For the first time in nearly a decade, Derek Carr won’t be under center when the Las Vegas Raiders break training camp. With the Raiders releasing Carr (and Carr subsequently signing a four year, $150 million contract with the New Orleans Saints), this marks the end of an era for the franchise, signaling a fresh start under second-year head coach Josh McDaniels.

Hired away from New England where he spent most of the last two decades as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, McDaniels has quickly remade the Raiders’ roster in his own image, cutting bait with franchise mainstays like Derek Carr and tight end Darren Waller, who was traded to the New York Giants for a third round draft pick.

“Those decisions weren’t easy to come by,” McDaniels admitted to NFL Network’s Steve Wyche. But they were necessary ones, part of a year-long process of sussing out “who’s there, what they do, what they don’t do” as part of the process of gaining “a better idea of what you need to do going forward.”

As such, the Raiders inked former Patriots and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppalo to a three year, $72.5 million deal and presumably will enter the year with him as their starter. Still, McDaniels refused to rule out drafting a quarterback with their first round pick, tacitly implying that the team doesn’t see Garoppalo as the long-term answer in Las Vegas.
“I think we would take the best player,” Josh McDaniels said. “We’ve kind of said that since we came here. I think we think that’s the right way to go. (General manager Dave Ziegler) and I both believe in that: Take the best football player. It always makes your football team better.”