The Las Vegas Raiders finished the 2019 season with a 7-9 record and will be watching the playoffs from home for the second straight year under Jon Gruden. As the Raiders head into the offseason, it’s time for Gruden and the Raiders to give up on their quarterback, Derek Carr.
When the Raiders selected Carr in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the expectation was that he would become the long-term answer at quarterback. It appeared that way when Carr put together two impressive campaigns in 2015 and 2016.
In his second season in the NFL, the six-year veteran threw for 3,987 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. The following season, he put together an MVP-caliber year.
The Fresno State product ended the 2016 season with 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Unfortunately, an injury caused Carr to be sidelined for the final week of the season and the team’s wild card game.
After the 2016 season, Oakland signed Carr to a five-year, $125 million contract extension. When he received the contract, it appeared that the extension was well-earned due to what his potential could be with the Raiders.
However, his play on the field has deteriorated since he received a lucrative contract. Over the last three seasons, Carr has averaged only 3,866 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions per season.
Above all, the Raiders haven’t won more than seven games in any of those seasons with Carr under center.
While Carr isn’t an unserviceable quarterback, he isn’t one that elevates the Raiders to a contender in the AFC West.
In addition, Carr hasn’t fared well versus the Kansas City Chiefs in his career. He’s gone 2-10 against the division rivals and has been outscored 354-198 in those games. The Chiefs have dominated the division in recent years, and Carr hasn’t shown he’s capable of beating them.
Considering that, why should the Raiders bother keeping him around much longer? The goal for Gruden and the Raiders is to become a legitimate contender in the AFC, correct?
With the Raiders making a move to Las Vegas in 2020, they’re going to be expected to win immediately. In light of that, Carr has seemingly reached his ceiling and isn’t getting much better moving forward.
Therefore, it would make perfect sense for the Raiders to look for a replacement at quarterback this offseason. The Raiders are going into the upcoming draft with two first-round picks. Furthermore, the Raiders have the 12th and 19th overall picks in the first round.
Upon looking at Carr’s contract, the Raiders can plausibly move on from Carr after the beginning of June. If the Raiders choose to release or trade him after June 1st, the team will incur a dead-cap penalty of only $2.5 million, per Over The Cap. At the same time, the team would save $19 million in cap space.
With that being said, the Raiders may have no choice but to start Derek Carr in 2020. But if a better opportunity presents itself, Gruden and the front office shouldn’t waste any time making a change at quarterback.