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History shows Jimmy Garoppolo Raiders’ trade isn’t completely insane

Josh McDaniels loves players that fit his system

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NFL: JUL 27 Patriots Training Camp
Josh McDaniels, Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jimmy Garoppolo has said his goodbyes to the San Francisco 49ers and he will likely be traded this offseason.

There has been some speculation that perhaps new Las Vegas Raiders’ leadership Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels would pursue a Jimmy G trade. Yes, it would be easy to blow off that chatter as lazy and just dot connecting and I’m not suggesting there is anything of substance to it.

However, looking at McDaniels’ history, a pursuit of Garoppolo (who he helped draft and who he coached in New England for three three-plus seasons) isn’t out of the question.

All we have to do is look at Exhibit A: Matt Cassel.

Less than two months after he became the head coach of the Denver Broncos, McDaniels tried to trade for Cassel before the New England Patriots traded the former Brady backup to the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver incumbent quarterback Jay Cutler caught wind of the trade attempt and he was absolutely livid. It was the beginning of a major beef between McDaniels and Cutler and resulted with Cutler never playing another down in Denver.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Josh McDaniels and Matt Cassel in 2010.
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

This was all after the Broncos hired McDaniels to coach Cutler, who was 25 and coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he threw for 4,526 yards, the third most in the NFL. Coaching Cutler was supposed to be a major draw for McDaniels. He said nice things about Cutler when he was hired like he did about Carr this week.

However, the chance to coach Cassel again was the a bigger draw for McDaniels. Cassel took over for the injured Tom Brady in Week 1 of the 2008 season and had a good year under McDaniels. Yes, Cassel was a lesser talent than Cutler (like Garoppolo is compared to current Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr), but it isn’t as simple as that with McDaniels and the Patriots’ system.

He has been on the record said that his is a system-based offense. So, the fit is often as or more important as talent level of players. If McDaniels thinks Garoppolo is a better fit than Carr for his system, who says the Raiders won’t look into a trade?

It wouldn’t be that difficult to engineer. Garoppolo probably would cost less in a trade with the 49ers than what the Raiders could recoup by trading Carr, who is entering the last year of his contract. Garoppolo would also likely be cheaper contractually that giving Carr an extension. Both players will turn 31 this year, so that’s not a big factor, either.

Asked about giving Carr a contract extension going into the final year of his deal. Ziegler said they want to get to know him first. Well, they already know Garoppolo. He was a second-round draft pick in New England in 2014.

So, if McDaniels thinks that there is a better system fit and it can lead to getting more draft pick compensation and better salary-cap flexibility, why wouldn’t he do this?

Again, this isn’t saying Garoppolo is better than Carr or the Raiders will or should make this flip. It is simply a reminder that McDaniels has pursued this type of situation in the past based on system fit and familiarity.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook’s hypothetical odds, the Raiders are 15-1 to trade for Garoppolo.