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NFL Today: Leaving Las Vegas

March 21, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Derek Carr has departed the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Derek Carr era is over for the Raiders. (All-Pro Reels)

We’re now well into the NFL Free Agency signing period, so all eyes are fixed on inkings, while NFL Draft hounds start dreaming about who their teams will select next month. It’s the most exciting time of the offseason, so let’s take a quick look at some news around the league that’s captured our attention, shall we?

Mass Exodus from the Raiders

Wow, are the Las Vegas Raiders ever going to have a new-look offense next season!

Quarterback Derek Carr is gone (see video below to get a sense of how things may play out for him in New Orleans), tight end Darren Waller was traded to the Giants in a surprise move (although the Raiders reportedly soured on him given his lacklustre rehab effort in the wake of a hamstring woe last year); and now WR2 Mack Hollins has departed to sign a free agent deal with the Falcons after just one year in Vegas (albeit a very good one at that).

For what it’s worth, Hollins will clearly be missed by his teammates.

So change is the name of the game when it comes to the Raider attack next season. It’s been a decade since anyone but Carr was under centre to begin a campaign for this squad, and the team went through myriad possibilities when seeking his replacement. Tom Brady? Nope, he retired. Aaron Rodgers? Too expensive. Mac Jones? New England was committed to him. Even previous Raider backup Jarrett Stidham rejected the club’s offer, opting instead to sign a much better deal with Denver.

That left the Raiders to pivot to Plan F, signing Jimmy Garoppolo.

At tight end, Las Vegas replaced Waller by penning free agent O.J. Howard, who — from a productivity standpoint — can’t hold a candle to his predecessor. Still, former Alabama star Howard, a 2017 first round pick, has to be considered a big-time sleeper for 2023 given that he looked like an up an coming star early in his career with the Bucs and he should get every opportunity to succeed in Las Vegas.

San Francisco Probably Out on Williams

After Cincinnati signed free agent Orlando Brown Jr. as its new left tackle, incumbent Jonah Williams — who apparently has no interest in shifting over to the right side — has asked to be traded.

Don’t expect the San Francisco 49ers to be a potential landing spot for 2019 first round pick Williams. For starters, the 49ers — who are +900 to win the 2024 Super Bowl as per Fanduel — already have one of the top LTs in the game in Trent Williams.

Secondly, with just $7.9 million of cap space currently, San Francisco would not be able to fit Jonah Williams’ salary of $12.6 million onto its roster without some serious tinkering. And that’s assuming he’d be willing to shift over to the right side, which he’s explicitly stated is off the table.

Magic in Washington?

With the Washington Commanders up for sale, groups are lining up to make their bids and a prominent former NBA legend has suddenly joined the fray.

Laker legend Magic Johnson has reportedly joined a bidding group that includes Josh Harris, the managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. This pair also teamed up last summer in a failed effort to buy the Denver Broncos, so clearly adding an NFL franchise is the dream here.

Forbes estimates that the Commanders are worth US$5.6 billion, so let’s hope Magic’s Starbucks franchises have sold a hell of a lot of venti lattes.

In actual Commander football-related matters, the team picks 16th in the upcoming draft, and is expected to seek help at offensive tackle or cornerback. Washington took a slight step forward last season, finishing 8-8-1 for its first non-losing season under Head Coach Ron Rivera, but it still seeking its first actual winning season since 2016.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

American Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck was active from the ’40s until his death in 2012. In 1997, he released the album In Their Own Sweet Way, which included the track “Sixth Sense.”

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