Tom Brady

Tom Brady Not Ruling Out Comeback

Joe Flacco managed to win Comeback Player of the Year acclaim despite not debuting for the Browns until December. This came as Tom Brady, who memorably backtracked on his first retirement in 2022, remained out of the game. The all-time great, once again, may be waffling on being fully retired.

Appearing on an episode of DeepCut with VicBlends, Brady said he “wouldn’t be opposed to” coming back in the right situation. Given the number of quarterbacks that went down last season, opportunities opened last year. Brady’s hometown 49ers also extended an invitation for him to sign last year — a situation that would have seen the 46-year-old icon mentor Brock Purdy — but he declined.

I’m not opposed to it,” Brady said of another comeback, via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. “I don’t know if they’re going to let me, if I become an owner of an NFL team, I don’t know. I’m always going to be in good shape, always going to be able to throw the ball. So, to come in for a little bit, like MJ coming back, I don’t know if they’d let me, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

This response came after Brady was asked a question about a Flacco-type return to join a contender who lost its starting QB late in a season. Set to start his high-priced contract as FOX’s lead game analyst, Brady has also seen the NFL stall his path to becoming a Raiders minority owner. This situation has been delayed for nearly a year. Brady agreed to buy a stake in the Raiders in May 2023, but owners have yet to approve him as a part-owner of the AFC West club. Brady’s FOX affiliation, and the price Mark Davis set for him to buy in, have represented hurdles here. Progress emerged on this front in February, but the matter remained unresolved at last month’s owners’ meetings.

Brady passed on the 49ers, who certainly offered just about as good of a situation as there was last season, so it would be interesting to see just what would pique his interest about a second unretirement. The 23-year veteran mentioned the Patriots and Raiders as teams he could potentially play for. Neither brings anything close to the roster strength last year’s 49ers edition supplied. When asked about playing in 2023 last June, Brady said he was “certain” he was done playing. Nearly a year later, it does not appear that is the case.

Brady’s 2022 season did not match the quality he submitted in 2021 — a second-team All-Pro campaign — or late in 2020, when his improved play rallied the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl LV title. But he was certainly a starter-caliber passer at age 45. The seven-time Super Bowl champion being out of the league for a year and being set to turn 47 before next season would stand to make teams skittish, as there is no track record of a non-specialist playing at that age. As Brady’s ownership path may be stalled, he has not so subtly reopened the door about playing yet another season.

Citing Michael Jordan’s early-2000s Washington Wizards comeback as a player/owner, Brady attempted to pull off this double with the Dolphins in 2022. That brought consequences for the AFC East franchise, which was docked first- and third-round picks for tampering with Brady and Sean Payton that year. It would seem easier for Brady if he put the ownership matter on hold and agreed to return — a decision that would again shake up FOX’s plans — but it does not appear he is ready to do that. Brady is already a part-owner of Davis’ WNBA franchise (the Las Vegas Aces).

While Flacco made a successful comeback in Cleveland, he was in the NFL (and in his 30s) in 2022. The 49ers, however, also had loose plans to sign Philip Rivers had they made a miraculous comeback in the 2022 NFC championship game. Rivers retired after the 2020 season; a re-emergence after Purdy’s UCL tear in Super Bowl LVII would have involved the ex-Chargers and Colts QB returning in the emergency circumstance at age 41. Brady changing his mind again at 47 would add another chapter to his historically unique legacy. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a legitimate storyline going forward.

Tom Brady’s Potential Stake In Raiders Still On Hold

MARCH 24: Davis offered an update on the Brady situation during the opening day of the league meetings, Maske notes. He confirms, however, that the finance committee has not taken any new action and the matter is still not expected to be on the agenda over the next three days.

MARCH 22: 10 months ago, it was first reported that former NFL great Tom Brady had agreed to buy a stake in the Raiders. After delays resulting from issues over the terms of the sale, it was reported a little over a month ago that those issues had been resolved and that the sale had been cleared for approval, pending a vote at the annual league meetings in Orlando from March 24-27. Now, disputing that latter report, Mark Maske of The Washington Post tells us that the league is no longer expected to vote on the sale next week.

The newest report didn’t really add any new detail, so suffice it to say that an issue concerning a conflict of interest with Brady’s broadcasting contract with FOX is the likely cause of the holdup. Brady agreed to a 10-year, $375MM deal that will begin in 2024 and position Brady as the network’s No. 1 color commentator alongside top play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt.

