when quarterback and team leader Derek Carr was released earlier this year.

The driving force behind Carr’s departure remains a bit unclear. Rapoport’s sources say that Davis “led the push” to replace Carr, with McDaniels and Ziegler eventually getting on board, while Pauline says McDaniels was the one who wanted to move on from the franchise’s longtime passer. Back in late December/early January, it was reported that the McDaniels-Ziegler regime saw Carr as a poor fit in McDaniels’ offense, and that while McDaniels was prepared to let Carr play out the remainder of the 2022 campaign, Davis — who had been “lukewarm” on Carr for some time — wanted the QB to be benched for the last two games of the season.

Even if, as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports suggests, Davis and the McDaniels-Ziegler duo were aligned on the Carr situation, subsequent quarterback-related missteps accelerated this week’s firings (although it should be noted, as Rapoport writes, that former club president Dan Ventrelle agreed to include in Carr’s 2022 extension the no-trade clause that undermined the Raiders’ leverage when they tried to deal Carr this past offseason. Ventrelle entered into that agreement with Carr’s camp prior to speaking with other club officials). We already heard that McDaniels’ decision to start former Patriots QB Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7 rankled Davis, and obviously the decision to sign another of McDaniels’ former pupils, Jimmy Garoppolo, proved to be a poor one, as McDaniels apparently overestimated the ease with which Garoppolo would reacclimate to McDaniels’ offense.

On the subject of Garoppolo, Rapoport reminds us that the Raiders were among the teams that tried to trade up for the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, with quarterback Bryce Young the target. However, McDaniels reportedly did not want to “grow with” a rookie signal-caller, so the Raiders stood down while the Panthers catapulted up the draft board to claim the No. 1 spot before free agency opened. McDaniels & Co. acquired Garoppolo shortly thereafter.

It has been an open secret that Ziegler, despite his general manager title, took a backseat to McDaniels in terms of personnel matters. Indeed, Pauline called Ziegler a “glorified scout” and likened the McDaniels-Ziegler pairing to the Jon-GrudenMike Mayock partnership that preceded it. So while Pauline reports that Davis will be interested in hiring University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, it is fair to wonder if that would be the best move for the owner to make. After all, Harbaugh would also want full autonomy over personnel decisions, and like Mayock and Ziegler, any GM brought in along with Harbaugh would be little more than a figurehead.

That is to say nothing of the fact that Harbaugh, who is currently dealing with allegations of an elaborate sign-stealing scheme after already having served a three-game suspension this year for alleged recruiting violations, may not be the hot NFL candidate he once was. Per Rapoport and NFL.com colleague Tom Pelissero, the NCAA has not ruled on the alleged recruiting violations or sign-stealing operation — the three-game ban was imposed by Michigan — and the NFL may force Harbaugh to serve any NCAA-ordered suspension should he return to the pros. Mark Maske of the Washington Post, meanwhile, says it is not certain that the league would go that route.

Still, in light of the failures of the two prior regimes, a Harbaugh hire could be a tough sell for Davis. In fact, Jones writes that Davis will be seeking a “player-centric” coach rather than a coach with the hard-nosed styles of Harbaugh, Gruden, and McDaniels. Jones also believes Davis will seek to hire a GM before hiring an HC.

In any event, Davis has promised a “comprehensive search” for a new head coach, and Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal says Davis is being encouraged to hire a president of football operations to aid in the process. Ventrelle was replaced by Sandra Douglass Morgan in July 2022, and Jones writes that Morgan, along with longtime executive Tom Delaney and personnel man Ken Herock, will also offer counsel (though Pauline opines that most of Herock’s advice has led to “ruinous” decisions).

Jones echoes his recent report that Tom Brady will also influence Davis’ thinking. As expected, Brady’s would-be stake in the Raiders was not discussed at the league meetings last month, with Jones and Albert Breer of SI.com reporting that other owners take issue with the bargain price at which Davis is trying to sell a share of his club to Brady. Colts owner and finance committee member Jim Irsay told reporters, including Jori Epstein of Yahoo! Sports, “the number just had to be a reasonable number for purchase price.”

Breer adds that Brady’s broadcasting contract with FOX is also a hurdle to ratification of the purchase. Understandably, teams do not want anyone with an ownership stake in a rival outfit having the access and obtaining the inside information that broadcasters often enjoy, so much will need to change for Brady to be approved as a minority owner at the next league meetings in December.

