Derek Carr might want to take up Antonio Brown on that offer to buy his house in Vegas next door to Jon Gruden.
Many Carr “truthers” picture weekly sleepovers between Carr and Gruden with them furiously drawing up plays into the wee hours of the night. Unfortunately, that is probably not going to happen. The writing has been on the wall for a while, and all signs point to the Raiders moving on from Carr in 2020.
The Time is Now: Why the Raiders Will Move on From Derek Carr
New Face of the Franchise
The Raiders will be looking to make a splash in Las Vegas and with a very promising rookie draft class, and two first-round picks, the Silver and Black are in prime position to move up and draft a signal-caller to represent them in their new city.
Even some who aren’t big fans of Carr are afraid of moving on, likely from PTSD for the ten years of almost constant atrocious quarterback play in Oakland, from busts like JaMarcus Russell, to flops like Daunte Culpepper, to what-ifs like Jason Campbell. However, with young names like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes lighting it up in the league and completely transforming their teams, it seems like it is time to take a chance on someone with a higher ceiling than the Raiders current signal-caller.
A deal for Joe Burrow would be the dream scenario here, but the team would probably have to give up a lot. Tua Tagovailoa is right up there next to him in terms of potential, but injury scares have his draft stock all over the place right now. He could really go anywhere in the first round.
Another intriguing prospect is Jalen Hurts. Hurts is a dual-threat quarterback who could give Gruden’s offense a new dimension. He also has a good shot at still being on the board with the Raiders’ first pick without moving up.
Other quarterbacks on the radar are Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, and Jordan Love.
Derek Carr Has Shown His Ceiling
Carr defenders point to his stats as a reason to keep him. He completes a lot of passes. He doesn’t throw a ton of interceptions. But he also doesn’t do a lot more than that. He has only thrown for over 30 touchdowns once in his career. The past two seasons he finally threw for over 4,000 yards on the year. In fact, this year, he was eighth in the league in passing yards.
However, that doesn’t tell the full story. There was a ton of injuries and turnover at the quarterback position this year. Looking closer at the numbers shows Carr is still a middle-of-the-pack quarterback. Averaging 255.5 passing yards per game puts Carr at number 14 in the league. His 22 touchdown throws were 19th in the NFL, one behind Ryan Tannehill, who only started ten games this season.
Even in 2016, his so-called MVP year, he was not overly impressive. In 15 games, Carr threw for 3937 yards, 28 touchdowns, and six interceptions. When comparing his stats to Matt Ryan, who eventually won MVP, it’s not even close. Ryan threw for 4,944 yards, 48 touchdowns, and just seven picks. That’s about 1,000 more yards and ten more touchdowns in just one fewer game.
He isn’t a Winner
Carr’s stats really aren’t bad per se and many teams can win with even an adequate quarterback, but when it comes down to it, he just isn’t a winner. He likes to talk about “Mamba Mentality.” He has 19 game-winning drives in his career. Admittedly one of his better qualities is being able to come through at the end of games. Nonetheless, a question seldom asked is why the games come down to these game-winning drives in the first place.
And Carr’s end to the season is a perfect microcosm that sums up his career. The game ended with the Raiders losing 15 to 16 after a failed 2-point conversion that would have given Carr his 20th game-winning drive of the quarter. It was an exciting final drive sure, but also one the Raiders had no business being in in the first place. Though Carr finished with 391 yards passing, he disappeared for long stretches of game, including the third quarter, where these were his stats:
In the most important quarter of the @Raiders season – thus far – Derek Carr was 3 of 6 for 7 yards.
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) December 29, 2019
And other than that final drive, fourth quarter is where his stats don’t look quite as good. Compared to other quarters, Carr has thrown the most interceptions (20), and has his worst completion percentage (61.5). Aside from stats, anyone who watches him can see he just doesn’t quite have the intangibles to take a team to the next level. His propensity to just throw the ball away or check it down is frustrating beyond measure to watch.
Not Bad, Just Not Great
Overall, Derek Carr is a great leader, and he seems to be well-liked, as even former teammates have never said anything negative about him, but sometimes, that isn’t enough. Quarterback is called the most important position on the field because a great one can elevate a weaker team. That’s just not Carr, who can keep a team in games by not making mistakes. He is a good fit for a team with a great defense, where he can manage games without making too many mistakes.
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But this team doesn’t have that defense, and Gruden is going to start feeling some pressure to perform with that huge contract, despite the time frame on it. The Raiders head coach is likely to choose the potentially quicker option of adding a flashy new quarterback to jumpstart his team.