Of course, 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, but no plans have been made to suggest that his access will be any different than that of his media peers. With no solution imminent, one may assume that this potential conflict of interest remains a key sticking point.

Another aspect of the deal that other league owners reportedly took issue with was the bargain price at which Raiders owner Mark Davis was trying to sell a share of his club to Brady. Although minority pieces of a sports franchise are frequently sold for discounted rates — due to limited partners’ minimal contributions to franchise operations — it was rumored that Davis may have been offering Brady, one of his most-respected confidants, a 70% discount.

It sounded in February as if the purchase price was increased to placate Davis’ fellow owners. The Raiders are valued at $6.2 billion, according to Forbes, and Brady’s ownership group is purchasing a 10% interest, with Brady reportedly putting up roughly seven percent himself. The report from February also indicated that all other hurdles to the sale had been cleared and that an approved vote was expected at the upcoming meeting. Instead, Brady remains in wait as the impending vote delays the sale once again.

“In wait” is a generous term, to be fair, though. Despite claiming that he intends to have a “passive role” in the franchise, Brady has been pretty active without even having a stake in the team. As a confirmed unofficial advisor to Davis, Brady reportedly assisted in the Raiders’ recent head coaching search and advised in the hiring of new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. If this is what an uninvested Brady looks like, it will be interesting to see what his “passive role” will be in minority ownership.

QB Rumors: Brady, 49ers, Purdy, Dalton, Eagles, Maye, Jones, Giants, Jackson, Ravens

Kyle Shanahan confirmed Brock Purdy‘s account that provided one final Tom Brady49ers connection. Shanahan alerted Purdy of his effort to lure Brady out of retirement during the younger QB’s rehab from UCL surgery. Brady passed, leading to the 49ers’ Sam Darnold signing.

I actually thought it was giving Brock the biggest compliment,” Shanahan said, via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “I let him know he’s our guy long term. No question. And if Tom Brady wanted to come here and start for one year, that’s the only way you’re not starting when you’re healthy this year. That’s pretty cool. I wanted to assure him, ‘Don’t worry. You’re our guy. But how cool would it be if Tom Brady would be the quarterback here for one season? How cool would it be for you to learn from him?

I mean, if Brock never got hurt, this wouldn’t have been a consideration at all. I’d never have brought it up. But I’ve got to think about the team. What if he’s not ready in September?

Brady’s re-retirement has stuck, with the 46-year-old legend not playing in 2023. The 49ers passed on making a serious pursuit of the Bay Area native in 2020, sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo. Brady was connected to the 49ers in 2022 as well, but when the Buccaneers would not trade his rights during retirement No. 1, he came back to Tampa. The seven-time Super Bowl winner is en route to becoming a Raiders minority owner and FOX’s No. 1 analyst. Purdy, who was back by training camp and showed last season his post-Garoppolo work as a rookie was no fluke, is signed through the 2025 season. The 49ers cannot give him an extension until after this year.

Here is the latest from the quarterback scene:

  • Drake Maye will join Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels in not throwing at the Combine, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson. Widely expected to be a top-five pick, Maye is only scheduled to meet with teams and go through physicals. A light Indianapolis schedule is mostly available only to surefire candidates to go off the board early, but such prospects are taking advantage of the limited participation option.
  • Not nearly on the level of the Brady-49ers what-if transaction, the Eagles made a strong pursuit for Andy Dalton during last year’s free agency,’s Adam Caplan notes. A signing was close here, per Caplan, but Philadelphia pivoted to Marcus Mariota after Dalton chose Carolina’s two-year, $10MM ($8MM guaranteed) offer. The Eagles added Mariota on a one-year, $5MM deal. Barring a Mariota re-signing, Philly will need to add a new backup quarterback soon.
  • Daniel Jones‘ rehab continues to unfold smoothly. Giants GM Joe Schoen expects his starter to be ready for training camp and indicated the sixth-year veteran has begun throwing. Jones is not yet dropping back and throwing, but not yet four months after his ACL tear, the longtime New York starter is progressing toward his goal of a training camp return. Schoen reiterated (via’s Michael Eisen) at the Combine that Jones will be the Giants’ starter if healthy. The Giants are still expected to add a quarterback, though one of this offseason’s central storylines is whether that passer will be a first-round pick or merely a veteran backup for Jones. The Giants can get out of Jones’ contract with a modest dead-money sum in 2025.
  • Lamar Jackson did not sign his Ravens extension until draft day last year, stalling his start in new OC Todd Monken‘s system. That did not exactly slow the dual-threat superstar, who won his second MVP award. But the Ravens are giving Jackson more autonomy into the offense’s design this year, per John Harbaugh. The 17th-year Baltimore HC said conversations with Jackson about new offensive dimensions began soon after the team’s AFC championship game loss.