Given Davis’ deep respect for Brady, it stands to reason that the all-time great will be an important voice in Davis’ ear regardless of his ownership status. And while much of the discussion about Las Vegas’ changing power structure has thus far focused upon who the next head coach will be, Pauline notes that there is a “groundswell” of support for interim general manager Champ Kelly to retain the GM post on a full-time basis. Kelly, a longtime Bears exec who has experience in both personnel and salary cap matters, has taken a number of GM interviews in recent years, and Davis recently admitted that Kelly might have gotten the Raiders’ GM job in 2022 if the package deal of McDaniels and Ziegler had not become available. Jones also names Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds as a candidate to monitor.

Despite Ziegler’s figurehead status in Nevada, Rapoport observes that McDaniels’ right-hand man nonetheless made strides in modernizing the personnel side of the Raiders’ operation, an effort that included hiring respected scouting minds, creating a scouting development program, and injecting “forward-thinking concepts on player development.” The next Raiders GM should therefore have something of a foundation to build upon.

Whether that person is Kelly or someone else remains to be seen, but in acknowledgment of their promotions, Davis reworked the contracts of both Kelly and Pierce, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. Those transactions added even more money to the whopping $85MM tab that Davis will have to pick up due to the McDaniels and Ziegler firings (though some of that amount will be offset should his former employees land new jobs elsewhere).

Davis is one of the league’s most cash-poor owners, so these hugely expensive maneuvers underscore the strength of his conviction that McDaniels and Ziegler were not the right men to lead the Raiders. As Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, Davis also fired team COO Mike Newquist, whom he hired just three months ago. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk concedes that Newquist’s post is unrelated to the football side of the team, but he believes the immediate firing of a key employee will further add to the perception of dysfunction that presently surrounds Davis’ franchise.

One way or another, Raiders fans are in for a fascinating few months.

Mark Davis Discusses McDaniels, Ziegler Firings

Mark Davis pulled the plug on the Josh McDaniels/Dave Ziegler tandem earlier this week, ending an underwhelming one-plus-year run for the duo. Previous reports hinted that the owner fired McDaniels and Ziegler because of their mishandling of the quarterback position.

[RELATED: Raiders Fire Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler]

It started when the front office decided to hand Derek Carr a lucrative extension with a no-trade clause. While a divorce was inevitable following the 2022 campaign, Carr’s leverage meant the Raiders couldn’t receive anything in return for their quarterback. The organization exacerbated their issues when they gave Jimmy Garoppolo more than $30MM in guaranteed money. After failing his physical and going under the knife, the quarterback has started his Raiders career by tossing a league-leading nine interceptions.

McDaniels and Ziegler also drew the ire of Davis when they started Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7, with the veteran backup tossing a pair of interceptions in an eventual loss to the lowly Bears.

While the duo’s issues at the QB position played a significant role in their firings, it sounds like Davis could have let that slide if the Raiders took a step forward elsewhere. Instead, the owner told The Athletic’s Tashan Reed that he saw “regression” from his team, and that was what played the biggest role in Tuesday night’s decision.

Davis provided some more insight into his decision to move on from his head coach and GM, and he also touched on the promotions of Champ Kelly and Antonio Pierce. We’ve compiled the notable quotes below:

On his decision to fire both McDaniels and Ziegler:

“I just didn’t see the progress. I saw regression.”

On what attracted him to McDaniels in the first place:

“I was really excited because I believe Josh McDaniels has a very fertile offensive mind and I’ve seen him in the past be able to adjust to so many different variables. I thought that he could bring a fresh, explosive offensive mind to the Raiders.”

On the decision to name assistant GM Champ Kelly as the interim general manager:

“Had I not done the pair of Dave and Josh, Champ may have gotten the job at that time. We were fortunate and grateful that he decided to come on board as the assistant general manager. So, there was not even a question as to who would actually step into that position.”

On the decision to name linebackers coach Antonio Pierce as the interim head coach:

“I wasn’t very familiar with Antonio over the course of the last 1 1/2 years or so, but I’d gotten to know him a little bit. When I saw Antonio’s background and resume, I was intrigued. So, when I sat down with him and interviewed him, I just felt he was the right guy at the right time to fit the role that I was looking for.”

On what he hopes to see from the Raiders for the rest of the 2023 season:

“I’d like to see progress and I’d like to see the culture of the team together. I won’t say that we lost the culture because those guys never quit. Even when they were behind, they continually played. They played really, really hard. I think it’s a great group of young men and it’ll be interesting to see with new leadership whether we can get more out of it.”

