Raiders QB depth chart: What Las Vegas' signing of Gardner Minshew means for Justin Fields, Aidan O'Connell

Author Photo
Gardner Minshew (left) and Aidan O'Connell (right)
Getty Images

Minshew Mania is headed to Las Vegas.

The Raiders and Gardner Minshew have reportedly agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract that includes $15 million guaranteed, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday.

Las Vegas thought it found its quarterback last offseason when it signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year, $67.5 million deal. But Garoppolo struggled with poor performance and injuries, and he has since been released. By the time interim coach — and now head coach — Antonio Pierce took over, the Raiders had moved on to rookie Aidan O'Connell to be the starter.

Still, Minshew might not be the quarterback Raiders' fans thought they were going to land this offseason. Las Vegas came up often in rumors as a potential trade destination for Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who is likely to be shopped this offseason as Chicago prepares to use the No. 1 pick on a quarterback, perhaps Caleb Williams.

What does Minshew's impending deal means for the Raiders' quarterback situation and for Fields? Here's what you need to know.

NFL FREE AGENCY 2024: Live gradesTop 75 rankings | Landing spot predictions

Raiders QB depth chart

  1. Gardner Minshew
  2. Aidan O'Connell

When Minshew inks his deal with the Raiders, he figures to top the depth chart for the Raiders, though it's possible O'Connell could still win the battle.

Minshew, 27, should enter as the favorite. He filled in for injured Colts rookie Anthony Richardson in 2023 and performed well, completing 62.2% of his passes for 3,305 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions and rushing 34 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns. Minshew earned his first Pro Bowl nod for the campaign.

The Colts were playing for a spot in the playoffs in Week 18 but fell to the Texans, who won the AFC South.

O'Connell, a fourth-round pick in 2023, surprised a bit as a rookie. He filled in admirably for Garoppolo, compiling 2,218 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and seven picks while completing 62.1% of passes in 11 games (10 starts). The Raiders went 5-5 in his starts, including going 3-1 down the stretch with wins over the Chargers, Chiefs and Broncos.

The quarterback room might not be done yet, though Fields looks a bit more unlikely. Las Vegas could still opt to draft a quarterback to build out the depth or possibly look for a more likely long-term option under center, Pelissero reported.

QBs | RBs | WRs | Defense | Overall

What does Gardner Minshew signing mean for Justin Fields?

Fields' chances to land a starting job for the 2024 season continue to dwindle. The Falcons signed Kirk Cousins. The Steelers signed Russell Wilson. The Vikings are in the same division as the Bears. And now the Raiders have their veteran QB option.

Theoretically, Las Vegas could still have interest in Fields, who is in the final year of his rookie contract barring a team picking up his fifth-year option. But there's no doubt the picture gets more cloudy for Fields with Las Vegas more likely to be set at quarterback than looking for other options.

On NFL Network, Ian Rapaport said the Bears had not really started the process of trading Fields and instead were still considering whether Caleb Williams would be the first overall pick in the draft.

There has been some speculation the market could now see Fields as a backup, similar to how Mac Jones wound up being viewed. KOA's Benjamin Allbright reported that he wouldn't be surprised if Fields' most likely next destination was with the Colts or Eagles as a backup quarterback.

The amount of starting options available for Fields are getting slimmer and slimmer. If the Raiders are indeed set with Minshew and O'Connell, that means Fields is one step closer to either staying with the Bears or being traded to back up for another team.

Edward Sutelan Photo

Edward Sutelan is a content producer at The Sporting News.