To say that the Oakland Raiders are a mess would be nice. They are a dumpster fire that only continues to get hotter each week, with each loss and rumor coming out about the locker room. New head coach Jon Gruden has traded away the team’s best players in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, and combined with that is how he has handled the situation, the locker room, and game management.
This all as reportedly made the players unhappy, and things are only getting worse at 1-6. Derek Carr has recently come under fire for having a ‘fractured relationship’ with the rest of the locker room for a couple of reasons which has made him the popular choice for being next on the list for Gruden’s firesale. Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic Bay Area echoed a similar sentiment.
“There are already rumblings about Carr being a sitting duck. If the whispers are accurate, the Raiders have already concluded that Carr is not the quarterback of the future and the question is how do they go about moving on. His game is marked by a mental fragility that doesn’t inspire confidence.”
Not a good sign, and with how Jon Gruden wants to reconstruct the Raiders in his own mold, moving Carr would be the next obvious step. Carr is in the midst of a five-year $125-million contract extension which he signed back in the summer of 2017. After this season, he has four seasons left through his age-32 season, with cap hits of $22.5 million in 2019, $21.5 million in 2020, $22.12 million in 2021, and $19.88 million in 2022.
Now that seems like a lot of money for a guy who was disappointing last season, compiling 3,496 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, and a measly 6.5 yards-per-attempt en-route to a 6-10 record. And this season, he has led the Raiders to a 1-6 record while throwing for 1,783 yards seven touchdowns to eight interceptions.
But how quickly we forget his 2016 season that ended prematurely at the end of the season with a fibula injury. He led the Raiders to a 12-3 record and their first postseason appearance in 14 years. In his 15 games, Carr passed for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns to just six interceptions, and became viewed as the next great young quarterback in the NFL.
So it’s understandable that last year was merely him shaking off the rust and trying to get acclimated to the NFL and his fibula. This year, however, the Raiders’ quarterback has been a big bust, but you can also look at Jon Gruden. He has changed a lot, and created dysfunction in his own right, making things harder all-around for everyone.
He has publicly criticized Carr in the media and doesn’t appear to have a good grasp on the team as a whole. The playcalling hasn’t been great, even with the offensive talent the Raiders have. The blame isn’t all on Gruden though; your $125-million franchise quarterback deserves some criticism.
It’s a relatively easy situation to gauge. Derek Carr can play. 2016 may have been his ceiling, and we may not see him challenge for another MVP award, but he can play. He’s talented but has his flaws, but he can play. He just needs to get away from the toxic situation that is the Oakland Raiders, and a divorce would be in the best interest of both parties.
Carr doesn’t appear to want to leave, but a change of scenery would serve him well. And it feels like Gruden doesn’t think Carr is his guy for the future. There’s a reason he signed a ten-year contract so he can restart everything and build the team up how he sees fit. It could be simple as wanting his quarterback of choice like a new general manager wanting his own head coach.
The situation doesn’t look like it will be improving anytime soon, as the tank is on, even though the Raiders won’t admit it. If the Raiders plan on continuing it, moving Carr should be the priority, even though it would make them significantly worse. It would be different if there weren’t so much smoke surrounding the team, but that is the case.
There are teams out there that can use a fresh start at quarterback well, and Carr may fit in well with them.
Blake Bortles is the worst starting quarterback in the NFL right now. It’s simple. There’s a reason he was benched for Cody Kessler. Bortles has been a bust since being drafted third overall in 2015, leading the NFL in turnovers since coming into the league.
He’s had his moments, but they come when it is least expected, and maybe 20% of the time. That is not what you want in a franchise quarterback. He cannot perform when it matters or when there’s pressure. Bortles will always hold a team back from their Super Bowl aspirations.
And he is back at it again, with a 54.96 passer rating in his last three games, including some horrid interceptions. He has a sturdy offensive line to pass protect and quality running back (albeit with Leonard Fournette hurt), and the receivers are average at worst. There are no excuses.
Carr would be a massive upgrade over him, and with the talent at his disposal and more stability in the coaching, along with a talented defense, we may see the best of Derek Carr.
New York Giants
The Eli Manning Era needs to end in New York. They had a chance with the 2018 draft to draft his successor, but they opted not to. And that move has turned out for the worst, as Manning looks like a below-average (at best) quarterback again.
The Giants can continue to trade-off players as they’ve done in recent days and play for the draft pick to draft Oregon’s Justin Herbert, but there is no guarantee that he will even come out of college. And on the other hand, the Giants have the talent that suggests they can, and need to, win now.
Pairing Carr with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Sheppard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley would help the offense reach its potential. Yes, the offensive line isn’t great, but sometimes it’s hard to judge them accurately when the quarterback is washed.
Ryan Tannehill is hurt once again, and in his place, the Dolphins are starting Broc Osweiler. Yes, the Osweiler that the Houston Texans attached draft picks to move, and the Osweiler that even the Cleveland Brown cut quickly.
Who knows how long Tannehill will be sidelined, but at 4-3, the Dolphins are in an excellent spot to seriously contend for a playoff spot in 2018. Carr is a safer bet to do so than Brock Osweiler. And even in Tannehill’s return, can the Dolphins trust him?
The 2012 8th overall pick has had a hard time being healthy in the past two seasons, and when he’s played, he hasn’t proven to be a legitimate franchise quarterback. And the 30-year-old has two years remaining on his contract after this season that will have a cap hit north of $50 million. You can argue that it’s time to move on from a guy that never quite panned out.