Garoppolo officially a Raider: Is he a bridge or franchise QB?

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QB Jimmy Garoppolo has officially signed his three-year contract with the Raiders after a minor hiccup in negotiations. His introductory press conference was delayed a day, and when asked at his press conference, Garoppolo said the Raiders and his representatives were working through “language,” but those details were worked out fairly quickly. Now that Garoppolo is the penciled-in Raiders starter, what should we expect from his Raiders career?

The 2023 NFL Draft has already received a major shake up, with the Carolina Panthers making the big move to trade up from the No. 9 pick to No. 1 overall to presumably draft their next franchise quarterback. Per Jeff Howe and Tashan Reed of The Athletic, the Raiders reportedly turned down an offer from the Bears to move up from No. 7 due to the asking price being too high. The Raiders may have had their eye on a specific prospect, but whether or not they would pay the price for the third or fourth quarterback in the draft remains to be seen.

Garoppolo has played the role of bridge quarterback before in his career, when the San Francisco 49ers made a major trade in the 2021 draft to select QB Trey Lance at No. 3 overall. Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud is now the odds-on favorite to be the Panthers’ selection, and Alabama QB Bryce Young seems likely to land with the Texans at No. 2 if Stroud is the top pick. QBs Anthony Richardson and Will Levis remain top-10 projected picks, and the Raiders could be envisioning Garoppolo as the mentor to a developing rookie either through a trade up or selecting a quarterback at the No. 7 pick.

On the other hand, if the Raiders are sold on Garoppolo and decide to go against the grain in the draft, the payoff could be enormous. Rookie quarterbacks are far from sure things, and the top defensive players in this year’s draft are fantastic prospects. EDGE Will Anderson Jr. is likely to be the top non-quarterback off the board, but DT Jalen Carter, EDGE Tyree Wilson, CB Christian Gonzalez and others – including a handful of offensive tackles – all have star potential. A strong season from Garoppolo and starting contributions from an instant-impact top-10 pick could bring the Raiders back to winning ways as soon as 2023.

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