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Raiders 2023 quarterback: Are the 2020 Patriots a clue to Las Vegas’ future?

Will next season be similar to the post-Tom Brady days in New England?

NFL: AUG 12 Preseason - Washington Football Team at Patriots
Cam newton, Josh McDaniels
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler have been here before. Just three years ago, in fact.

When Tom Brady decided to leave the New England Patriots, the franchise was suddenly in need of a new starting quarterback after a long period. Now, McDaniels and Ziegler (longtime New England assistants) are in the same situation as they enter their second season of the head coach and general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders.

They are looking for a new starting quarterback after moving on from Derek Carr, who had the role for nine seasons.

To get more clues of what the Las Vegas Raiders’ brass may do at quarterback this season we should look at how the Patriots initially replaced Brady. And it is in line at what both McDaniels and Ziegler have both said — the Raiders may not find their long-term answer at the position this year.

The Patriots settled on a on-year contract with Cam Newton in June of 2020, three months after the former NFL MVP was released by the Carolina Panthers. Newton, who was 31 at the time of signing with New England, was paid just more than $4 million that year.

Newton started 15 of 16 games and he was backed up by veteran Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, in his second year with the Patriots after being a fourth-round pick in 2019.

New England, which finished 7-9 in 2020 after going 12-4 in Brady’s final season there, didn’t have a first-round pick in 2020 and didn’t draft a quarterback. They focused on quarterbacks in the first round in 2021 and ended up drafting Mac Jones out of Alabama at No. 15 overall. He became an instant starter.

This time around, of course, McDaniels and Ziegler have a first-round pick, at No. 7. So, they will have an easier time taking a quarterback. But after listening to them, it is clear they won’t force themselves into taking a quarterback in the first round if the fit or timing isn’t right for them.

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Jarrett Stidham
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

There has been some thought Las Vegas may opt for a short-term starter such as Stidham (a Raiders’ free agent) for Jimmy Garoppolo (a former New England player), sign another veteran and maybe draft a quarterback later.

That would be similar how the Patriots initially replaced Brady.

Then, perhaps the Raiders will look for their franchise quarterback in the 2024 draft, which is expected to be strong at the position. McDaniels said at the NFL combine last week that the goal is to find a young quarterback to be a long-term solution behind center. Of course, that is the goal of every team at some point and it was the goal in New England in 2020. But it waited a year before trying it.

McDaniels and Ziegler have told us that could be the case in Las Vegas and we know they’ve done it before.