HENDERSON, Nevada — Jimmy Garoppolo walked into the Raiders headquarters Thursday morning wearing a cream hoodie, black pants, white sneakers and a black backpack with iced coffee in hand. A team employee followed closely behind him, carrying a black bag that supposedly had clothes inside. As the employee explained the layout of the $75 million facility, Garoppolo looked around, smiled, and acknowledged that the Raiders staff checked him in and took everything in.
“Damn it,” Garoppolo said in a video posted to Twitter by the Raiders. “It’s not realistic, man.”
Garoppolo went on to reunite with Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator with the Patriots from 2013 to 2017, inside the team’s meal precinct. After talking for a while, they shook hands and hugged.
From there, McDaniels and Garoppolo spread the love with receivers Jakobi Meyers and Phillip Dorsett—two other players McDaniels coached with the Patriots—with plenty of smiles. Myers and Dorset have already signed contracts to officially become the Raiders, and Garoppolo was set to follow suit Thursday morning.
Garoppolo never signed.
Five free agents signed contracts with the Raiders — Meyers, Dorsett, safety Marcus Epps, linebacker Robert Spillane, and cornerback Brandon Facyson — before addressing the media in a press conference starting around 11 a.m. PT. Garoppolo was scheduled to make his official introduction at noon. Nun came and went, however, without any word from Garoppolo.
Then one o’clock came and went… and two o’clock came and went too. Something was clearly off. And just before 2:30 p.m., a Raiders spokesperson showed up through the door Garoppolo was supposed to walk through more than two hours earlier to announce that the press conference had been temporarily postponed until at least Friday and the quarterback had not signed his contract — three — deal for up to 72.5. $1 million he and the Raiders had agreed to on Monday.
A source familiar with the situation said the athleteJeff Howe and Vic Tavor said things were “all good” soon after. This hints at the belief that an agreement between Garoppolo and the Raiders will still be finalized. It remains to be seen if that will happen, but it nonetheless raises questions as to why the deal was not completed on Thursday.
For a possible explanation, it’s worth examining the contract Garoppolo and the Raiders agreed to earlier this week. Included $33.75 million fully guaranteed upon signing. This number consisted of Garoppolo’s signing bonus, his 2023 salary and his 2024 bonus. This number is significant because it is the only money the Raiders were contractually obligated to pay upfront.
The agreement only guaranteed that Garoppolo would be on the roster for the 2023 season, but it made it very likely that he would stay on the team in 2024 as well. If the Raiders cut the Garoppolo after this next season, they’ll have $18.75 million in dead money while freeing up just $9.25 million in cap space. The Raiders could theoretically absorb this blow and still have plenty of room left in 2024, but that outcome would be very unlikely. The numbers would be more favorable if he traded after 2023 — they’d take just $7.5 million in dead money while freeing up $20.5 million in space — but it’s unlikely there would be many suitors signing up to pay the $24.25 million Garoppolo 2024 if he gives the Raiders reason to want. in moving forward.
However, this potential two-year commitment won’t cause the Raiders to suddenly get cold feet on Thursday. After all, they knew this would be the case when they agreed to it in the first place.
The most obvious sticking point is that Garoppolo’s contract technically included $45 million in total warranties. The contract includes a clause where his salary of $11.25 million in 2024 was injury guaranteed upon signing. This means that if Garoppolo suffers a major injury in 2023 that causes him to lose time in 2024, the Raiders will be on the hook for an additional $11.25 million.
Before signing NFL free agent contracts, teams must conduct physical checks with players. In short, physicists determine if there is anything that can prevent players from being physically unable to perform.
Raiders have had a situation in the past when this became an issue. In 2014, they signed offensive lineman Rodger Savold to a $42.5 million contract. On the day Savold’s press conference was scheduled, the Raiders held a physical. After learning of the results, owner Mark Davis became uncomfortable with Savold’s shoulder problem and made a call for the Raiders to back out of the deal. Savold never signed and the press conference was cancelled. Saffold signed with the Rams and played all 16 regular season contests that season.
A Raiders spokesperson announcing that Garoppolo’s press conference had been postponed was asked if there was an issue with the actual quarterback Thursday and declined to comment but indicated that the postponement was related to contract details.
the athlete Multiple league sources were accessed in an effort to discover these contract details, but none had responded by the time this article was published. Again, there is optimism that whatever kept Garoppolo from officially joining the Raiders will be resolved, but the alternative must be considered.
The Raiders would be in a tough spot if the deal fell through. They will receive an influx of cap space, but there aren’t many viable quarterback options on the free agent market. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is available, but a major league source said the athlete Last week it was unlikely that they would sign him to an offer sheet. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is available – and Howe reported Wed The Raiders approached the Packers about a potential trade for his services earlier this season — but Green Bay appears to be close to a deal with Rodgers for the Jets. Beyond Jackson and Rodgers, the remaining veteran options are bleak.
Top veteran quarterbacks available in free agency include Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Mason Rudolph, Joe Flacco and Brian Hoyer. All of these players would be great cuts from Garoppolo.
In a scenario where the Raiders had to settle for one, they would almost have to draft a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft next month. They’re in a decent position to do so given they’re seventh, but there are a couple of problems.
1, there’s no guarantee that one of the four quarterbacks widely seen as first-round talents — Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Kentucky’s Will Levis — will remain available. Panthers at No. 1, Texas at No. 2, Colts at No. 4, Seahawks at No. 5 and Lions at No. 6 are all teams that could theoretically draft a quarterback. League sources said they could pursue a trade with the Cardinals for the No. 3 pick the athlete That they discovered trading option #1 earlier this season before the Bears traded it to the Panthers – but the price would certainly be prohibitive to do so.
Number 2, it is unknown how many of the aforementioned quarterbacks the Raiders actually consider worthy of being drafted somewhere in their top seven draft picks. Unlikely, but the answer could be zero. The Raiders could aim to select a quarterback later in the draft, obviously, but that would be playing with fire if they ended up with a sub-par veteran rookie who came out of free agency.
If it wasn’t already clear, the conquistadors would be in dire straits if their pact with Garoppolo failed. We’ll just have to wait and see if they can avoid this nightmare outcome.
(Photo: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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