On Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch officially confirmed to the media and the NFL world that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would not be back in the Bay Area in 2023. That means the Jimmy Garoppolo free-agent offseason is officially here. Jimmy G will have plenty of suitors on the open market, but the Las Vegas Raiders make the most sense. Here are the three reasons the Raiders must sign Jimmy Garoppolo as their Derek Carr replacement.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo’s age fits better than most Raiders’ Derek Carr replacement targets
With the massive amount of talent on the Raiders roster in 2023, the team is in win-now mode.
The team’s key players on the Raiders — Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, Maxx Crosby, and Chandler Jones — are all locked up for two to four more years. If the team re-signs free agent running back Josh Jacobs, that deal would fit in that same timeline.
The other possible Derek Carr replacement on the Raiders’ radar right now are either significantly younger or significantly older than Jimmy G. Aaron Rodgers will turn 40 early next season. And while the Raiders have the No. 7 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, bringing in a 20-something rookie QB wouldn’t make sense with the team’s timeline.
At 31, Garoppolo is at the perfect in-between age. He is still in his prime, could have four or more years left in his career, and has nine NFL seasons of experience under his belt.
A Jimmy Garoppolo-Raiders marriage is a perfect fit based on the ages of the key players on the Las Vegas roster. With Garoppolo under center, the team could have a legit four-year window as contenders. With Rodgers that window is likely two years or less, and with a rookie, the window won’t even open for two years.
2. It won’t cost draft picks or too much money
The best asset the Raiders have in 2023 is the No. 7 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Las Vegas can use that to trade for a superstar QB in Aaron Rodgers or to draft a player like Florida QB Anthony Richardson (or trade up for Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or Will Levis).
By making a Jimmy Garoppolo-Raiders move in free agency, the team doesn’t have to spend that pick on anything having to do with a quarterback.
That high in the draft, the Raiders can get a real impact player somewhere else on the field. Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronski, Clemson defensive lineman Myles Murphy, or Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. could all be available there and help the team in other areas.
A Jimmy G free-agent contract also wouldn’t cost the money that Rodgers or a first-round rookie would (at least long-term). Spotrac pegs Garoppolo’s market value at $34.9 million. That’s about right, and it’s a bargain for a top-15 starting NFL QB. Plus, coming off his season-ending injury, no team is likely to give him a four-year deal, so the Raiders can likely get away with two or three years and maybe even a decent out after one to protect themselves.
1. Jimmy G knows how to get the ball into the hands of talented players
The biggest reason that the Raiders must sign Jimmy Garoppolo as their Derek Carr replacement is that what the QB does best gels nicely with what the Raiders need.
Part of the problem with Carr is that he often held onto the ball too long and tried to play hero ball, despite his talent level not being up to the level of a Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, or Josh Allen, who don Superman capes each Sunday.
Garoppolo is a game-manager quarterback in the best sense of the words.
In San Francisco, Garoppolo knew his role. His job was to take the ball and get it quickly and efficiently into the hands of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and at the end of his tenure, Christian McCaffrey. Jimmy G executed this role well, to the tune of a Super Bowl and NFC Championship game appearance in his time with the 49ers.
Carr never led the Raiders to these heights because he too often tried to play outside his means. All he needed to do was be smart about getting the ball to Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, and Josh Jacobs, but he didn’t do it all that often.
Josh McDaniels — who worked with Garoppolo in New England – knows that Jimmy G won’t try and do that, which makes him an excellent Derek Carr replacement for 2023 and beyond.