The Las Vegas Raiders are reportedly staying within the AFC West for their next general manager hire, as they’re working to bring in former Los Angeles Chargers GM Tom Telesco to fill the void, according to multiple reports.
Despite being released from his duties with the Chargers, who cleaned house after going 5-12 this season to sit at the bottom of the division, Telesco is revered for putting together a Chargers roster that has thrived in the past.
However, this past season saw tons of under-performing players, including cornerback J.C. Jackson who was cut in just the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal he signed during the 2022 offseason.
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The Chargers are in cap hell at the moment, with the new GM over in Los Angeles needing to deal with the $45.8 million the franchise is currently over the cap threshold. Big decisions will be coming for players like Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, Keenan Allen and more after Telesco paid quarterback Justin Herbert this past season.
The Raiders, on the other hand, are a team stocked with around $36 million in cap room this offseason. They just relinquished the interim tag on Antonio Pierce’s head-coaching title — a move that players and fans alike were happy to see from owner Mark Davis.
Telesco’s main question could be what to do at quarterback, as Pierce clearly liked rookie Aidan O’Connell when he took over after Josh McDaniels was fired midway through the regular season. Jimmy Garoppolo signed with Las Vegas for $72.75 million over three years this past offseason, and if the Raiders were to cut him, he’d be $28,318,000 in dead cap.
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There’s also what to do with running back Josh Jacobs, who played under an incentivized franchise tag last season. He was looking for a long-term deal to remain with the club, and Telesco has the funds if he’d like to extend him that pay day.
But Telesco has key pieces like Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby under contract for next season on a team looking to take a leap in a very tough division.
Telesco joined the Chargers in 2013, when owner Dean Spanos chose him as the team’s next GM following the long tenure of A.J. Smith in the same role. Telesco was the youngest manager in Chargers history taking over a team that didn’t make the playoffs since 2009.
Telesco helped bring the Chargers back to the playoffs immediately, as they went 9-7 in 2013 and made it as a wild card team. They’d go on to lose in the divisional round.
Telesco was focused on building the team through the draft while supplementing needs in free agency. But the process was one that didn’t pay dividends until 2018, when the Chargers went 12-4 under head coach Anthony Lynn.
It was the first time the Chargers made the playoffs since 2013, but they lost in the divisional round once more. The 2022 Chargers squad was loaded with talent that was expected to make a run for the Super Bowl.
However, a tragic loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who overcame a large deficit in the second half to move on, knocked the Chargers out of the wild card round.
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Telesco will be charged with creating a consistent winning roster, and he’ll certainly have some extra motivation as the Raiders will see the Chargers twice every season he’s in Las Vegas’ facility.