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Report: Raiders set to part ways with the $120 million mega star……..

It was a surprisingly active rookie year for Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who started 10 games in the 2023-24 NFL season. O’Connell took the reins after the shocking benching of Jimmy Garoppolo, and maintained the starting role throughout the rest of the season.

Now heading into his sophomore season, O’Connell noted that head coach Antonio Pierce is giving him a chance once again. In an interview with Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, O’Connell expressed his gratitude in saying:

Las Vegas was expected to add a potential replacement for O’Connell in April’s draft, but never did so. This might’ve been strategy, or just a product of the top-six quarterbacks all being selected in the top 12 picks. O’Connell won’t be without competition either way, as the Raiders signed Gardner Minshew over the offseason.

Given his status as a developmental rookie being thrown into the fire of a starting spot mid-season, O’Connell did reasonably well. He didn’t astonish anyone, but helped the Raiders go 5-5 over the course of his 10 games as a starter.

This helped Las Vegas secure an 8-9 record, good enough for second in their division. It’s not anything to write home about, but far better than most would have expected upon hearing they started their fourth-round rookie through the majority of the season.

It’s clear Pierce saw something in O’Connell, as he kept him in place throughout the entirety of his stint as interim head coach. It paid off for Pierce, as he was named the permanent head coach after the season’s conclusion. As for O’Connell, the Purdue product remains in a position many young quarterbacks would envy.

O’Connell’s opportunity to start in year two is likely the product of his obvious development over the course of the season. Through his first six starts, he had thrown more interceptions (6) than he had touchdowns (4). Things clicked in the final four games though, as he had an 8:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. This run kicked off with an absolute demolition of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The late-season success for both O’Connell and the Raiders came as a surprise to many. Now the question is whether he earned the starting role for this season, or merely proved himself to be a high-quality backup.

Now set to take on a season where he isn’t thrown into the starting role at a moment’s notice, O’Connell’s noticeable development may reach new heights. That is, if he can win the starting job over Gardner Minshew, an NFL fan-favorite.

Minshew was the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback for the majority of last season after rookie Anthony Richardson went down early in the year. Minshew not only helped keep the Colts afloat, but actually led them to a winning record of 9-8. Minshew’s efforts were rewarded, as he was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.


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