Tom Brady’s Ownership Interest In Raiders Cleared For Approval

It was first reported back in May that Tom Brady had agreed to buy a stake in the Raiders. The approval of that transaction was delayed for multiple reasons, but according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of, all systems are go.

Other league owners reportedly took issue with the bargain price at which Raiders owner Mark Davis was trying to sell a share of his club to Brady. Although minority pieces of a sports franchise are frequently sold for discounted rates — due to limited partners’ minimal contributions to franchise operations — it was rumored that Davis may have been offering Brady, one of his most-respected confidants, a 70% discount.

It sounds as if the purchase price was increased to placate Davis’ fellow owners. Per Rapoport and Pelissero, Brady’s investment was “recently altered,” and it now reflects “the proper valuation of the team.” The duo add that all other hurdles have been cleared. The league’s finance committee will meet in early March to discuss the purchase, and final approval should come during the annual league meetings in Orlando from March 24-27.

Another concern that arose during this process stemmed from Brady’s broadcasting contract with FOX, a 10-year, $375MM deal that will begin in 2024 and that will position Brady as the network’s No. 1 color commentator alongside top play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt. Of course, 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, but Rapoport and Pelissero note that Brady’s FOX plans remain unchanged without suggesting that his access wil be any different than any of his media peers.

The Raiders are valued at $5.8 billion, and Brady’s ownership group is purchasing a 10% interest (Brady himself is putting up roughly seven percent). While the legendary QB has said he intends to play a “passive role,” Rapoport and Pelissero confirm that he has operated as an unofficial advisor to Davis — he assisted in the team’s recent head coaching search and in the hiring of OC Luke Getsy — so his definition of “passive” may be a broad one.

49ers Attempted To Sign Tom Brady In 2023

Tom Brady has stuck to his guns. The legendary quarterback succinctly said last February his second retirement would stick. After Brady backtracked on retirement No. 1 in 2022, this season represented the NFL’s first without his involvement since 1999.

The future Hall of Famer’s hometown team was still interested in a partnership during the 2023 offseason, however. The 49ers, who were linked to Brady in multiple offseasons during his final years in the NFL, attempted one last push to sign the seven-time Super Bowl champion. Kyle Shanahan informed Brock Purdy of a Brady pursuit early during the ’23 offseason, which featured San Francisco’s current starter rehabbing his UCL tear.

That meant so much to me. I remember [Shanahan] saying, if we can get Tom Brady, we’re going to try to get him. And I was like, ‘Yeah, he’s the GOAT. I get it,'” Purdy said, via’s Nick Wagoner. “But something deep down inside me was sort of like, ‘Dude, I just showed you that I can play well in this system. And we were one game away from the Super Bowl.’ … More than anything, I was like, ‘OK, now let’s go.”

John Lynch said last year Brady responded with a thumbs-up emoji after the 49ers GM texted him congratulating him on his career. It certainly appears the 49ers made a more notable effort to convince Brady to come back than it initially appeared.

At the time, the 49ers had Purdy coming off UCL surgery and Trey Lance back after two ankle procedures. The team then gave Sam Darnold a one-year, $4.5MM deal, and that ended up leading Lance out of town via trade. All the while, the only Brady rumors to come out pertained to his status as a Raiders minority owner. That approval process is still on hold, as the 46-year-old retiree prepares to take over as FOX’s lead analyst for the 2024 season.

During his first months on the job, Lynch memorably asked Bill Belichick about Brady’s trade availability. This occurred back in 2017, when the Patriots still had Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster. That ask led to a rather quick shutdown, and Robert Kraft later intervened to keep Brady entrenched at QB by trading Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick. Brady’s free agency occurred just after Garoppolo quarterbacked the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, and the Buccaneers and Chargers were the only teams in that race until the end.

