After a long offseason filled with rumors of Jon Gruden not wanting to keep Derek Carr, it seemed like those would be put to bed once the Oakland Raiders decided not to draft a quarterback. It seemed even more likely the team would be keeping Carr for the next several years after a hot start to the season. However, the quarterback and team have cooled down significantly, which means the rumors are already coming back into the fray. The latest Carr-Gruden rumors come from Michael Lombardi, via The Athletic.
Well, there is a significant disconnect between the coach and the quarterback. Gruden and Carr will play nice; they will say all the positives about one another. Still, having been around Gruden for many of those good years in Oakland, I know what he loves in quarterbacks: the toughness, the grit, the willingness to sacrifice, and most of a competitive drive to match his own. Carr makes too many mistakes with the ball, and whether it’s a fair assessment of his ability or not, he never displays the fire that would remind anyone of former quarterback Rich Gannon. Too many times he refuses to hold on for one more second, knowing he might get hit before releasing the ball.
Lombardi was the Senior Personnel Executive for the Raiders when Gruden was coaching, so it’s safe to say that he’s familiar with the coach. That said, a lot has changed over the years. He hasn’t worked with Gruden in almost 20 years. Carr hasn’t played well recently, but the issue is more nuanced than that. The quarterback has a lack of receiving talent around him and the offensive line has been beaten up all year. That’s not to say Carr will succeed if given the right talent around him. It remains to be seen if Gruden will give the quarterback the chance to prove it.
Will the Raiders Actually Let Go of Carr?
Before the Raiders even consider releasing Carr, they need to ask themselves: Is there a better quarterback available in free agency or the draft? If yes, then, of course, they should send Carr packing. However, that’s not so easy to determine. Drafting a quarterback is always a massive risk and franchise quarterbacks usually don’t make it to free agency.
The Raiders could let go of Carr and not face many financial ramifications. Gruden consistently defends his quarterbacks, but that doesn’t mean he’s sold on him. If Carr looks bad over the last two games of the season, it could mean he’s done in Oakland and won’t be coming to Las Vegas.
Follow the Heavy Oakland Raiders page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Potential Carr Replacements
There are a couple of interesting quarterbacks set to hit free agency. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were both high draft picks that never lived up to their status. However, Winston makes way too many mistakes for Gruden and Mariota got benched and has never looked like a franchise quarterback.
Teddy Bridgewater is more interesting because he looked really good in relief of Drew Brees this season. On the surface, he’s exactly what Gruden likes in a quarterback. The coach has made a career of finding journeyman veterans with plenty left in the tank. It wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest if Gruden signed him on.
There’s also the draft. Tua Tagovailoa could sit for a year behind Carr. There’s also Jalen Hurts or Justin Herbert, who will both have the possibility of falling to the Raiders. Regardless, Raider fans are in for another offseason filled with quarterback rumors.