Another free agency is almost in the books for the Las Vegas Raiders and despite months of quarterback rumors, the team appears to be rolling with Derek Carr once again. Many made it seem like a move was inevitable, but that turned out to not be the case. Even though the Raiders decided to stick with Carr in the end, that doesn’t mean other quarterback-needy teams didn’t look into trading for him.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the fact that teams had so much interest in Carr may have restored the Raiders’ faith in him:
This, I believe, was the order in which Las Vegas prioritized. The Raiders didn’t actively shop Carr but kept all options open at quarterback, which led them to a two-year, $17 million deal with Mariota — just enough money to make training camp competition interesting.
At least eight teams inquired about Tom Brady’s services, and the Raiders were believed to be one. But Las Vegas also believes it’s not far away and wasn’t going to overreact, and the fact other teams would have pounced on a Carr trade reminded the Raiders they had a good player at the position.
It’s unclear exactly how much Las Vegas liked the idea of bringing in Tom Brady, but it’s been well-reported that they were at least entertaining it. If they did sign Brady, Carr would’ve been traded or released. Based on what Fowler is saying, some teams were ready to make the Raiders serious offers.
This Is Good News for Derek Carr
If it took other teams showing their interest in Derek Carr for the Raiders to realize what they have, then that’s a problem. However, it’s good news for the veteran quarterback. Though he’s been lackluster at times over the last few seasons, he still has MVP upside. If reports are to be believed, Jon Gruden still isn’t completely sold on him.
It’s somewhat hard to believe that at this point. Gruden has had ample opportunity to make a change at the position via the draft or free agency but hasn’t yet. The Raiders decided to ride with Carr this season is their biggest endorsement of him yet. No, they’re not about to give him another contract extension, but they clearly like him enough to give him at least one more shot. Like Fowler pointed out, the Raiders believe they are close and moving on from Carr could potentially derail that. Getting the team to the playoffs would do a lot for his case for being the team’s quarterback of the future.
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Marcus Mariota Will Compete for the Starting Job
The Raiders gave Derek Carr a pretty big vote of confidence in free agency. However, he’s about to face real competition for the first time in his career. With the Marcus Mariota addition, the team will have their most qualified backup in years. Mariota admitted that the Raiders are Carr’s team, but based on his incentive-heavy contract, he has to believe that there’s a chance he could start eventually.
Mariota has had a few really bad seasons in a row, but his talent didn’t just disappear. A change of scenery could help him realize his full potential. Even if he doesn’t ever start, it was smart for the Raiders to bring in some competition. How Carr reacts will be very telling.