Mark Davis

Mark Davis Prefers To Pair Davante Adams With Next Raiders QB

Earlier this afternoon, we looked into the situations surrounding the Raiders and Broncos’ paths to a quarterback upgrade in this draft. The Broncos are limited with draft capital, which has drawn speculation they could consider moving Patrick Surtain. The Raiders have a chip to dangle as well, if they so choose.

Tom Telesco said earlier this offseason he was not planning to make Davante Adams available in trades, but the All-Pro wide receiver has come up on a few occasions before. And he would make sense as an asset the Raiders could unload if they truly sought to move near the top of the draft.

Adams said from his youth football camp recently if he wanted to be gone he would indeed be out. While he is now 31 and on a Raiders team in transition, the former Packers star is viewed as a player Mark Davis wants to keep. Although Adams could potentially be used to help the Raiders add draft capital to then make a move up the board, the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora notes Davis is believed to “strongly prefer” Adams be retained to pair with a young quarterback.

It is not yet known if the Raiders will come away from the draft with a passer positioned to eventually take over for Gardner Minshew, though Michael Penix Jr. is coming up as a potential Jayden Daniels consolation prize. A rookie-QB contract would also pair better with Adams’ $28MM-per-year accord compared to those of Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Adams was among the players who stumped for Antonio Pierce this winter. Josh Jacobs joined him, though the former rushing champion is now gone. Three seasons remain on Adams’ contract, which contains a full guarantee for his 2024 base salary ($16.89MM). Beyond this year, no guarantees remain. That will make Adams easier to move, though the compensation the Raiders could acquire will stand to decrease as the veteran standout ages.

Accumulating draft capital would be the only benefit for the Raiders in an Adams trade; moving the 11th-year veteran would cost them $23.6MM in dead money while bringing back next to no cap savings. Of course, a long-term QB move would dwarf the importance of Adams on this year’s roster. Another Adams trade was once rumored to be likely this offseason, but as the draft nears, signs are pointing against the Raiders moving their top pass catcher.

Raiders Eyeing Bill Belichick?

It sounds like we can add another team to the list of potential Bill Belichick suitors. According to Dianna Russini of The Athletic, the Raiders are “hoping to get a chance to meet with Belichick” if he’s let go by New England.

[RELATED: Bill Belichick-Patriots Separation Likely To Take Weeks To Finalize]

The Raiders sourced their most recent head coaching hire from New England, although it led to disappointing results. Josh McDaniels didn’t last two seasons in Las Vegas, as he was ousted in late October after starting the season 3-5. The team also fired GM Dave Ziegler, who previously spent close to a decade in New England’s front office.

Belichick would obviously bring a lot more credibility to the role than his former offensive coordinator. However, you have to wonder if Mark Davis and co. would be so willing to hire a Patriots staffer following their recent failure.

The Raiders’ connections to the Patriots go beyond McDaniels and Ziegler. While the move still isn’t approved, Tom Brady is set to become a minority owner of the organization, and there are whispers that he’ll have a say in the team’s next coaching hire. Considering the reported tension between Brady and Belichick at the end of the quarterback’s Patriots tenure, it’d be an interesting development if the new part-owner is willing to recruit his former coach.

Interim head coach Antonio Pierce reportedly has the support of his locker room when it comes to earning the full-time job. However, as Russini notes, Davis has “always made it known” that he wants his Las Vegas franchise to be led by a star name. That’s a reason why Jim Harbaugh could also be a leading candidate for the gig.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Belichick will even leave New England. We learned last night that the potential divorce could take weeks to finalize, and at the very least, it sounds like the respected coach will avoid a Black Monday ouster. A drawn-out separation could limit Belichick’s ability to get a new job, so it’ll be interesting to see how teams like the Raiders navigate their HC search while juggling Belichick’s uncertainty.

Staff Rumors: Commanders, Smith, Falcons, Bears, Pierce, Raiders, Giants

Among head coaches, Ron Rivera resides as the only true lock to be fired following Week 18. The Commanders‘ new ownership injects mystery into the upcoming search. Josh Harris has been rumored to be intrigued by a setup in which a football operations president-type figure oversees a GM and head coach, and’s Albert Breer further points to the owner being unlikely to hand the keys to a high-powered HC. Like Bill Belichick, Breer considers Jim Harbaugh an unlikely candidate in Washington. It is not known if Belichick would require personnel control if he ends up elsewhere, but Harbaugh having the leverage of more Michigan extension offers, it is expected the hard-edged HC would need significant input on the personnel front if he were to return to the NFL. So far, the Chargers have been the team most closely linked to luring him back.

