Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has not been shy about trading away what many believe were his foundational building blocks when he took the job. In fact, when he has buttered up one of his superstars to the press, that player’s been marked for trade. Most of the times, he isn’t a vindictive trader, he sends players to better situations and quarterback Derek Carr wouldn’t be any different.
Khalil Mack was sent to the Bears. After getting the linebacker, they won the division and made the playoffs. Likewise, Amari Cooper was traded to the Cowboys, who earned a division title and made a deep playoff run in the same year. Finally, Gareon Conley was sent to Texans, where the cornerback helped them conquer the division and make it to the divisional round of this past year’s playoffs. All those former Raiders players were exchanged for future draft picks.
If Las Vegas succeeds at signing Tom Brady, something will need to happen to Carr. A backup quarterback at $21.5 million is simply too rich. Here, we will take a look at a few different options for a trading partner.
The Favorites For Derek Carr
Miami is probably in the coldest division in football despite being located in Florida. They probably have the worst roster situation and chance of winning combination, but the most Raiders friendly. The Dolphins have the cap space and draft capital to paint a brand new picture around Carr.
The Dolphins have 14 draft selections in the 2020 draft, including three first rounders and two second-round selections.
Head coach Matt Nagy and his wide open offense isn’t being properly run by Mitch Trubisky and having a more accurate quarterback should open it up again. Problem is Chicago has an issue with their offensive line, which wasn’t very good in 2019. Given Carr’s struggles with wintery conditions, playing outdoors in the NFC North may not be in his best interest.
The Bears have a fourth rounder, a sixth rounder and two second, fifth, and seventh round picks.
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Jameis Winston had 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 2019, the sole player in league history to do so. Head coach Bruce Arians’ spread offense would be the closest stylistic match to Carr’s offense at Fresno State. Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin would be the first pair of 1K wide receivers the current Raiders signal-caller has worked with since Cooper and Michael Crabtree. This division would be the kindest to Carr, who would only have to play outside against Carolina and in Florida in the division.
Armed with one of the better offensive lines in the league, a solid committee of Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, the Colts probably have the most ready-to-win situation for a quarterback. Along with number one wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and solid tight ends Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron, Carr would be set on offense. Oh! And the $81M-$86M of salary cap space doesn’t hurt either, which would allow them to keep Carr and Jacoby Brissett.
The Colts have the thirteenth slot in the draft: a first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh round pick with two picks in both the second and sixth rounds.
Maybes For Derek Carr
In a perfect dreamy made for TV movie world, Bill Belichick and the Patriots would trade Tom Brady for Derek Carr straight up and life would be great for both, but that’s not going to happen.
Josh McDaniels’ offense would suit Carr’s strengths and make the most of what he does best. However, the horrific Massachusetts wintery wonderland weather would relegate this a non-factor. Not to mention if football isn’t your God, then the Patriots isn’t your calling and Belichick won’t be coaching you long.
One last thing, seriously, if Belichick calls and offers a trade for Carr involving draft picks, Mike Mayock should hang up and re-sign Carr immediately.
The thought of Carr returning to FedEx Field should make Raider Nation sick. Washington is where it all went bad and the 2017 Raiders were exposed as frauds. But, head coach Ron Rivera is coming in and on his roster is Dwayne Haskins, who may or may not have his confidence completely shot from being fed to the wolves too early. Without a veteran things could be real ugly for him.
Carr would have a friend and familiar face in defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. In terms of a conservative offense with a power running game and a good defense he could be the guy for the Redskins.
Long Shots To Land Derek Carr
Trading within the division should be avoided at all costs. Truth be told, it’s fully expected Los Angeles will draft either Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa and Carr may be a veteran figure who can show them how to be a pro. His knowledge of the AFC West would keep him comfortable with better pass catchers such as Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Mike Williams.
The issue with the Chargers is their offensive line, and that has proven to be Carr’s Achilles heel.
Schematically, their offensive system fits Carr to a “t” and head coach Sean Payton is an offensive play calling genius.
Taysom Hill was named a franchise-type quarterback, but it was also said at the ripe old age of 30, he still needed another year of seasoning. It sounded like some window dressing for the fact that they can’t afford to pay Teddy Bridgewater to stick around for another season as Drew Brees backup. The talent on the roster and style of play is perfectly complimentary to Carr’s skill set as well.
Honestly, this is a pipe dream because the Saints have no cap space and finite draft capital, a first, third, fourth, fifth and a sixth round pick in the 2020 draft.
March 18th 4:00pm EST
The start of the 2020 league year will reveal the final answer. It’s possible the Raiders will decide to utilize their draft capital and their vast cap space to load up around Carr in a final prove-it year. It’s also entirely possible that will be the day the Raiders finally give in to what the experts, insiders and prognosticators all say will happen and make a move to upgrade the quarterback position.
The NFC South seems like the best place for Carr, it’s a weaker division and without Brees, it will be wide open in 2020. I like the Buccaneers fit, but I have serious questions about the match with Arians. Payton and the Saints are the ideal destination for Carr. Nonetheless, they have nothing to give the Raiders.
The AFC South could be most likely place he’s headed to because the fit with the Colts is a nice one. Their dynamite defense and running game are ready for game management at a high level. Carr beat the Colts in 2019, but lost to every other team in the division. Confidence in his ability to succeed in the division is shaky at best.
As a Patriot, if Carr is able to master the system, he will have the best chance to reset or shift the balance of power in the AFC East. The cold will be a factor and one he may not be able to overcome.
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