It’s been a polarizing season for Derek Carr. He led the Las Vegas Raiders to a 5-2 record to start the season and looked like an MVP candidate. After that strong start, Carr and the Raiders lost three straight games and he didn’t play well. A blowout loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11 led to many fans calling for him to get benched.
Carr didn’t get down on himself and threw for 373 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers in an overtime win over the Dallas Cowboys. It was exactly the type of game that he needed to get things back on track. While opinions on the quarterback have been varied for years, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd has consistently been high on him. He believes that Carr’s performance against the Cowboys proved that he is a franchise quarterback.
“This is a great example of what a franchise quarterback does,” Cowherd said of Carr on The Herd. “[The Raiders] have an interim coach, they had a tragedy in their organization, they lost another star corner, they’ve had some chaos, the franchise has moved, and Derek Carr … not every weekend … but on occasion can say ‘I’m missing my star tight end, I’ve got an interim coach,’ and Derek is unstoppable.”
Cowherd acknowledges that Carr isn’t among the elite quarterbacks that put up big numbers every week but the analyst believes that he is at least at the same level that Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is.
“Derek’s not going to do it like Aaron [Rodgers] every weekend, for those who knock him, go look at the time,” Cowherd continued. “[Matthew] Stafford right now has got some chaos, it’s a disaster. Derek Carr and Matt Stafford. One is considered A+ and one is like ‘I don’t know.’ I don’t see the gap like everybody else. I think Derek is a tremendous talent.”
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Carr Showing off Arm Talent This Year
Carr is certainly not a bad quarterback and doesn’t deserve to be benched for Marcus Mariota. In fact, he leads the entire NFL with 3,414 passing yards. He’s easily the best quarterback the Raiders have had since Rich Gannon and could even be one of the 10 best in the NFL right now.
At this point, it’s obvious that he has elite arm talent. He leads the NFL with seven touchdown passes of 20+ yards, according to Pro Football Focus. He is at his best when he’s throwing the ball downfield. When the Raiders offense starts to grow stale, it’s because Carr starts to rely on short passes. If he can continue to keep airing the ball out, the team’s offense should be in a good position to finish the season strong.
Contract Extension Looms for Carr
Cowherd believes that Carr is a franchise quarterback but it remains to be seen if the Raiders feel the same way. He has one more year on his contract after this season. Typically, franchise quarterbacks don’t even make it to the last year of their contract before getting an extension.
These next several weeks will mean a lot for Carr. If he can keep playing at a high level and lead the Raiders to a playoff berth, he’ll almost certainly get an extension. If the team fails to reach the playoffs once again and his play is lackluster, his future in Las Vegas could grow murky.