The Las Vegas Raiders are in the market for a starting quarterback, and there’s some chatter that coach Josh McDaniels could be targeting Mac Jones of the New England Patriots, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.
“If they can’t get him (Aaron Rodgers), a lot of people in Indianapolis this week expect McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler to pursue free agent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whom they know from his time in New England early in his career,” Graziano wrote. “There’s also some chatter that McDaniels might try to acquire Mac Jones from the Patriots, though it seems unlikely New England would consider moving the 2021 first-rounder.”
Las Vegas has a huge hole to fill after letting go of Derek Carr, who had been with the franchise since 2014 until this year. The California State University, Fresno product had a decent career with the Raiders, earning four Pro Bowl selections.
However, the 2022 campaign saw Carr struggle mightily on the field. Despite completing 305 passes for 24 touchdowns and 3,522 yards, he also threw 14 interceptions — for a second consecutive season. As such, the team decided to bench him in favor of Jarrett Stidham late in the campaign.
The team and its star player entered the offseason with plenty of uncertainties. After the New Orleans Saints expressed interest in acquiring the 31-year-old, the Raiders decided to release him because of several contractual issues that hindered the completion of a trade before Feb. 15. If Carr had been on the team by that date, his contract worth more than $40 million would have been guaranteed.
With an empty starting quarterback slot, the Raiders are now looking for a replacement who can help them become playoff contenders.
Jones is an intriguing candidate, considering his history with McDaniels. The two spent time together with the Patriots, as McDaniels was the 24-year-old’s first offensive coordinator in the NFL.
McDaniels spent several seasons across two stints in New England before accepting an offer to coach Las Vegas in 2022. His first campaign with the Raiders didn’t go as planned, as he finished the 2022 season with a 6-11 record.
But if he and the organization can nab the promising Jones from the Patriots, there might be a good chance for the Raiders to field a better team in the 2023 season.
Unfortunately, it seems “unlikely” that New England will let go of the former first-round pick. After all, Jones has shown potential to be a franchise cornerstone for the Patriots. In his first two seasons in the league, he has totaled 640 completed passes for 6,798 yards and 36 touchdowns.
It remains to be seen which quarterback will land in Las Vegas.