On how he’ll approach his head coach/GM search next offseason:

“This time, I don’t really have anybody in mind that would potentially prejudice my thinking, so to speak. My thought process is wide open. And there’s a very good chance that the head coach and general manager that we have right now may end up getting the jobs.”

Raiders Fallout: Davis, Garoppolo, Brady

The Raiders made headlines early this morning when they fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. While the midseason shakeup may have come as a surprise to some, it probably didn’t shock many of the team’s veterans.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, owner Mark Davis had meetings with veteran players over the past week to better understand the team’s culture (or lack thereof). Albert Breer of SI.com echoes that report, noting that Davis was well aware of the players’ grievances. Even before the recent meetings, the firing started to feel “inevitable” within the organization, according to Breer. Davis was becoming increasingly “volatile and angry” with the team’s inconsistencies, and that ultimately led to his decision.

McDaniels was also aware of the problems in his locker room. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the coach allowed players to raise their issues during a team meeting last week. Josh Jacobs, Maxx Crosby, and Davante Adams were among the veteran players who spoke up, with the latter also expressing his discontent following Monday’s loss to the Lions.

Breer has more details on what led to the eventual firings. There was a “particularly aggressive” postgame meeting between Davis and his staff after the Raiders beat the Packers in Week 5. Despite the win, the owner caught the attention of many because he was “so angry,” and his “reaction created an uneasy feeling” with coaches and scouts.

More notes out of Las Vegas…

  • The “disconnect” between Davis and McDaniels/Ziegler surrounding the Raiders quarterback situation played a major role in the dismissals, according to Dianna Russini, Vic Tafur, Tashan Reed, and Larry Holder of The Athletic. The decision that played the most significant role in the firings was when veteran Brian Hoyer started over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7. Breer provided more context on that decision, noting that the Raiders believed Hoyer’s veteran game management would be advantageous against the Bears, who were rolling with a rookie of their own. Some coaches believed that O’Connell should get the call, and Hoyer proceeded to throw a pair of interceptions in an eventual loss.
  • According to Tafur, Davis had issues with Ziegler’s handling of the position before this season. The owner wasn’t a proponent of the extension that the GM gave to Derek Carr, and the accompanying no-trade clause meant the organization ultimately let the franchise quarterback walk without receiving any compensation. Ziegler didn’t do himself any favors by handing Jimmy Garoppolo $33MM in guaranteed money. The oft-injured QB later failed his physical and ultimately required surgery, and he’s proceeded to toss nine interceptions in his six games. The GM also might regret his decision to not target a rookie and spend the money elsewhere; per Tafur, the Raiders only liked Bryce Young heading into the draft.
  • Davis will now have a difficult choice to make on Garoppolo, and it goes beyond the decision to start O’Connell in Week 9. As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes, it makes most sense for the organization to cut the veteran QB as soon as possible. Garoppolo has $11.25MM in injury guarantees that are due in March of 2024. The team could cut him after the Super Bowl and before the guarantee vests, but they’d be risking the QB suffering an injury during an upcoming game or practice.
  • Tom Brady isn’t yet an official part-owner of the Raiders, but the future Hall of Famer will be involved in the HC and GM hiring process, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. Of course, Brady has a relationship with both McDaniels and Ziegler, with the trio having won many Super Bowls together during their time in New England.

Raiders Fire Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler

Midway through the Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler tandem’s second season, Mark Davis is pulling the plug. The Raiders are firing their head coach and general manager, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. The Raiders have since announced the firings.

This comes after an ugly Monday-night performance in Detroit, but it represents a stunningly early end for a pair given the keys in 2022. This late-night firing marks McDaniels’ second in-season ouster; the Broncos fired him late in his second season back in 2010. The Raiders are planning to name Antonio Pierce as their interim HC, Schefter reports. The Raiders hired Pierce, a former Super Bowl-winning linebacker, as linebackers coach in 2022. To fill in for Ziegler, the Raiders are promoting assistant GM Champ Kelly, per ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez.

After much thought about what the Raiders need to move forward, I have decided to part ways with Josh and Dave,” Davis said in a statement. “I want to thank them both for their hard work and wish them and their families nothing but the best.”

