The 2023 offseason has seen the Raiders add two former Patriots quarterbacks to the franchise, albeit in very different roles.
Jimmy Garoppolo signed with the AFC West squad to start at quarterback, after six seasons with the 49ers. He previously backed up Tom Brady, who recently agreed to buy an ownership stake in the Las Vegas franchise, with New England.
On Thursday, The Athletic reported that Garoppolo had surgery on the foot injury that ended his 2022 season after signing with the Raiders, and is set to miss the team’s ongoing offseason training activities as he recovers.
Garoppolo’s lingering injury cost him the end of the 49ers’ season, and the team’s run to the NFC championship game. Now, he’s set to miss the start of his new team’s preparations for the 2023 season, which he’ll play under former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the Raiders’ second-year head coach.
Naturally, many NFL fans couldn’t help themselves but theorize that Brady could unretire one more time to help his new team.
Is Tom Brady available for OTAs? He needs to be acclimated with his new teammates & playbook too.#Raiders #RaiderNation https://t.co/Ofg5jgP9V2— TheDayRaider (@TheDayRaider) May 25, 2023
Tom Brady is going to play QB for the Raiders this year. Mark it down. https://t.co/3S3SO8Y6NW— Wes (@TreyDubb) May 25, 2023
Hear me out on this, Jimmy Garoppolo gets injured again during the season, and Tom Brady comes back and leads the Raiders to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.— Whatever it Takes (@danielkellybook) May 25, 2023
National Sports Media: here we go again! Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo had yet ANOTHER surgery on his foot—he just had one in March! May not be ready for training camp. Another QB quandary! Who’s going to replace Jimmy G. if he can’t play?— Jack Dent (@JackDentsTweets) May 25, 2023
Raiders newest minority owner, Tom Brady: pic.twitter.com/3ky5UV3uCy
Brady un-retires after Garoppolo suffers a minor injury and somehow wins the AFC for the Raiders only to lose to his hometown 49ers. https://t.co/RLXO8WHACD— Anand Nanduri (@NanduriNFL) May 24, 2023
We really might see Tom Brady in a raiders uniform https://t.co/lNBtENfUdC— Big E (@ephraimestell23) May 25, 2023
“Brady has Adams in the back of the end zone! Touchdown Raiders! And they’ve taken a 55 point lead here in Super Bowl 58.” https://t.co/4zcjSCxmfo— Alonso Cervera Pizaña (@AlonsoCervera_) May 25, 2023
In reality, it isn’t as simple as Brady just declaring his return to the NFL and suiting up for Las Vegas, once his ownership stake becomes official. In fact, that move may have shut the door on another comeback.
As ESPN’s Jeff Darlington pointed out on Monday, NFL bylaws require all 32 teams to sign off on a person with a financial stake in a team to play in the league. While some teams might be fine with it, it’s hard to see the Raiders’ AFC West rivals approving that kind of move.