Las Vegas quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo won’t play the first two games of next season after the NFL suspended him for violating the league’s banned substances policy. The NFL and NFL Players Association’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) was among the first of its kind when it was introduced in 1987 but has often been criticized for its random tests, with critics pointing to the increase in the number of players who have violated the policy since random testing became the norm.

Garoppolo to Be Shown the Door

Garoppolo’s two-game suspension likely won’t affect the Las Vegas Raiders, as they will reportedly release their backup quarterback in March and before he becomes eligible for the $11.25 million roster bonus. The Raiders seem to have made that decision a while ago when interim coach Antonio Pierce benched Garoppolo for the remainder of the season in favour of rookie Aidan O’Connell.

With Pierce becoming the Raiders full-time head coach, it was to be expected that the veteran quarterback’s days were numbered. The suspension will make that decision even easier for the Las Vegas franchise.

Rolling with the Punches

Garoppolo joined the Raiders last offseason when Josh McDaniels was the coach and Dave Ziegler was the general manager. He signed a 3-year contract worth $72.75 million and the Raiders hoped he would bring post-season experience to the team, as he had two NFC championship appearances and also played in the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers.

However, following an underwhelming season in which Garoppolo threw seven touchdowns and nine interceptions, Pierce and Tom Telesco, the Raiders new general manager, decided to put their faith in the rookie O’Connell.

Speaking after the season finished, Garoppolo said he wanted to play but was aware that things were out of his control. The current situation is nothing new to the 32-year-old and Garoppolo said he would have to “roll with the punches” for a while.

The Raiders Have a Decision to Make

The Raiders are in a bit of a tight spot too, as they have to decide whether they would put their trust in O’Connell after he won five out of nine for them under the new coach. However, they might also hit the market in search of an upgrade. Free agency, trades and the draft are all considered options.

A month ago, O’Connell said he was ready to compete and got to where he was because he was used to fighting for his place. He added that he welcomed competition, as it was the NFL, “the best of the best” and it was his job to keep his spot.