While the ex-Patriot staffers have not shown indications this operation will turn around anytime soon, this still represents a shocking decision. Davis signed off on a six-year contract for McDaniels during the 2022 hiring period; the Raiders are obligated to pay the former Patriots OC through the 2027 season. McDaniels had operated patiently in the years following his decision to spurn the Colts, being selective on the interview circuit. But he chose the Raiders as his return vehicle; that choice backfired.

Although news of these abrupt ousters emerged just after midnight, Schefter adds Davis began giving indications late Tuesday he planned to fire the second-year HC-GM combo. Though, this certainly qualifies as a news dump. Considering the confidence Davis displayed in this power duo, the timing of this announcement probably should not surprise. The Raiders are set to reboot once again. Davis gave McDaniels a vote of confidence around this time last year, but the product has not improved.

This likely closes the curtain on McDaniels’ head coaching career, and when his decision to backtrack on his Colts commitment is factored in, the successful New England play-caller is poised to go down as one of this century’s least successful HCs. Both McDaniels and Ziegler arrived from New England, with the latter also in Denver during McDaniels’ infamous stint there. McDaniels, 47, is now 20-33 as a head coach. The three-time Super Bowl-winning coordinator does not boast a basement-level record, but this firing comes 13 years after the Broncos canned him after a messy videotaping scandal. Ziegler, 46, joined McDaniels during that second Broncos season but spent eight years with the Patriots prior to coming to Vegas.

The Raiders, who fell to 3-5 after their Monday loss to the Lions, made some curious decisions this offseason to reach this point. Most notably, they signed ex-McDaniels Patriots charge Jimmy Garoppolo and did not bring in a higher-end backup — despite the former 49ers starter having become the NFL’s most injury-prone quarterback. The Raiders met with the draft’s top five QB prospects but waited until Round 4 to make a selection, tabbing Aidan O’Connell. Brian Hoyer, the NFL’s second-oldest active QB, has been Garoppolo’s top backup. The Raiders gave Hoyer a two-year deal that came almost entirely guaranteed; the 38-year-old passer considered retirement this offseason.

Las Vegas made a surprising push to the playoffs after its last in-season HC divorce, which came just two years ago. Leaked emails forcing Jon Gruden out drew considerable controversy, with Davis voicing frustration at the leak — which came about during a Dan Snyder investigation — before ultimately moving on. Despite interim HC Rich Bisaccia leading the team to a 10-7 finish and a narrow wild-card loss in Cincinnati, Davis opted to start over with McDaniels and Ziegler. The Raiders have gone 9-16 since.

This Raiders edition ranks 30th in DVOA (30th on offense, 31st on defense), with McDaniels’ offensive acumen not leading to Year 2 growth. The Raiders largely left their offensive line alone from last season as well. Even after the group delivered surprisingly capable work and powered Josh Jacobs to a rushing title, concerns about the quintet emerged before last season. Through eight games, Jacobs — whom the Raiders franchise-tagged and handed a rare raise after the reigning rushing champion skipped training camp — is averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Hunter Renfrow exceeded 1,000 yards in 2021 and signed a two-year, $32MM extension in 2022. The slot receiver became an afterthought in McDaniels’ offense, sitting on 92 receiving yards this season.

Perhaps most notably, Davante Adams‘ production has dipped from 2022. After the Raiders traded their 2022 first- and second-round picks for Adams, he produced an All-Pro season with ex-college teammate Derek Carr at the controls. The ex-Packer star has not eclipsed 60 receiving yards in a game since Week 4. Adams, 30, displayed visible frustration — after weeks of griping about his lack of opportunities — on the sideline during the Raiders’ double-digit loss in Week 8. Adams is not believed to have requested a trade before Tuesday’s deadline, but the longtime Aaron Rodgers target is trapped in limbo after anchoring three straight playoff-bound Packer teams’ receiving corps.

Davis is believed to have played a key role in McDaniels’ decision to bench Carr before Week 17 last year. Carr then left the team and prepared for an opportunity elsewhere. While Carr rarely flirted with top-tier QB status during his nine-year run as the Raiders’ starter, his level of play worsened under McDaniels. The Raiders used the escape hatch in Carr’s 2022 extension to cut him, doing so after the passer wielded his no-trade clause. Garoppolo signed a three-year, $72.75MM deal soon after. Garoppolo’s QBR number dropped to 30th after finishing 10-for-21 with 126 yards Monday.