Additionally, Breer notes Harris is intrigued by how the Eagles and Ravens’ power structures are set up. The Commanders hired ex-Ravens analytics staffer Eugene Shen as senior VP of football strategy in the fall. While the Eagles lost four staffers to assistant GM roles in 2022, the Ravens have a GM candidate in player personnel director Joe Hortiz. Baltimore’s OC-DC tandem — Todd Monken and Mike Macdonald — is expected to generate HC interest as well.

Going into Week 18, here is the latest from staffs around the NFL:

  • With the Falcons on the doorstep of a third straight 7-10 season, Arthur Smith‘s job status has come up frequently. Vacillating back and forth between being fired or becoming the rare HC to be given a fourth year despite three straight losing seasons, Smith was not exactly given a vote of confidence by Arthur Blank. But the longtime Falcons owner is not believed to be actively seeking changes, per Breer, making it sound like the hope is for Smith and GM Terry Fontenot to show enough to stay on. A one-sided loss to the Saints may well change Blank’s mind. The Falcons can win the NFC South by beating the Saints and the Buccaneers — who also have a coach on the hot seat — losing to the Panthers.
  • Ryan Poles is believed to have a good relationship with new Bears president Kevin Warren, being expected to stay on for a third year as GM. Prior to the Bears‘ rout of the Falcons, Matt Eberflus was linked to being in good standing for a third HC season. While expecting both to stay, Breer notes neither Bears power broker has been assured of a return. Warren has been a wild card in this scenario since he was hired, and the former Big Ten commissioner did not confirm publicly when asked Friday (via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley) if Eberflus would be retained. Eberflus is 10-23 as Bears HC, but the team — which has a rather important quarterback decision to make soon — is 7-5 over its past 12.
  • Raiders leaders Davante Adams, Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs would back the retention of interim HC Antonio Pierce, but Mark Davis is believed to be aiming higher. After all, Pierce — who resigned his two-year post as Arizona State DC in 2022 — has far less experience than Raiders DC Patrick Graham. But Pierce’s knowledge of the Raiders’ culture and history does appeal to Davis, Paul Gutierrez of writes, noting these factors matter considerably to the second-generation owner. No team has bumped an interim leader to the full-time post since the Jaguars elevated Doug Marrone in 2017.
  • Giants running backs coach Jeff Nixon is set for a responsibility jump; it will come at the college level. Syracuse hired Nixon as its offensive coordinator Friday. Nixon was in his first season as Giants RBs coach; he had served under Matt Rhule at Baylor and with the Panthers. The Giants hired Nixon last year to replace DeAndre Smith, who left to take the same position with the Colts.

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,’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’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’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.

Raiders Interested In David Shaw?

Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce has established himself as a legitimate candidate to take over the full-time gig following the 2023 season. Of course, that won’t stop Mark Davis and co. from eyeing other options. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal passes along, a “name to keep an eye on” in the sweepstakes is former Stanford head coach David Shaw.

Shaw spent more than a decade running Stanford’s program, earning three conference titles and five bowl victories. He was fired following two-straight 3-9 campaigns, and he’s spent the past year out of football entirely.

Shaw actually spent time with the Raiders early on in his coaching career, serving as the team’s offensive quality control coach and later the quarterbacks coach. He spent four seasons with the Ravens before getting recruited by Jim Harbaugh to be the receivers coach at the University of San Diego. He followed Harbaugh to Stanford, serving as the offensive coordinator before getting promoted to head coach when Harbaugh left for the 49ers.

This isn’t the first time the coach has been connected to head coaching gigs. Shaw was a candidate for the Broncos head coaching job last offseason before the organization traded for Sean Payton.

Depending on how the Raiders finish the season, Shaw might not even have a shot at the job. Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes that a 6-3 record for Pierce “would get him the full-time job.” Following last weekend’s loss to the Chiefs, the Raiders are now 2-2 under the interim head coach, meaning they’ll need to go 4-1 the rest of the way to reach that record. Of course, Pierce could also earn the job without the strong finish; as Tafur writes, Davis “loves” how the players have responded to their new head coach.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Owners Not Expected To Approve Tom Brady’s Raiders Stake At Meetings

In place for months, Tom Brady‘s agreement to buy a Raiders stake remains on hold ahead of a crucial point. The next round of NFL owners’ meetings are set to begin Oct. 17, and the Washington Post’s Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala report Brady’s purchase is unlikely to be ratified at that point.

Brady’s stake of the franchise is believed to be between five and 10%, according to Maske and Jhabvala, who report owners have issues with the discounted price Mark Davis is offering the recently retired quarterback. Although minority pieces of a sports franchise are frequently sold for discounted rates — due to limited partners’ minimal contributions in franchise operations — the Post reports Davis may be offering Brady an approximate 70% discount to join his ownership group.

