The Las Vegas Raiders made waves in the football world early Wednesday morning when they announced a shake-up in management. General manager Dave Zeigler and head coach Josh McDaniels, who were both hired in January of 2022 away from the New England Patriots, were fired from their respective positions.
Taking their places are Champ Kelly in the front office and Antonio Pierce on the sidelines, both on an interim basis. But, they wasted no time overhauling the lineup as well. Hours after the managerial changes were announced, it was revealed that the Raiders are also benching veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo is being benched in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell and it is hard to argue with the decision. He played very poorly in the team’s loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football to close out Week 8, which has been the case all season.
Despite playing in only six games, Garoppolo leads the NFL with nine interceptions compared to seven touchdowns. He has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,205 yards but he had some bad misses while targeting Davante Adams against the Lions that would have gone for long touchdowns.
It is clear the Raiders are going to go in a different direction at quarterback. There is a chance that Garoppolo has played his last snap for the franchise, but moving on from him is easier said than done.
As shared by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Garoppolo is owed $11.25 million in guaranteed base salary for next season. On top of that, he has an $11.25 million roster bonus he will be paid if he is on the roster on the fifth day of the new league year in March.
That is a major issue whoever takes over the front office as general manager will be inheriting. The new coaching staff would more than likely want to bring in their own quarterback to work with as well, as the Raiders will have some serious dead money on their salary cap next year.
O’Connell has a golden opportunity to at least earn a shot at competing for the starting job next season. Having a quarterback on a rookie deal is almost a necessity when the Raiders could be on the hook for a lot of money owed to Garoppolo depending on how things play out in the offseason.