In addition to Garoppolo, the McDaniels and Ziegler loaded up the Raiders’ roster with ex-Patriots. Hoyer, Jakobi Meyers, Jakob Johnson, Brandon Bolden, Jermaine Eluemunor and Justin Herron comprise the ex-Pats wing on offense. While fewer former New England presences reside on Patrick Graham‘s defense, the Chandler Jones fiasco obviously did not help the since-fired bigwigs. The Raiders gave Jones a three-year, $51MM deal in 2022. Not only did the former Patriots draftee and Cardinals All-Pro perform poorly for most of last season, the strange saga that led him off the team this fall stripped a starter off the roster.

They of two playoff appearances since Super Bowl XXXVII, the Raiders are at a crossroads yet again. Davis will be paying two coaches for the foreseeable future, though offset language — should McDaniels land elsewhere, perhaps for a third Patriots stint — could help on this front. But the decision to give the keys to two ex-Patriot staffers will go down as a tremendous misstep for Davis. This also continues to bury the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Aside from Bill O’Brien‘s Texans tenure, none of the legendary Patriot coach’s assistants have been able to win consistently. And O’Brien did well to torpedo his Houston run during his memorable stint in the HC/GM role.

The Raiders gave Pierce his first NFL coaching job. Before coming to Nevada, the 45-year-old assistant was on Herm Edwards’ Arizona State staff. The former Pro Bowl linebacker was the head coach of Long Beach Poly High from 2014-17. The Raiders hired Kelly last year, bringing him over from Chicago. Kelly also was with the Broncos during McDaniels’ tenure, but he stayed longer than McDaniels or Ziegler. The well-respected front office staffer spent seven seasons with the Bears, finishing his run as the team’s assistant director of player personnel.

Latest On Raiders, Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones‘ Instagram account caused a bit of a controversy this week. Reacting to being locked out of the Raiders’ facility and then going to work out on his own at a public gym, the former All-Pro lashed out at Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler.

The 12th-year pass rusher attempted to contact McDaniels and Ziegler by phone on Tuesday, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore, but was unsuccessful. Jones then said — in since-deleted posts — he no longer wants to be a Raider as long as McDaniels and Ziegler are in charge. The All-Decade-teamer also mentioned he would prefer DC Patrick Graham be the team’s head coach.

This strange development continued to Wednesday, when McDaniels indicated (via ESPN.com’s Field Yates) Jones will not be with the team at practice today. The Raiders gave Jones a three-year, $51MM deal in 2022. McDaniels said this is a private matter and declined to say if the veteran defender would play in the team’s opener, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. Jones, 33, also did not attend Raiders team meetings Tuesday, Tafur adds.

It’s a shame that I am a top athlete with 112 sacks in the NFL and I have to go to a local gym to work out during the season for no apparent reason,” Jones said in a different post (h/t Bonsignore), “this is wild to me Josh and you know it you need to do what’s right [sic].”

Although Jones signed with the Raiders last year, he has been on several teams with McDaniels in place as a prominent staffer. Both were with the Patriots from 2012-15, with Jones on his rookie contract and McDaniels in his second stint as New England’s OC. Ziegler was with the Patriots for much of Jones’ Foxborough tenure as well. McDaniels famously alienated a few cornerstone Broncos during his time as their head coach, with one of those conflicts leading to 2009’s blockbuster Jay Cutler trade. A subsequent issue with Brandon Marshall led to a 2010 trade. Considerable time passed in between McDaniels’ HC opportunities, but his Colts about-face in 2018 reinforced a polarizing reputation within the league.

Still, it would be strange if Jones was not in uniform for the Raiders’ opener Sunday in Denver. The team did bring in Tyree Wilson as a likely Jones starter replacement for 2024, but the No. 7 overall pick is expected to supplement Jones and Maxx Crosby this season. The Raiders guaranteed Jones $32MM at signing. He already collected an $8.5MM roster bonus for this year and has $9.67MM in additional salary guarantees in his contract. No guarantees remain on Jones’ deal into 2024.

His game-winning touchdown on the Jakobi Meyers‘ lateral botch notwithstanding, Jones did not live up to his contract last season. He totaled 4.5 sacks in 15 games, though the former Cardinals standout tallied 15 QB hits. Both numbers were well off his 2021 Arizona showing (10.5 sacks, 26 QB hits), however. Jones looms as a 2024 release candidate, but he and the Raiders look to have some fence-mending to do before this season begins.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured GMs

The latest NFL general manager hiring cycle only produced two changes, but each took over for an executive who appeared in good standing at this point last year.