Multiple issues are clouding the deal, but the stake price appears to be the lead item. The former Patriots and Buccaneers passer has said he plans to play a “very passive” role as a Raiders owner, and he was recently approved as a part-owner of the Las Vegas Aces, a WNBA franchise Davis owns. Twenty-four owners must approve Brady’s share of the Raiders. As of now, that is not expected to take place at the upcoming meetings, which run from Oct. 17-18.

Support does exist among NFL brass and the league’s finance committee for Brady’s Raiders agreement to be approved, per Maske and Jhabvala. Brady remaining involved with the NFL would understandably be enticing for many, though the all-time great is also planning to begin a career as a FOX analyst in 2024. Brady agreed to a 10-year, $375MM contract in 2022 to become FOX’s lead analyst when his playing career ended. Brady, 46, delayed that move for a year, intending to take time off before committing fully. But the finance committee is not planning to approve Brady’s stake at the above-referenced price.

Considering Brady’s popularity, it is certainly notable this many “no” votes are in place. The other issues holding up a deal are not known, but Brady agreed to become a Raiders part-owner less than a year after the NFL slapped the Dolphins with a steep penalty — loss of a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third — for a tampering scandal in which the AFC East franchise eyed Brady as a player/owner and Sean Payton as head coach. That arrangement would have needed full ownership approval, which seemed unlikely given how Brady’s talent could have affected other teams under that plan. Brady serving as a Raiders player/owner — a scenario that has been shot down on multiple occasions — would also need 31 “yes” votes; that would also be viewed as unlikely.

Unlike last year, Brady has said he is done for good. The Jets were not planning to reach out to the future first-ballot Hall of Famer after Aaron Rodgers‘ injury. The Raiders have used fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connell as Jimmy Garoppolo‘s backup, though the team did look into Brady as a player before his February retirement.

For now, Brady remains unattached. But it is not out of the question the remaining issues are resolved and the 23-year veteran signs on in a Raiders ownership-only role. The next round of meetings are scheduled for Dec. 12-13.

Raiders DE Chandler Jones: Mark Davis Is Holding A “Huge Secret”

The odd situation between Chandler Jones and the Raiders does not appear to be any closer to a resolution. On September 15, the edge defender posted a tweet indicating that the team has not yet contacted him or his reps, though just last week he posted to his Instagram account what appears to be a text exchange between him and Raiders owner Mark Davis (via Tashan Reed of The Athletic).

To recap, in the days leading up to Las Vegas’ regular season opener, Jones posted a series of angry messages to his Instagram account alleging that the Raiders locked him out of the team facility, thereby forcing him to work out at a local gym. In those since-deleted posts, he went on say that he could not get in touch with either head coach Josh McDaniels or general manager Dave Ziegler and no longer wanted to play for the club as long as McDaniels and Ziegler remain in charge.

Then, in another round of social media posts that he later deleted, Jones — who missed several practices towards the end of training camp for undisclosed reasons — said that the Raiders had sent a member of the Las Vegas crisis response team to his home. The CRT member allegedly told Jones that he was in danger and needed to go with her.

Speculation has swirled that Jones is dealing with a mental health matter, though there has been no confirmation in that regard. The organization has, unsurprisingly, declined to comment about the situation.

In a new string of tweets, at least some of which have been deleted, Jones spoke more directly about Davis.

“I wish mark Davis told the ppl why I really can’t play,” Jones said (as relayed by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). “I think I know why, but I want y’all to ask him. I’ll let him say it to the public not me lmao. I wish I could play with my brothers, but marky mark is holding a huge secret that only I know! That’s why I was asking for my protection sorry if I sound scared because I’m not lol, when I found out I was lol.”

It is unclear what secret Jones is referring to, or what information he discovered. In the above-referenced text exchange, the only substantive portion of Davis’ dialogue read, “I care for you the person more than I care for you the player.. I’m here for you should you feel the need to talk.. Man to man.. With respect..”

Jones was inactive for the Raiders’ Week 1 victory over the Broncos and is also inactive for today’s matchup with the Bills. At this point, it is difficult to say when (or even if) Jones will hit the field again.

In his most recent tweets, Jones added, “[Davis] can’t cut me, I have proof of his reps saying I’m under contract, and they want me on the team.. but not playing right now. Lol.”

Indeed, if the Raiders were to release Jones, they would be saddled with a dead money charge of roughly $13MM (though as a post-June 1 transaction, such a release would actually yield a modest cap savings on the 2023 ledger). Presumably, Las Vegas would like for Jones to return to action and try to live up to the three-year, $51MM contract he signed last offseason, a deal that looks like a signficiant misstep given the current impasse and Jones’ disappointing 2022 campaign.

It is fair to wonder if the NFLPA will become involved in this matter, particulary in light of Jones’ accusations against Davis.