The NFL season hasn’t even technically ended yet and the quarterback rumors have already begun to run rampant. One team that’s been heavily mentioned in a number of rumors is the Raiders. With a move to Las Vegas coming in 2020, many think the team will want to make a splash and move on from Derek Carr. Tom Brady has been mentioned as an option, but Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports predicted an even wilder scenario and pegged Jameis Winston as the guy in Las Vegas this upcoming season:
“Jon Gruden loves to gamble. He likes Derek Carr, but isn’t sure of high-end upside. He wants someone who is more willing to sling it downfield and make big plays. Winston just kinda looks like a Raiders QB, no? What a perfect fit for Vegas. Could you get him on a 2-3 year deal, kinda like a bridge situation, and also draft someone like Jordan Love? Probably. Gruden loves a challenge and coaxing the picks out of Winston certainly qualifies. This way he doesn’t mortgage his first round picks to move up for Tua or Burrow, gets a young starter, and can keep drafting weapons on offense.”
Winston is coming off a season in which he was the first player to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He also led the NFL with over 5,000 passing yards. Winston was the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft but hasn’t necessarily lived up to the hype. It’s hard to call him a draft bust yet and maybe playing for a coach like Gruden could help unlock his potential.
Derek Carr to Redskins?
If the Raiders decided to sign Winston, then they’d need to figure out what to do with Carr. La Canfora believes the Washington Redskins would be a logical destination:
“Owner Dan Snyder loves first round pick Dwayne Haskins, but new coach Ron Rivera, who has extensive power, has already publicly hedged his bets. Rivera’s first hire, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, is a champion of Carr’s and they went to the playoffs together with Carr an MVP candidate. Yes, Alex Smith is still costing $19M, but Snyder could restructure Carr’s deal easily to bring his 2020 cap hit down to like $7M and it’s a long shot Smith ever plays again. Carr’s contract is cheap enough to flip again down the road if need be.”
It remains to be seen how much it would cost for a team to land Carr in a trade. The Redskins should be a lot more interesting heading into 2020 with their revamped coaching staff and a proven quarterback like Carr at the helm could jumpstart their rebuild.
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Why These Moves Don’t Make Any Sense
La Canfora is a well-connected insider, but neither of the moves he predicts make much sense. It’s unclear if he watches a lot of Raider games, but there’s little indication that Gruden likes to gamble – especially at quarterback. The coach has never drafted a quarterback high and has always favored passers who don’t make a lot of mistakes. Winston is probably the most mistake-prone quarterback in the NFL. He was a turnover machine with two of the best wide receivers in the NFL at his disposal. Carr had maybe the worst wide receiver corps in the NFL and only threw eight interceptions.
Also, if the Raiders are going to draft a quarterback like Jordan Love but go with a veteran at starter for 2020, why wouldn’t they just keep Carr? It seems to be a lot less complicated. Plus, it’s weird to believe that Carr doesn’t have upside but Winston does. At his best, the current Raiders quarterback is an MVP candidate. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans form one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL and Winston still threw 30 interceptions. If Carr had those two, he probably lights up the stat sheet.
On the other hand, Carr to the Redskins does make a little more sense. Dwayne Haskins still has a lot of upside but he proved that he isn’t ready to lead a franchise yet. Jack Del Rio having a big role in the coaching staff also lends credibility to the idea. That said, it seems like it wouldn’t be easy for them to make the necessary cap space for his large contract.