Steve Keim had held his Cardinals GM post since January 2013, and the Cardinals gave both he and Kliff Kingsbury extensions — deals that ran through 2027 — in March of last year. Arizona has since rebooted, moving on from both Keim and Kingsbury. Keim took a leave of absence late last season, and the Cardinals replaced him with ex-Titans exec Monti Ossenfort.

[RELATED: The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches]

As the Cardinals poached one of the Titans’ top front office lieutenants, Tennessee went with an NFC West staffer to replace Jon Robinson. The move to add 49ers FO bastion Ran Carthon also came less than a year after the Titans reached extension agreements with both Robinson and HC Mike Vrabel. But controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk canned Robinson — in place as GM since January 2016 — before last season ended. Adams Strunk cited player unavailability and roster quality among the reasons she chose to move on despite having extended Robinson through the 2027 draft months earlier. The Titans are now pairing Vrabel and Carthon.

The Bills reached an extension agreement with GM Brandon Beane two weeks ago. Hired shortly after the team gave Sean McDermott the HC keys, Beane has helped the Bills to five playoff berths in six seasons. Beane’s deal keeps him signed through 2027. Chargers GM Tom Telesco has hit the 10-year mark leading that front office, while this year also marks the 10th offseason of Buccaneers honcho Jason Licht‘s tenure running the NFC South team. Although Jim Irsay fired Frank Reich and later admitted he reluctantly extended his former HC in 2021, the increasingly active Colts owner has expressed confidence in Chris Ballard.

Here is how the NFL’s GM landscape looks going into the 2023 season:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  5. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010; signed extension in 2021
  6. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010; signed extension in 2022
  7. Les Snead (Los Angeles Rams): February 10, 2012; signed extension in 2022
  8. Tom Telesco (Los Angeles Chargers): January 9, 2013; signed extension in 2018
  9. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014; signed extension in 2021
  10. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016[4]
  11. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017; signed extension in 2020
  12. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017; signed extension in 2021
  13. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017; signed extension in 2023
  14. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017; signed extension in 2020
  15. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018; agreed to extension in 2022
  16. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019
  17. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  18. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  19. Nick Caserio (Houston Texans): January 5, 2021
  20. George Paton (Denver Broncos): January 13, 2021
  21. Scott Fitterer (Carolina Panthers): January 14, 2021
  22. Brad Holmes (Detroit Lions): January 14, 2021
  23. Terry Fontenot (Atlanta Falcons): January 19, 2021
  24. Trent Baalke (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 21, 2021
  25. Martin Mayhew (Washington Commanders): January 22, 2021
  26. Joe Schoen (New York Giants): January 21, 2022
  27. Ryan Poles (Chicago Bears): January 25, 2022
  28. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Minnesota Vikings): January 26, 2022
  29. Dave Ziegler (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  30. Omar Khan (Pittsburgh Steelers): May 24, 2022
  31. Monti Ossenfort (Arizona Cardinals): January 16, 2023
  32. Ran Carthon (Tennessee Titans): January 17, 2023


  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Although Grier was hired in 2016, he became the Dolphins’ top football exec on Dec. 31, 2018

Cardinals Made Offer For Raiders’ No. 7 Overall Pick

The Cardinals made three trades during the draft’s first 33 picks, moving down twice and climbing up to land Paris Johnson. The middle trade came together late, with the Cardinals’ late offer evidently stopping the Lions from making a shocking pickJahmyr Gibbs at No. 6 overall.

Before GM Monti Ossenfort made a successful trade proposal to Detroit counterpart Brad Holmes, the rookie Arizona front office boss made an offer to the Raiders. The GMs discussed the No. 7 overall pick in a deal that would have moved the Raiders down to No. 12, NBC Sports’ Peter King reports. Arizona’s proposal would have sent Las Vegas the No. 33 overall pick, it appears, which would have given the Raiders three picks between Nos. 12 and 38.

Although the Raiders met with this draft class’ top five quarterbacks, Josh McDaniels said just before the draft (per King, granted war-room access) the Raiders had four non-quarterback prospects targeted at No. 7, but the team mulled the Cardinals’ offer for the pick. As McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler considered the move down to 12, the Cardinals ended up making the trade with the Lions.

