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6 best QB options for Raiders to replace Derek Carr, ranked from Aaron Rodgers to Mac Jones

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For the first time in 10 seasons, the Raiders will have a new starting quarterback in 2023. Las Vegas, as expected, after benching Derek Carr for the final two games of the 2022 regular released him from his contract on Tuesday.

The Raiders had attempted to deal Carr to the Saints, where he could have been reunited with his first NFL coach, Dennis Allen. Instead, Carr becomes a free agent and can explore his many options among QB-needy teams early in the offseason.

Now that Carr has been driven away, however, the Raiders need to turn their attention to finding a new top QB. Lucky for Las Vegas, there are plenty of intriguing options, from the biggest name, to promising rookies to those familiar with the system of current offensive-minded coach Josh McDaniels.

MORE: Why Raiders released QB after failed trade to Saints 

Ranking Raiders’ 6 best QB options for 2023

1. Trade for Aaron Rodgers

Duh. The organization has treated Carr as an ersatz version of Rodgers, the point of reuniting with his former Fresno State go-to turned elite NFL wide receiver Davante Adams. But Carr has never been close to the real deal, despite some efficient numbers. Rodgers executes at a whole other level with the same level of support.

Outside of Green Bay, it seems like the Jets and Raiders battling for making the right blockbuster offer to acquire Rodgers. Beyond the reunion with Adams, Rodgers also would thrive with tight end Darren Waller, once a Packers trade target and slot ace Hunter Renfrow. He also could be helped by a big-time running game, again, too, should the Raiders re-sign Josh Jacobs.

Tom Brady would have topped this list had he not retired from good from the NFL. But a little based on Brady saying how much Rodgers would destroy it for McDaniels, the Raiders need to be very aggressive go after the biggest QB prize that didn’t move in the previous offseason.

MORE: Derek Carr landing spots 2023: Jets, Saints among best fits as Raiders release long-time QB 

Kirk Cousins

2. Trade for Kirk Cousins

Cousins and Carr might as well be the Spider-Man meme of middle-tier QBs. They both have strong arms and can put same gaudy numbers at times, but in their 30s, they have shown plenty that they fall short of transcendent passers with their frustrating foibles in bigger games. So wait, why would the Raiders want another version of Carr?

The Raiders do have great passing weapons for McDaniels and need a qB who can get the ball to Adams, Waller and Renfrow. Cousins can treat them right throwing to them like Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson and Adam Thielen. He also can lean well on Jacobs and the running game to take better advantage of deep shots off play-action than Carr does. Cousins is also a little more aggressive and can stretch the field for McDaniels better than Carr.

The Raiders cut Carr ahead of committing another $32.9 million, so it’s not appealing to get Cousins based from the Vikings based on his $36.25 cap hit for 2023, but they would be more willing to make it work on a restructured deal as part of the trade.

MORE: NFL offseason schedule 2023: When is the NFL Draft, free agency, other key dates to know? 

Jimmy Garoppolo

3. Sign Jimmy Garoppolo

Rodgers would be the ultimate Brady surrogate acquisition and then some. But it’s also clear that Garoppolo, Brady’s one-time strong backup in New England McDaniels, would make sense on a much cheaper free-agent deal where draft capital won’t be required to get him.

Jimmy G won well with McDaniels before settling into Kyle Shanahan’s system to NFC championship-caliber in San Francisco. If the Raiders want to just win, baby, by investing more to upgrade their supporting cast for McDaniels, then it would feel good, baby, to add Garoppolo.

MORE: NFL Draft order 2023: First-round picks for every team after Chiefs beat Eagles in Super Bowl 57 

Bryce Young, CJ Stroud

4. Draft Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or Will Levis

The Raiders are sitting on the No. 7 overall pick in the first round of the 2023 draft. There’s a good chance Young and Stroud are off the board then, but there’s also a chance for an aggressive trade up should they get enamored with either as the rookie franchise QB for McDaniels.

Otherwise, there’s a good chance Levis, the pocket passer with appealing arm, accuracy and intangibles should be available after the Texans and Colts pick earlier, assuming neither the Seahawks nor Lions go QB in the two picks before the Raiders. Levi

Jacoby Brissett

5. Sign Jacoby Brissett

Brissett spent one season with McDaniels as a Patriot as a third-round rookie in 2016 before being traded to the Colts in the following year. Brissett had a terrific 2022 (check it out) starting the first 11 games for the Browns, replacing Deshaun Watson. 

Brissett doesn’t sound like the most exciting option as a standalone, but has more appeal as a cheap high-end bridge QB who knows the offense in conjunction with drafting one of the above first-round quarterbacks.

MORE: What Tom Brady retirement means for Buccaneers, Raiders, 49ers & Aaron Rodgers as NFL QB carousel begins to spin 

Mac Jones

6. Trade for Mac Jones

Before getting into this is as a possibility, let’s rule out the Raiders just rolling with Carr’s remaining backup Jarrett Stidham, because the McDaniels connection is going too far in hoping for positive long-term results from a limited talent.

Jones had several dustups with the Patriots’ piecemeal offensive coaching staff in the season after McDaniels left. It is unknown how we will respond and fit into Bill O’Brien system. 

The Patriots should also see they can have a high floor to complement their defense and running game with Jones, but the ceiling to win big under Bill Belichick in the near future may not be there in the AFC East landscape, especially if the Jets get Rogers while the Bills still have Josh Allen and the Dolphins get more out of Tua Tagovailoa.

This would be the Patriots’ best chances to move on from Jones if they don’t feel like he’s the franchise passer of choice without McDaniels. McDaniels might be eager to go here should Rodgers and Garoppolo be taken off the table, but it feels like an intriguing longshot for now.

Credit: sportingnews.com

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