Quarterback Derek Carr could soon be a realistic option for the Chicago Bears according to the latest news coming out of Las Vegas. Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal dropped a bit of a bomb Tuesday evening when he reported that multiple NFL insiders think the Raiders will take inquiries about Carr’s availability.
Multiple @NFL sources indicate to me that Derek Carr is a hot commodity. And it is expected that multiple teams will pursue him via trade That could lead to the @Raiders pursuing Deshaun Watson in a blockbuster trade. My story:https://t.co/rnxHJK9KC0
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) February 3, 2021
Apparently, Raiders coach Jon Gruden may join half the league by throwing his hat in the ring to try to acquire Deshaun Watson — and if that’s the case, he will have to move his current starting quarterback. Enter the Bears. Should Las Vegas decide to move on from Carr, there will be plenty of teams interested — and you can expect the Bears to be one of them.
Chicago was interested last offseason and they are again. Big report: https://t.co/cjc4RDuJL0
— Brad Spielberger (@PFF_Brad) February 3, 2021
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Bonsignore Pegs Bears as Possible Destination for Carr
Gruden is 19-29 in his three years as head coach of the Raiders, and he may be looking to make a big splash to get over the hump and finally have his first winning season as the team’s coach since signing a 10-year, $100 million contract in 2018.
According to Bonsignore, the possibility of attaining a player like Watson has Gruden and company ready to enter the fray:
Increased demand for his services, insiders say, could create a scenario in which a three-team trade allows the Raiders to acquire Watson. … For that to happen, the Raiders would have to receive two first-round picks for Carr from a team other than the Texans, which they would then package with their own first-rounders in 2021 and 2022 to present a compelling offer of four first-round picks to the Texans for Watson, who has reportedly asked be traded. … To add Watson, the Raiders will need a number of factors to fall into place, although industry insiders believe a path could emerge. It begins with the pursuit of Carr by multiple teams. Among the clubs that could get involved are the Colts, Bears, Patriots and the Washington Football Team.
Carr finished with 4,103 yards passing (11th in the NFL), 27 touchdowns (11th) and nine interceptions in 2020. He earned an 83.9 passing grade from PFF last season (and an 84.7 offensive grade), and the 29-year-old quarterback has earned a passing grade of 69.9 or better in five of his seven seasons.
By comparison, Mitch Trubisky has topped that mark once, when he received a 71.2 passing grade, and the current Bears quarterback hasn’t received an offensive grade higher than a 66.4.
Could the Bears Afford Derek Carr?
Carr finished with career-highs in passing yards (4,103) yards per completion (11.8) and quarterback rating (101.4) in 2020, and he has finished with over 4,000 passing yards in each of his last three seasons. The Bears have never had a 4,000-yard passer in the regular season once, so anyone thinking Carr wouldn’t be an immediate upgrade at the position isn’t thinking clearly.
Erik Kramer has the #Bears all time record with 3,838 passing yards in a season (1995). Derek Carr has played 7 years with the Raiders while averaging 3,842 passing yards per season.
— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) February 3, 2021
He’s also affordable. Carr signed a five year, $125+ million contract extension with the Raiders in 2017. Per Over the Cap, his cap hit in 2021 is $22.125 million, and $19.77 million in 2022. He also has no guaranteed money left, so his contract is friendly enough to where the Bears could easily afford him with a few cuts (releasing Jimmy Graham alone frees up $10 million).
Carr is still close friends with Bears superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack, and the Bears are shopping for a quarterback this offseason, so Chicago would likely be a favorable destination for the current Raiders signal-caller.
The biggest question mark in all of this is Bonsignore’s assertion that the team trying to acquire Carr may have to deal two first-round picks to Vegas to get him. The Bears currently have the 20th pick in the first round this year, which alone would be reasonable, but an added first-rounder in 2021? That raises a few eyebrows. Whether the three-time Pro Bowler is worth that remains to be seen, as does Chicago’s level of interest in him. Keep those seatbelts fastened, Bears fans. The wild ride continues.