Mark Davis wants Tom Brady, but does Josh McDaniels?

Will the Raiders try to make Tom Brady the latest aging star to bring his act to the Las Vegas Strip for a short-term run?

Or will coach Josh McDaniels choose building a long-term strategy over the quarterback who made him look like a genius for so many years?

The decision by McDaniels and the Raiders to move on from Derek Carr last week has led to the obvious speculation that Brady will reunite with McDaniels this offseason.


That speculation is also fueled by the belief among many that Raiders owner Mark Davis is growing increasingly impatient in his effort to rebuild the legacy of the team his Hall of Fame father built into a champion. Moreover, Davis’ angst is growing. Allegiant Stadium continues to be more of a friendly home for visiting fans than the great home field it was for years in Oakland.

“Mark is embarrassed,” a former Raiders executive said. “He was pissed last year when the Chiefs and Bears brought so many fans to town. Now it’s happening every week. He wants it to stop. He wanted Brady before when Jon Gruden finally turned it down and now, he wants Brady again. Mark thinks having McDaniels is going to be the key.

“But I’m hearing McDaniels is not so sure.”

At issue is a larger reality about where the Raiders sit. They sit at 6-10 and Las Vegas has regressed from the playoff season it had a year ago. At the same time, the 6-10 mark has been fueled by some bad luck in close games. Same as the playoff run a year ago was fueled by good luck a year ago. Overall, the Raiders are roughly an average team.


Davis thinks the Raiders are a great quarterback away from turning that around and competing for a title. McDaniels may acquiesce to that this offseason, but is also concerned about how long he’ll have Brady around. That would put the Raiders behind in the chase for a franchise quarterback at a time when Kansas City (with Patrick Mahomes) and the Los Angeles Chargers (with Justin Herbert) have long-term answers at quarterback.

And that’s in a year when there appears to be a number of options at quarterback in the NFL Draft. The Raiders currently have the No. 8 overall pick. That in a year when at least four or five quarterbacks are expected to go in the first round. The group is led by the likes of C.J. Stroud of Ohio State, Bryce Young of Alabama and Will Levis of Kentucky.

“Josh believes he can train a quarterback,” said a former Patriots staff member who recalled how McDaniels once strongly implied that it was his system that was more critical than Brady to the success of New England. “Look at what they did last game with (Jarret) Stidham. Puts up 30 points against San Francisco and takes them to the mat with a guy he coached for years.

“That’s why Josh took (Tim) Tebow when he was in Denver. He thought he could fix Tebow and turn him into something great. Then he really found out, but Josh still believes in Josh and that if he gets the right guy, it’s going to work. If he goes out there and just gets Tom – and I don’t know that Tom would really do that, but just say it happens – what has Josh really proved? And what happens when Tom finally does quit?”


Ultimately, what McDaniels may have to do is appease Davis’ desire to chase Brady while at the same time figuring out how to get the next great quarterback with the high pick the Raiders will have.

Maybe you beg Brady to come and take a quarterback anyway, but that’s a tough go to take that high a pick and not use it to shore up the team when you’re obviously going for it,” said the former Patriots staffer. “I don’t know how you keep the owner happy and plan for the future at the same time in this situation.”

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Jason Cole has covered or written about pro football since 1992. He is one of 49 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has served as a selector since 2013. Cole has worked for publications such as Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, The Miami Herald, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, and started his career with the Peninsula Times-Tribune in Palo Alto. Cole’s five-year investigation of Reggie Bush and the University of Southern California resulted in Bush becoming the only player to ever relinquish his Heisman Trophy and USC losing its 2004 national championship.