In 2022, however, rumblings about Brady being interested in playing for his hometown team surfaced. This came during a complex Brady offseason, which featured the Dolphins being fined for tampering in an effort to have Brady play for Sean Payton. The Brady-49ers rumors came during the QB’s first retirement, and then-Bucs HC Bruce Arians confirmed the team had no interest in trading Brady’s rights elsewhere. Brady soon came back to play his age-45 season, which did not go well.

Still, Joe Flacco‘s stunning re-emergence on the Browns displayed what can happen when an aging quarterback lands in the right offense. Shanahan clearly believed Brady could run his, age notwithstanding, but has otherwise championed Purdy. While hiccups have ensued this season — mainly when Deebo Samuel has been out — Purdy has rewarded the 49ers, earning a Pro Bowl nod in his first full starter season. Purdy’s 9.6 yards per attempt are the second-most by a quarterback since the 1950s, and Kurt Warner‘s 2000 mark (9.9) came in 11 games. The 2022 draft’s Mr. Irrelevant has set himself up as a potential long-term 49ers mainstay, though his draft status continues to inject doubt about his place among the game’s upper-echelon passers.

The Raiders did not view Brady as an emergency option after Garoppolo’s injury waiver came to light last May, and the Jets are not believed to have inquired about a comeback once Aaron Rodgers went down. Although Brady’s 2022 return reminded to keep him on the radar, his spending a season out of football does seem to reaffirm he is done playing.

While this makes for a fun “what if?” regarding San Francisco, the 49ers — who are in their fourth NFC championship game in five seasons — are now a Purdy-centric operation.

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.

Raiders Notes: Gruden, Brady, O’Connell

The Raiders are one of two teams (the Panthers being the other) which are guaranteed to be involved in a full-scale coaching search this offseason. With Josh McDaniels having been let go midway through his second season at the helm, a number of candidates will no doubt receive consideration in the coming weeks.

One of those could be a familiar face. Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Jon Gruden could be brought back in a move which would have signficant legal ramifications. Gruden resigned in the wake of leaded emails emerging in 2021, prompting him to file a lawsuit against the NFL. That action is aimed at uncovering the identity of the person responsible for the leaks, and Gruden intends to continue with the suit.

As Bonsignore notes, however, the NFL may be on board with “avoid[ing] a potential public-relations nightmare by simply letting Gruden be re-hired” by the Raiders. The 60-year-old was in the midst of Year 4 of his second tenure with the organization when he resigned. He has not been on the coaching radar since, fueling the argument made in his lawsuit. Dropping the suit in exchange for being brought back would mark an unexpected end to this situation, though Bonsignore adds it is unknown if owner Mark Davis would be interested in such a move.

Here are some other notes out of Sin City:

  • Tom Brady‘s bid to become a minority Raiders owner has still not been approved. The agreement which would see the seven-time Super Bowl winner take on a stake in the franchise (which could also include having a say in the hiring process for the replacements of McDaniels and ex-GM Dave Ziegler) was not discussed during yesterday’s owners meeting, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post. However, there remains optimism that ratification will be attained in the future as Brady prepares for a transition to the broadcast booth.
  • The Raiders lost to the Vikings in Week 14 despite only allowing three points. The team’s lackluster offensive showing led to questions about Vegas’ quarterback situation, but no changes under center are expected. Rookie Aidan O’Connell is expected to get the start in tonight’s game against the Chargers, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Veterans Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer are on the roster, but both face very uncertain futures compared to O’Connell. The latter has been in place as the starter since McDaniels was let go, so it comes as little surprise Vegas will elect to keep him atop the depth chart.
  • While O’Connell will likely be in place for tonight’s battle of the backups, the Raiders may not have their top rushing option available. Josh Jacobs has not practiced during this short week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports his status is very much in doubt (video link). If last year’s rushing champion is at risk of worsening the quad injury he suffered on Sunday, he will not suit up, Rapoport adds. Jacobs was one of three franchise tag recipients at the RB position this offseason, and no long-term deal was worked out. He has remained a key member of the team’s offense in 2023, logging double-digit carries all but once in 13 games. Jacobs has seen his yards per carry mark drop compared to last season (from 4.9 to 3.5) but he leads the team in rushing by 742 yards, meaning his absence would deal a major blow to the Raiders’ attempt at an offensive rebound.

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.

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.