LAS VEGAS — With each passing day, the Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback situation seems to get a bit more chaotic.
The former quarterback got to visit his house one last time before the divorce becomes final. The potential quarterback of the future decides he’s had enough of playing football and so much for reunions with his New England coach.
Another potential QB of the future decides he’s going to find a dark, quiet place to meditate and contemplate his fate. Meanwhile, his favorite target from their days in Green Bay is lobbying so hard for him to join him in Vegas he should be up in Carson City putting his skills to work among members of the Nevada legislature.
There’s the upcoming combine in Indianapolis which could make things murkier should Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler fall in love with one of the young QBs. The Raiders currently hold the No 7 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
As the late John Lennon once sang, strange days indeed.
So what do we make of all this?
We know Derek Carr won’t be back. We know Tom Brady’s not coming to play for the Silver and Black. Aaron Rodgers is basking in the glow of his triumph in the Celebrity Pro-Am at Pebble Beach as he prepares to embark upon a “Darkness retreat” somewhere. Meanwhile, Jarrett Stidham is going about his business, keeping both his agent and his real estate broker on speed dial just in case he needs to change addresses as he’s a free agent.
As Raider Nation eagerly awaits some sort of resolution, preferably sooner rather than later, it’s left to those who cover the team and the NFL to try and guess just what the hell are Ziegler and Josh McDaniels planning to do?
Cases are being made to trade for Rodgers, price be damned, or go draft a QB and give McDaniels more time, let Carr walk next Wednesday, take the salary cap hit of $5.6 million and move on, while others prefer the team work out a trade and get some assets back in return.
To that end, Carr met with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday. Saints head coach Dennis Allen is familiar with Carr from when the QB broke into the NFL with the Raiders in 2014 and Allen was the head coach. If the two teams are able to reach an agreement and Carr signs off on it, it’s game, set and match and he’ll arrive in time to be the grand marshal at the Mardi Gras parade.
I find myself going back and forth on all of this. One day, I think Rodgers for two years and a reunion with Davante Adams is worth a couple of first-round picks and perhaps tight end Darren Waller to the Packers. After all, the Raiders’ track record when it comes to drafting players hasn’t been great. Yet, Ziegler is only in his second year. Who’s to say he doesn’t know what he’s doing and could use that first-round pick to land a gem?
Then I think about how there can’t be a lot of patience on owner Mark Davis’ part when it comes to his team. If the Raiders draft a QB, can he step right into the job and be the next Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert or Josh Allen? Or is this JaMarcus Russell 2.0?
That’s the beauty — or is it the curse? — of drafting a quarterback. You never know if he can actually play in the NFL and excel. Of course, that’s the case at every position as Raiders fans have learned the hard way over the years.
Do the Raiders have the willingness to take such a risk? They’re facing Patrick Mahomes, Herbert and Russell Wilson with a coach who knows what he’s doing in Sean Payton twice a year in the AFC West. You better have a quarterback who can compete against those guys.
Which has people clamoring for Rodgers, who is a proven commodity. How much tread does he have left on the tires? I’m not 100 percent sure. Would he get along with McDaniels? I’m less certain of that given he wasn’t always on the same page with Mike McCarthy and Matt LaFleur during his tenure with the Packers. He’s a strong-willed individual and this might not be a great marriage with McDaniels, who is pretty demanding.
So what if the Raiders do decide to draft a quarterback? They reportedly fired three scouts Wednesday as Ziegler continues to broom the football operations room and clear a path for his own people, which he has the absolute right to do. Why he didn’t do it sooner, I’m not quite sure.
With the No. 7 overall pick, they may very well be in position to draft a QB. it just may not be the one they truly covet. Therefore, we’re back in trade mode for Ziegler and it’s going to mean giving up players and picks to move up and get the guy they really want.
But April is a ways off. That decision doesn’t have to be made today though the sooner the Raiders get some clarity on their future at the position, the better it probably is. Perhaps things will come into sharper focus following the NFL Scouting Combine at Indianapolis at the end of the month.
So for now, speculation runs rampant. Things remain cloudy. Nobody truly knows what’s going to happen, regardless of how many tea leaves they read or how much information they glean from “team/league sources.” If they say they do, they’re flat-out lying. Even Ziegler may not have made a final decision on how he and McDaniels want to approach the issue. They certainly have run every possible scenario through in their minds and that process likely is continuing.
In the end, if you’re a Raiders fan, all you want is for management to get this one right. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick away.