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Raiders 2024 quarterback plans explained

What does ‘competition’ for Aidan O’Connell really mean?

New York Giants v Las Vegas Raiders
Antonio Pierce, Aidan O’Connell
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Many people are wondering what exactly new Las Vegas Raiders coach Antonio Pierce meant when he said multiple times this week that the team plans to bring in a quarterback this offseason, but second-year quarterback Aidan O’Connell will have a chance to compete for the starting job.

What exactly does that mean?

Here’s my translation: The Raiders are looking to upgrade from O’Connell.

I highly doubt it that’s the goal of Pierce and new Las Vegas general manager Tom Telesco to get a quarterback who is in the same skill-range as O’Connell so they can compete. We all know the old adage: If you have two quarterbacks, it means you have no quarterback.

Anyway, ‘compete’ is a classic coach-speak code word. Everyone on the roster will have a chance to compete. But, the reality is, the Raiders would like, in a perfect world for O’Connell, who went 5-5 as the starter as a fourth-round pick in 2023, to be the backup.

But it’s not easy. Finding a quarterback is the most difficult task for a team to do. The Raiders looked for a quarterback last year as well and the best they could do was Jimmy Garoppolo. We all know how that worked out.

The Raiders, of course, have three ways of acquiring a quarterback this offseason: The draft, a trade or free agency.

Las Vegas has the No. 13 pick in the draft and that may be too low to get a top quarterback prospect. So, they could look at the veteran market.

So, whether or not, O’Connell truly has a legitimate chance to compete for the job depending on who the Raiders end up adding to the roster.

A clue will be what they invest. If it’s a high draft pick, a signifigant trade or a big-money contract spent on the new quarterback, it will mean that player will be the clear favorite to start. And that will be the goal.

Whether or not the Raiders or successful in getting a starting-quality quarterback will be the determining factor if O’Connell really has a chance to compete to start or not and that’s completely fair and the right approach for Pierce to take in early February.