The Las Vegas Raiders have been in a downward spiral in recent seasons after making an appearance in the NFL playoffs during the 2021 campaign, thanks in no small part to the play of then-quarterback Derek Carr, who currently plays for the New Orleans Saints. At that time, Carr looked like one of the best young quarterbacks anywhere in the NFL, and the Raiders were able to punch their ticket to the postseason thanks to a wild victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the last game of the season.

After that, however, the team made several organizational changes, including the departure of coach Jon Gruden and the insertion of Josh McDaniels, who has since been fired, as the team's next head coach. Carr was let go by the Raiders in 2022 and, as previously mentioned, has since joined the Saints, where he has experienced mixed-at-best results, failing to lead that team into the postseason so far.

One person who has a theory on why Carr hasn't exactly panned out to his immense previous expectations is none other than former Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, who recently theorized that Gruden played an integral role in Carr's development, and that Gruden's departure may have significantly impeded that progress.

“I thought Jon did an unbelievable job with Derek Carr,” Mayock said on a recent episode of “3 & Out, per Austin Boyd of “Since Jon left, Derek has gone downhill.”

Mayock was also asked if the Raiders ever considered trading Carr during his tenure with the organization.

“No,” said Mayock. “The reality is that there’s always going to be X number of franchise quarterbacks. … One group below that is another five or six guys that I think you can win with. … I felt strongly that each year with Jon [Gruden], Derek got better and by the end of the ’21 season, whether you were a Derek Carr guy or not, I think you’d have to say he was a top 12 or 13 quarterback.”

A rocky relationship

Ironically enough, despite his relatively short tenure with the franchise, Derek Carr is still the Raiders' all-time leader in passing yards as well as passing touchdowns, despite never having won a playoff game with the team. Las Vegas has since moved onto a carousel of other starting quarterbacks, including perhaps most notably Jimmy Garoppollo (now a member of the Los Angeles Rams), but none of them have come close to replicating the production that Carr provided during his tenure.

For his part, it seems that at least during his time with the Raiders, Mike Mayock never fully gave up hope on Derek Carr, elaborating on why he never seriously entertained any trade offers for the quarterback.

“Somebody can give you a first-round pick but if you don’t have an answer for who’s getting under center next year, that first round pick isn’t doing you any good. … We never got an answer satisfactory of how we would replace Derek,” Mayock said. “And from our perspective, we were getting better every year.”

As previously mentioned, Carr is now a member of the Saints.