The Oakland Raiders have left the heads of fans spinning at times this offseason when it comes to the quarterback position. While there have been numerous times where general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have stood by Derek Carr as their starter, the actions have said differently at points.
As Albert Breer of the MMQB detailed, Mayock and Gruden worked out two top quarterbacks from the 2019 NFL Draft class this week – Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins.
“Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock will work [Kyler] Murray out in Dallas on Monday, I’m told, and they’ll work [Dwayne] Haskins out on Tuesday in Columbus [Ohio]. Doing them back-to-back should bring pretty good perspective in comparing them. The staff, of course, has really good background on Lock already, having coached him in the Senior Bowl.” Breer wrote.
While there’s certainly a reason to believe this could be a smokescreen, there’s no question that Gruden drafting a quarterback wouldn’t completely shock general NFL fans. And beyond that, it appears some are buying into the belief that the Raiders will seriously consider adding a signal-caller early in the first round.
Raiders Have ‘Absolute Interest’ in Dwayne Haskins?
During the latest episode of The Draft Analysts podcast with Tony Pauline and Chris Tripodi on the Bleav Network, the duo spoke about the situation with Haskins and the Raiders. An interesting comment was made by Pauline about his outlook on the team’s interest in the former Ohio State quarterback.
“I think there’s absolute interest in Haskins from the Raiders. If Jon Gruden feels that Haskins is an upgrade over Derek Carr, he’ll pull the trigger if Haskins is available.” Pauline stated.
He proceeds to point out Gruden’s willingness to make big moves, specifically the Khalil Mack trade to the Chicago Bears. Obviously, Haskins would need to have left a strong impression and the team would have to put a plan in place for how to approach Carr’s future. If the thought process is to start Haskins immediately, the Raiders could search for a trade partner for the quarterback.
Derek Carr’s Contract Situation
Releasing Carr would not be an option this season for the Raiders, as it would come with a whopping $27.4 million in dead cap. That number hits a huge decline in 2020 and 2021, though. If Oakland were to release him in 2020, they’d free up $16.5 million in cap savings while suffering $5 million in dead money. The numbers are even more team-friendly in 2021, as the cap savings move to $19.625 million with a dead money number of $2.5 million, per Over The Cap.
Obviously, there’s plenty of risk for the Raiders if they choose to add Haskins, even if it meant keeping Carr. But if the front office were to move him, the team’s new-look offense being led by a rookie could put a hiccup in the whole “instant rebuild” approach they took by spending huge in free agency.