Best and worst case scenarios for Raiders QB in 2024

Talking through the biggest question of Las Vegas' offseason.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages
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It's early, but so far, the Raiders' QB situation looks like the best case scenario. When the season ended a month ago, all signs pointed towards them running it back with Jimmy Garoppolo again in 2024. He was under contract for two more seasons, and with a cap hit close to $30 million next season, seven (pretty bad) games weren't quite enough to justify taking on so much dead money if they decided to release him.

Then things changed with the news that he was being suspended two games for violating the league's PED policy. Now that the Raiders can void Garoppolo's $11 million base salary, they can cut him when the new league year begins and go in a different direction. It's as unfortunate for Garoppolo as it is lucky for the Raiders. Now comes the hard part, though, and the Raiders have a few different paths they could take.


Best Case Scenario

Despite being consistently mentioned in QB free agent rumors, the Raiders hold off on throwing big money at anyone and publicly back Aidan O'Connell through multiple waves of free agency. Then, a month later, they take the best available quarterback with their first round pick (12th overall). Because that guy won't be Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels, they'll be able to spin the pick as part of a longterm plan that may involve sitting behind O'Connell for the year. Jordan Love will get referenced a lot.

Whoever they pick goes into camp as the presumptive backup with a bunch of winks and nudges. He immediately looks great, and beat writers spend all of August talking about how much more impressive he's been. O'Connell still gets the preseason starts, and the rookie's big plays get discounted because he's going up against guys just trying to make the cut. But after the 4th preseason game, Pierce makes waves in a Labor Day Weekend news dump, announcing that they're going to start the rookie in Week 1 after all.

Then, for the next 18 weeks, said rookie leads a CJ Stroud-esque turnaround in Vegas while a hangover year in Kansas City, adjustment year in Los Angeles, and Jarret Stidham year in Denver brings an AFC West division title to Vegas. The Raiders have their guy, and it's not Gardner Minshew.

Worst Case Scenario

The Raiders go hard in the free agent market, publicly making big a offer that almost gets Kirk Cousins to leave Minnesota. They pivot to Russell Wilson, who likes one of Davante Adams' Instagram posts about teaming up two days before signing with the Falcons. Trying to save face, they race themselves to give Gardner Minshew a mostly-guaranteed, multi-year deal. They hold a press conference to announce Pro Bowl Quarterback Gardner Minshew but then won't commit to him as QB1, causing a six month run of debate about whether Minshew or O'Connell has a better chance of dethrowning Patrick Mahomes.

Then, for the next 18 weeks, Minshew and O'Connell get benched for one another a few times – think 2023 Atlanta Falcons – and the Raiders win seven games. After another 1,000 yard season, Adams finally gets convinced by Aaron Rodgers to actually orchestrate a trade to the Jets, and the full rebuild is under way. Pierce gets blamed for not being able to make Minshew/O'Connell work, and Bill Belichick discourse not-so-quietly hovers over that job for the last two months of the year.

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3 terrible decisions by the Raiders during the 2023 season. 3 terrible decisions by the Raiders during the 2023 season. dark. Next