Now that the Las Vegas Raiders have made their intentions to move on from Derek Carr clear, rumors are flying as to where he will end up next. However, amidst all the speculation, there is one destination that just seems like too perfect a fit: the Miami Dolphins. Carr could find himself parked on South Beach next year for a variety of reasons.
The Miami Dolphins need a quarterback
First, we should address the elephant in the room. There is no way on Earth that Miami can feel comfortable about Tua Tagovailoa being their franchise quarterback. It is well documented that they were not sold on Tua heading into this season. This is made clear by their tampering with Tom Brady.
That being said, the former Alabama quarterback did silence a lot of critics with some fantastic play early in the season. Then the concussions began. These injuries kept Tua on the sideline for much of the season, including the playoffs. In the handful of games down the stretch where he was available, his play had dropped off quite a bit.
Nevertheless, the ultimate concern with Tua at this point is his longevity. Even if you persuade yourself that once he is fully recovered, questions will remain. Will you get the guy who dominated this past fall? You also have no idea how long you will have him. Remember, this is someone who has only suited up for about 75 percent of games in his young career. Even before the concussions, Tua had a lengthy injury history. That history includes several injuries to the brain in a short period of time. This could quickly devolve into an Andrew Luck situation. The bottom line is that Tua simply cannot be counted on to lead a contender over the next several years.
Derek Carr and Mike McDaniel: The Perfect Match
Much of the football world fell down the Mike McDaniel rabbit hole this year. His mic’d-up clips, press conferences, and interviews were both insightful and entertaining. If you study McDaniel for a while, it is easy to see why he and Carr could be perfect for each other. For Carr to have immediate success at his next stop, he will need to find a coach with whom he clicks from both a personality standpoint as well as a scheme fit standpoint.
As far as personality goes, Carr has spent the last several years with highly demanding coaches who wanted to mold him into what was ideal for their vastly complex offenses. McDaniel is the opposite of that. He is much more of a player’s coach. The Dolphins coach believes that his role is to maximize his players’ skills. This is exactly what Carr needs. Also, the level-headed McDaniel should gel with “DC4,” who has a knack for usually not getting too high or too low (aside from that one emotional press conference). These two could get along swimmingly.
From a football standpoint, Carr should fit right in. McDaniel’s offense does not require the quarterback to make a bunch of plays with his legs. Instead, it is predicated upon getting the ball out quickly so that the playmakers can do their thing. This is one of Carr’s biggest strengths. Also, while McDaniel may be seen as this “offensive mastermind,” his offense is designed in such a way that it is much more digestible than, say, that of Josh McDaniels or Jon Gruden. Carr likely would not have the same growing pains in his first year with Mike McDaniel as he has had with other coaches.
It’s important to remember that Carr holds all the cards right now, as he has a no-trade clause in his contract. Even if Miami wanted him, he would still have to sign off. As far as his preferences go, one thing we know Carr wants is stability. This has been used to write off a lot of teams that would be in the market for someone like Carr. One might argue that Miami falls into that category. The Dolphins are going to be without their first-round draft pick this year because of their aforementioned tampering with Brady, as well as Sean Payton. There was also that whole situation with Brian Flores.
However, it is important to remember just how volatile a situation Carr is leaving. Including interim head coaches, the Raiders had six different guys in charge during Carr’s tenure. Dave Ziegler is also the team’s third general manager in that span. During Carr’s time with the Raiders, he made the playoffs twice. The team fired its offensive coordinator after each of those seasons. Also, let’s not forget the insane level of roster turnover that has taken place at this time as well. Carr is currently the only player on the roster who has been with the Raiders for more than five years.
With all of that in mind, let’s now look at the Miami Dolphins. During Carr’s career, the Dolphins have gone through five head coaches. That’s not great, but better than the Raiders. Looking at their executives, Miami has had two general managers and Chris Grier has been with the organization since 2016. Finally, Miami has a well-established core. They have retained star players, like Xavien Howard, for example. While the Dolphins may not be the poster child for stability, they certainly seem like an upgrade over the Raiders.
Possible Trade Scenario
- Las Vegas Raiders Receive: 2023 2nd rd. pick (MIA), 2023 3rd rd. pick (MIA), Tua Tagovailoa
- Miami Dolphins Receive: Derek Carr, 2023 5th rd. pick (ATL)
Given the season that Carr had and his contract situation, the Raiders are not going to get the compensation one would expect for a quarterback of Carr’s caliber. His value is probably a late first-round pick right now. Miami does not have a first-round pick this year, so they would have to get creative. Packaging their second-round pick with one of their two third-rounders could get them close. Adding Tua as a sweetener could push them across the finish line.
The Raiders could add Tua to the mix as they figure out their replacement for Carr. Assuming that they do land Tom Brady, Las Vegas could stash Tua behind Brady as a great backup. Tua could use that first year to get healthy and learn the offense while providing an excellent backup option for the team. Then, in a year or two, he could take over.