The Raiders ended up with Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson at 7, but King adds McDaniels pondered the prospect of the team adding draft capital and then selecting Oklahoma tackle Anton Harrison at No. 12. The Raiders were high on both Harrison and Johnson, which makes the draft route they ended up taking rather interesting. Not only did the Silver and Black not select a tackle over the weekend, they did not draft any offensive linemen. Harrison ended up 27th overall to the Jaguars.

Vegas made a move up at No. 35 to select Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer, and by the time Round 3 ended, the Raiders had added both Mayer and wide receiver Tre Tucker. (The Raiders had attempted to trade back into Round 1 with Mayer in mind, per King, who adds the Chiefs discussed No. 31 with their rivals briefly.) They have now used two premium picks on pass catchers and gave Jakobi Meyers $16MM fully guaranteed. As of now, the Raiders would be set to field an offensive line consisting entirely of players on the 2022 roster. Though, the team did re-sign Brandon Parker, a tackle who missed last season due to injury. While considerable doubt existed about the Raiders’ O-line going into last season, the blockers helped Josh Jacobs become the first Raider to win the rushing title since Marcus Allen in 1985. Pro Football Focus rated Las Vegas’ O-line 10th last season, though McDaniels’ Harrison reference points to the team targeting that position.

Regarding the player the Raiders took in Round 1, teams voiced concerns regarding the talented pass rusher’s injury past. The Raiders are one of the teams to clear Wilson medically, Ziegler confirmed, joining the Cardinals and Texans (likely among others). Not all teams cleared the former Big 12 standout. Several teams said, via the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora, they would not have taken Wilson due to the Lisfranc fracture that ended his senior Red Raiders season. Wilson, who also dealt with back trouble last year, needed two surgeries to repair the fracture.

Our board was right. We needed three quarterbacks to go, and we’re so happy we got one of the four non-quarterbacks who were our top-rated guys on the board,” McDaniels said (via King) in the war room after the team chose Wilson. “Look, we gotta rush the passer. We gotta go get [Patrick] Mahomes and [Justin] Herbert. That’s four games a year for the next few years against these great young quarterbacks. And the AFC is full of these great young quarterbacks. This is a great outcome for us.”

The Raiders have Maxx Crosby signed long term, and while Chandler Jones‘ $17MM-per-year deal runs through 2024, it is certainly possible the team moves on from the former All-Pro after this season. Jones’ guarantees only cover this season. Wilson will mix in with the veterans this season but could be Crosby’s top bookend soon.

Latest On Raiders’ QB Situation

Since their decision to move on from Derek Carrquestions have been raised about which direction the Raiders will go in at the quarterback position. As they and other teams continue the evaluation process of both free agent and draft options, much remains uncertain.

General manager Dave Ziegler recently acknowledged that a long-term Carr successor may not be in place by the time the 2023 season kicks off. That was particularly noteworthy given the fact that the Raiders currently hold the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft, and that they have a number of free agent priorities to address with the money which would be saved by not acquiring a high-end veteran starter. Comments from head coach Josh McDaniels point to a rookie passer still being a distinct possibility for next year, though.

When speaking about the work he and the Raiders would do in meeting with and evaluating the 2023 QB class during the combine, McDaniels affirmed that the organization’s goal does remain adding someone who is “going to be a Raider for a long time.” Las Vegas would have to compete with the likes of the Texans, Colts and Panthers in terms of teams holding top-10 picks which are likely to be targeting rookie passers. Jockeying with those squads could become increasingly relevant given the Bears’ willingness to move the No. 1 pick.

“The goal for us, eventually, is to have somebody that’s going to be here for a long time,” McDaniels elaborated, via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez“You see the teams that are having success right now in our league, our conference and specifically in our division, they’re young players that were drafted by their clubs and they’re being developed there under the same continuity.”

Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are likely to be out of the Raiders’ range barring a trade up the board, but other quarterbacks like Kentucky’s Will Levis or Florida’s Anthony Richardson could be options. The team’s evaluations of those passers will become crucial in informing their short- and long-term plans at the position, though McDaniels pointed out that “a number of” QBs will be acquired in the coming weeks and months.

Part of the reason for that, of course, is the fact that Jarrett Stidham, who finished the year as the team’s starter, is not under contract. On that point, Ziegler noted (via Vic Tafur of The Athletic) that talks have begun with the former Patriots draftee. He added that the team is “happy” with Stidham’s performance in his brief audition after Carr was benched, though at least one other option capable of competing for the starting role will no doubt be added in either March or April. Which path the Raiders take to accomplish that very much remains up in the air.