After quarterback Rich Gannon missed most of the 2004 NFL season with a broken vertebrae in his neck, he decided to hang up his cleats prior to the 2005 season. The 2002 NFL MVP had been a central component of the Oakland Raiders‘ success in the early 2000s, leading them to the playoffs in 2000 and 2001 and to a Super Bowl appearance in the 2002 season.
Nearly eight and a half years since Gannon announced his retirement, the Raiders are still searching for their next franchise quarterback.
When rookie Matt McGloin started Nov. 17 against the Houston Texans, he became the 15th quarterback to start for the Raiders since Gannon’s departure. In a league where strong quarterback performance is imperative to a team’s success, the Raiders have to find an answer this offseason.
The low point in the Raiders’ quarterback saga came in 2007 when the late Al Davis fell in love with quarterback JaMarcus Russell‘s arm strength and selected him No. 1 overall. Davis, whose infatuation with the deep ball never waned, had swung and missed on yet another draft pick. To be fair, 2007 was an unfortunate year to own the No. 1 pick and have a major need at quarterback. Had they already had a franchise quarterback in place, they would have had the opportunity to select Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Darrelle Revis or Patrick Willis (just to name a few).
Sorry to rub it in, Raiders fans.
The Raiders’ three options in the offseason are to either acquire a quarterback like Kirk Cousins via trade, sign a free agent like Michael Vick to potentially start for a few years or use their No. 5 overall pick in May’s NFL draft to add one. With their No. 5 overall pick, they’ll likely be able to choose from Derek Carr of Fresno State, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, Blake Bortles from Central Florida or Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville.
While Cousins would be a heavy favorite to start Week 1 for the Raiders, any recently-drafted quarterback would likely compete with McGloin and Terrelle Pryor for the job in training camp. While the Raiders’ 18th-ranked defense could certainly use some help, their inconsistency at quarterback has persisted for far too long.
If the Raiders do decide to add a quarterback in the offseason, Raiders fans will have to hope that 16 is their lucky number.