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Raiders release Jimmy Garoppolo in cost-cutting move

ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looks on before a game, on Jan. 7, in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Raiders released Garoppolo, today.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looks on before a game, on Jan. 7, in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Raiders released Garoppolo, today.

The Las Vegas Raiders kicked off the start of the new league year by releasing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and receiver Hunter Renfrow to give the new regime more room to operate under the salary cap.

The Raiders also released backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery today, just minutes after the start of the 2024 league year.

The moves create significant salary cap space for the Raiders to use this offseason as general manager Tom Telesco and coach Antonio Pierce look to build the team into a contender.

These decisions had been widely expected, as the Raiders benched Garoppolo midway through last season after Pierce took over for fired coach Josh McDaniels and the other players were no longer part of the team’s long-term plans.

The Raiders had signed Garoppolo to a three-year, $72.75 million contract last offseason to take over as quarterback from recently released Derek Carr, but the move backfired almost from the start.

Garoppolo’s contract had to be reworked when he failed a physical and needed surgery on his previously injured foot, and he never played up to the level he had during his time in San Francisco after getting healthy.

Garoppolo made six starts for Las Vegas, throwing nine interceptions and only seven TDs before getting benched following the coaching change.

He then got suspended in February for the first two games of next season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, allowing the Raiders to void the $11.25 million guaranteed salary Garoppolo was supposed to be owed in 2024.

Las Vegas will still take a $17.1 million dead cap hit but will save at least $11.3 million on this year’s cap.

The Raiders will start the offseason with a quarterback competition between second-year player Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew. Minshew agreed earlier this week to a two-year, $25 million deal, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the move hadn’t been announced.

Las Vegas also could opt to draft a quarterback to add to the mix. The Raiders have the 13th pick in next month’s draft.

Renfrow went from being one of the best additions under Jon Gruden’s regime to a little-used player the past two seasons under McDaniels and Pierce.

A fifth-round pick in 2019, Renfrow emerged as the focal point of the passing game in 2021, when he had 103 catches for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns to earn a Pro Bowl nod and help lead the Raiders to the playoffs.

Renfrow was rewarded for that in 2022 with a two-year contract extension worth $31.7 million. But he was unable to repeat that production the past two seasons.

Renfrow was hampered by injuries in 2022, when he finished with what then were career lows of 36 catches for 330 yards in 10 games.

He was healthy last season but even less productive, with 25 catches for 255 yards in 17 games, leading to the decision to release him instead of paying him an $11.2 million base salary for 2024.

Renfrow finished his tenure with the Raiders with 269 catches for 2,884 yards and 17 touchdowns in five seasons.

The move saves the Raiders $8.21 million in salary cap room but does carry a $5.5 million dead cap hit.

Tillery played 25 games for Las Vegas since being claimed on waivers from the Chargers during the 2022 season. The former first-round pick had two sacks for the Raiders.

Hoyer was brought in as a backup based on his time with McDaniels in New England. He lost his only start last season.

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