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The Las Vegas Raiders signed Jimmy Garoppolo on March 17, 2023.
That date is important because he was supposed to sign on March 16. According to The Athletic, the Raiders discovered that Garoppolo’s foot injury — that he suffered as a member of the San Francisco 49ers — required surgery.
The initial expectation was that Garoppolo did not need surgery and even had a chance to return for San Francisco if they reached the Super Bowl.
But Raiders doctors discovered during his physical that he did need surgery and he had that procedure in March. That’s concerning, since Garoppolo’s injury history is already quite robust.
Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL in 2018, ending his season. He had multiple ankle issues in 2020, eventually ending his season. He played through a torn thumb ligament in 2021. And then, of course, he suffered the foot injury last season.
It serves as a reminder that the Raiders signed one of the most fragile quarterbacks in the NFL. And playing in a division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson, the Raiders can ill-afford for their starting quarterback to miss time.
Las Vegas Raiders are not in great shape with an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, playing in a loaded AFC West
Garoppolo is already the fourth-best quarterback in the division behind the aforementioned trio. A hobbled Garoppolo makes matters even worse. One could argue that Garoppolo is better than Russell Wilson, if Wilson’s last season is an indication of his future rather than a blip on the radar.
Still, he’s well behind the other two.
And his head coach, Josh McDaniels, probably ranks third in the division behind Andy Reid and new Broncos head coach Sean Payton. I, personally, think he’s behind Brandon Staley. But I understand I am on an island with my Staley defense.
So the Raiders enter the season with the division’s worst quarterback — who’s also recovering from surgery that could leak into training camp — and, at best, the division’s third-best coach.
They’re in a very unenviable position in the AFC West.
The good news is that their early-season schedule isn’t as tough as it becomes later in the season.
The Raiders and Garoppolo (hopefully, if he’s healthy) only face two playoff teams from last season — the Buffalo Bills, in Week 2, and Los Angeles Chargers, in Week 4 — in the first eight games.
But after that, Las Vegas faces six playoff teams in its next seven games. And the only non-playoff team is the new-look New York Jets.
So, during the time of the season that Garoppolo frequently misses, the Raiders face their toughest tests.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak