The Las Vegas Raiders are very close to building a really good team but they’ve still got some work to do. By most accounts, it hasn’t been Derek Carr‘s fault for the team’s struggles. Despite that fact, many have speculated over the last few years that the Raiders were going to move on.
Carr had a very strong year in 2020 but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. The Raiders have already been connected to Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers. It now looks like we can add Matthew Stafford to the list. The longtime quarterback for the Detroit Lions is not going to return to the team in 2021 and will be traded. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler spoke to a number of NFL executives and came away with the notion that the Raiders were among the teams that could trade for Stafford:
Jon Gruden has long been enamored by Stafford’s arm, and the Raiders like to insert themselves into potential deals. They want to be active.
Clearly the Raiders could stick with Derek Carr, who, like Stafford, signed his extension in 2017. But including Carr or Marcus Mariota in a deal would give Detroit a good option at the position.
That $17 million cap deficit could be an issue.
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Gruden Is a Fan of Stafford
It is true that Gruden likes Stafford’s game. He once called the quarterback a “nuisance,” per Detroit Free Press. He’s also referred to Stafford as a “superstar.” Clearly, Gruden has a lot of respect for the quarterback.
Stafford is probably one of the more underappreciated quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s only been to one Pro Bowl in 2014, despite throwing for 41 touchdowns and 5,038 yards in 2011. He’s got a rocket for an arm and doesn’t throw a ton of interceptions. His main issue is that he’s been stuck in Detroit throughout his career. They’ve only made it to the playoffs three times in his 12 years with the team and they were unable to win any games during those playoff runs. Perhaps moving to a more stable franchise would give Stafford a boost.
This Trade Isn’t Going to Happen
While Stafford could go to a team like the Chicago Bears or Indianapolis Colts and likely thrive, a move to the Raiders makes no sense. The only reason Las Vegas could sour on Derek Carr is that he’s only led the team to the playoffs once. Stafford isn’t exactly known for his ability to lead teams to the postseason.
Also, there’s no reason to believe Stafford is a better quarterback than Carr. The Lions quarterback threw for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 2020. Carr threw for 4,103 yards and 27 touchdowns with nine interceptions. The two men almost have identical stats. Interestingly enough, both men also have 16 more career losses than they do wins. However, Carr is familiar with the Raiders’ system, he’s younger and makes less money.
There doesn’t really appear to be any benefit for Las Vegas to swing a trade for Stafford. Traded for Deshaun Watson or Aaron Rodgers would be obvious upgrades but Stafford isn’t an upgrade over Carr.