Derek Carr’s future with the Las Vegas Raiders appeared to be clear after the team gave him a contract extension in the offseason. He was the franchise quarterback of the future barring a disaster. Well, 13 games into the season, the Raiders are 5-8 and have blown four double-digit leads en route to losses. That would certainly qualify as a disaster.
This season’s failures aren’t all on Carr. The team has plenty of deficiencies everywhere from a bad defense to questionable playcalling from head coach Josh McDaniels. However, Carr hasn’t played well enough to secure his future. Thanks to how his contract is written, the Raiders can easily cut him for a small dead cap hit once the season ends. This has led to speculation that the team might move on from the quarterback in the offseason.
This isn’t the first Carr’s future is in question and it likely won’t be the last. He had a chance to discuss his thought process.
“To be honest, during the season I don’t,” Carr said Wednesday when asked if he’s thinking of his future with the Raiders. “I’ve always tried my best to — as I’ve gotten older in my career — just eliminate all of those things. … Whenever you have a bad stretch of games or a losing stretch of games or anything like that, that stuff’s going to happen. And so, for me, I don’t. I should’ve been traded for eight years now, you know? It is what it is. We have passionate fans; they’re passionate people that they just want to see us win. And so, when we don’t, obviously they get mad. And they think, ‘Oh, then we got to fix something,’ and stuff like that.
“And you can understand that as fans, but this is the most complex game in the world. So, sometimes you just got to understand our opinions really don’t matter. There’s facts that you’re trying to learn from Coach and we’re trying to do the systems right and you just try your best as an athlete just to keep your eye on what you’re supposed to do and what you can control. That’s how I’ve always been. So, as I’ve gotten older, it’s been, I would say definitely easier because once you’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times. I was supposed to be gone, like I said, eight years ago, and I’m still here.”
How Carr Can Secure Job
The fact that general manager Dave Ziegler made sure to give the Raiders an out in case Carr isn’t the right quarterback going forward, the fact that they gave him a contract at all shows that they had some faith in him. Carr is a good quarterback but just hasn’t been consistent this season. Part of that is due to injuries to tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
Waller and Renfrow appear to be set to return this week so the Raiders will finally have their full offense healthy. They face some tough defenses down the stretch so this will be the perfect time to see how good this offense can be when it’s healthy. If Carr puts up big numbers to finish the season, he should be safe. If he plays as he did against the Los Angeles Rams, he’ll almost certainly be gone.
Raiders Have Options in Offseason
One thing that works against Carr is the fact that there will be some good quarterbacks available this offseason. Two of them also happen to have strong connections to McDaniels. Tom Brady is the obvious quarterback to watch. He has a great relationship with the coach and they won six Super Bowls together. He’ll be a free agent and has shown interest in coming to Las Vegas in the past.
Jimmy Garoppolo could also be someone to keep an eye on. He doesn’t have the arm talent of Carr and continues to deal with injury issues, but he’s close with McDaniels and understands his way of doing things. He’d be a good bridge quarterback for the Raiders to have if they decide to address the position early in the draft.