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Raiders free agency 2022: Backup quarterback

Raiders have a decision to make behind Derek Carr

NFL: Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles
Garrett Gilbert
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The wild NFL quarterback carousel has affected the Las Vegas after all as Marcus Mariota had landed as the new quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons.

Mariota quickly signed with the Falcons after they traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts, further strengthening the AFC’s class of quarterbacks.

While Mariota landing in Atlanta was a bit of surprise because a week ago no one thought Ryan would be dealt. But the fact that he is leaving the Raiders is a not a surprise at all. It had been considered likely all offseason that he would be moving on.

Mariota had been with the Raiders for two years and he threw just 30 passes as a Raider. He threw just two passes in 2021. Still, Mariota, a Heisman Trophy winner at Oregon and the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2015 by the Tennessee Titans, must be replaced in Las Vegas.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
Marcus Mariota
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps he already has been. The Raiders signed backup Garret Gilbert over the weekend. Gilbert, who started one game for Washington in 2021 and one game for Dallas in 2020 because of injuries. Still, he has thrown just 75 passes in his NFL career.

Gilbert was with new Raiders’ coach Josh McDaniels on the New England Patriots’ practice squad in 2014-15 and last season. So, there is great familiarity there.

Still, McDaniels may opt for a higher-ceiling backup for starter Derek Carr.

But the current options aren’t great as Brian Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett, who both played under McDaniels, are off the market. The available quarterbacks include Blaine Gabbert, Mike Glennon, A.J. McCarron, Geno Smith, Trevor Siemian and Josh Dobbs.

NFL: New England Patriots Training Camp
Cam Newton, Josh McDaniels
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton is also free and perhaps McDaniels will be interested in reuniting with his 2020 Patriots starter as a backup to Carr. And if things get really wild, perhaps Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo become available as backups.

With just five draft picks now, the Raiders could still draft a quarterback late, but there may be other needs. They could also bring back Nathan Peterman. So, there are still quarterback decisions needed to be made in Las Vegas.