The biggest question of the offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders, of course, is who is going to be the starting quarterback.
There are many options and one is Jarrett Stidham, who was the team’s backup for most of last season and then started the final two games. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Raiders making Stidham the starter for 2023:
He knows the system:
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels is all about having quarterbacks in his offense that can run his system. That’s why he wanted Matt Cassel in Denver in 2009. That’s why he moved away from Derek Carr in December and that’s why he traded for Stidham (who was with him in New England) last year. So, Stidham is a McDaniels’ guy. That means a lot to the coach.
He would be cost effective:
The Raiders were going to be on the hook for $33 million for Carr this year. Re-signing Stidham would likely be for much less and that would give the Raiders (who have many needs on both sides of the ball) to spread their $48 million in projected salary-cap space around the roster more than acquiring a more expensive veteran quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers or Lamar Jackson.
He has some potential:
Stidham looked the part in his first start, a Week 17 loss to San Francisco. Stidham, who turns 27 in August, can move and with more experience, he can potentially grow into a decent player.
Job may be too big for him:
He has started just two NFL games going into his age 27 season. He wasn’t as good in his second start, against Kansas City, as he was in his first. What if the season starts and Stidham shows he’s just a backup who is not equipped to be a starter? It could be the start of another lost season for a franchise (and fan base) desperate to win.
Can he carry the team to the playoffs?
There simply may be better options. Remember, the Raiders traded for Davante Adams and signed several players to big contract extensions. Their Super Bowl window is supposed to be open. if Stidham is lackluster, it would mean a second straight wasted season after a playoff berth in 2021.
Probably short-term answer:
If Stidham is the starter in 2023, it will be probably be as a package deal with a rookie quarterback. So, going into bridge years at the most important position on the field is never ideal, especially if the rookie is more developmental than starter ready.
Stidham is not a flashy option and there are probably better options in 2023 to help the Raiders have a better record. But McDaniels is comfortable with him and I can see this being a real possibility in 2023.