Don’t look now but the Las Vegas Raiders are playoff contenders again. Getting to the playoffs this season could drastically change how owner Mark Davis evaluates the franchise after the season. However, it’s still going to be tough to pull off as they have to beat a good Indianapolis Colts team and a solid Los Angeles Chargers team to ensure that it happens.
If the Raiders can’t win these last two games, Davis will likely clean house and bring in a new coaching staff. That would make Derek Carr’s future with the franchise murky. Some coaches may like having a capable starting quarterback when taking the other job while others could want a fresh start at the team’s most important position. If Las Vegas chooses to move on from Carr, there will be plenty of interest in his abilities.
One team that could have a need at quarterback is the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson toyed with the idea of getting traded last offseason and it seems more likely he gets dealt after the disastrous 2021 campaign. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes that the Raiders could send Carr to Seattle for a second-round pick after Wilson gets traded to the New Orleans Saints:
Carr has been a consistently above-average quarterback over the past few seasons, even as the Raiders have turned over their offensive line and cycled through options at receiver. He isn’t the problem for Las Vegas, but after years of disappointing seasons from the defense, it might be time for the organization to pursue a different sort of roster. With Carr entering the final year of his deal in 2022, the Raiders might prefer to get a solid draft pick for him and go in a different direction.
A second-round pick seems low for Carr considering Pro Football Focus recently speculated that he could get the Raiders two first-round picks and a third-round pick. Barnwell is much lower on the quarterback’s value.
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Jameis Winston the Next Raiders QB?
Not only did Barnwell propose a trade partner for Carr, but he also revealed who he believes the next Raiders quarterback and head coach would be in this proposal. He believes that hiring Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich as head coach and then signing former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston could be the play for the silver and black:
Winston worked under Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich when the two were in Tampa Bay, and with Leftwich linked to multiple head-coaching jobs this offseason, a reunion between the two could make sense. Former Raiders owner Al Davis spent his entire life in love with the vertical passing game, and I suspect he instilled some of that affection in his son, Mark. A one-year, $16-million deal would give them the upside of signing a top-10 quarterback, while a no-franchise clause would ensure Winston gets paid after 2022 if he keeps up his form after the knee injury.
There’s a lot to unpack here. Leftwich is an interesting head coaching prospect. Tampa Bay’s offense has been excellent over the last two seasons and is coming off a Super Bowl win. However, it’s hard to know if the offense has played well because of his coaching or simply because they have the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady. Davis may not want to take a risk to find out with so many more established candidates available.
Winston showed major improvement this season as he threw 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions for the Saints before getting hurt. He’ll be one of the most interesting free agent quarterbacks this offseason. If the Raiders want to trade Carr, draft a rookie and sign Winston to start while the rookie develops, it wouldn’t be the worst scenario for the team.
Raiders Could Do Much Better Than What Barnwell Is Proposing
While some of what Barnwell is proposing makes sense, there are a lot of issues here. First of all, Carr is worth more than a second-round pick. If that’s all the Raiders can get for him, they shouldn’t trade him. Also, if they’re going to deal with Seattle, why not try to land Wilson in the process. Carr and two first-round picks for Wilson could be fair for both sides depending on how much the Seahawks like the Raiders quarterback.
Winston would be a decent replacement for Carr but he’s not an upgrade. Getting a second-round pick for Carr just to replace him with Winston isn’t even close to a worthwhile deal for the Raiders. Lastly, Leftwich could end up being a great coach but Winston threw 30 interceptions during his one season under him. That pairing didn’t work out then and there’s no reason to believe it will work out now.