It didn’t take the season’s end for the Raiders moving on from Derek Carr rumors to start spreading. The quarterback was very close to quieting the rumors after an impressive start to the season, but going 1-5 in the season’s last six games have really hurt his chances of returning. There have been reports of a “significant disconnect” between Carr and Jon Gruden and more reports that the coach is planning on drafting a quarterback.
Most reports since Gruden took over the Raiders have not been good for Carr, but a recent report from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller may change the narrative:
The Raiders have two selections in Round 1 and will go defense and wide receiver. The belief is that the team will go linebacker or wide receiver first and then circle back with a cornerback or wide receiver with the pick from Chicago. GM Mike Mayock had a great first draft in 2019, so it’ll be fun to watch the Raiders’ evaluation this year. Everything I’ve heard says quarterback Derek Carr is safe for 2020.
It’s been noted in the past that Gruden is unpredictable and falls in and out of love with quarterbacks rather often. Miller is a veteran reporter, so it is very unlikely he’s reporting things that he’s not actually hearing from connected sources. However, Carr shouldn’t feel safe unless the draft passes and the Raiders don’t take a quarterback in the first three rounds.
The Case for Keeping Carr
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The biggest knock on Carr is that he is getting paid like a top-10 quarterback, but he isn’t playing like one. That said, there’s no doubt he’s one of the 20 best in the NFL and the way quarterbacks are getting paid these days, his deal looks better every offseason. Plus, the Raiders could cut him with little ramifications if they wanted to.
If Gruden doesn’t feel like Carr is the guy moving forward, he should exercise patience. In the grand scheme of things, Carr isn’t taking up too much salary cap considering his position. Also, there won’t be a better option at quarterback in free agency. The Raiders are very close to a real playoff run. Is it worth risking that by getting rid of Carr and replacing him with an untested rookie? If they do that, it could seriously hurt their 2020 playoff chances.
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Will Raiders Draft a Potential Successor?
If Gruden decides that Carr isn’t the quarterback of the future, he could consider drafting one in the first three rounds of the draft. Popular names that have been connected to the Raiders have been Jordan Love, Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason or Jalen Hurts. As impressive as three of those men were in college, none of them are ready to lead an NFL team to the playoffs.
Most rookie quarterbacks have significant growing pains and the Raiders aren’t drafting high enough to get Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa. Those two are the closest to sure things in the NFL, but all the other quarterbacks available have serious question marks. The team has huge needs at linebacker and wide receiver that should be addressed in the first round. If Gruden feels like he needs a quarterback, he should look to the later rounds.