Is Derek Carr on his way out of Vegas? Image: Getty Images
The Las Vegas Raiders’ 2022 offseason filled fans with optimism for the team’s future. After acquiring All-Pro receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers in March, the Raiders signed franchise quarterback Derek Carr to a three-year extension. The two played together in college and expected that their connection from then would endure despite years of separation. Their chemistry, combined with the offensive thinking of new head coach Josh McDaniels and the addition of full-back Chandler Jones, made the Raiders a secret contender to defeat the intimidating AFC West. Even with six games scheduled against Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson (back when everyone thought he was a deciding factor), there were some people who believed Vegas could steal the AFC West title.
HA! Wow! They really thought the Raiders were going to compete this year! You are such a hopeless optimist! Everyone, point and laugh at the delusional Raiders fan!
The Raiders are 6-9, and while there’s still a slim chance the Raiders will make the playoffs, they cut their losses and turn to Jarrett Stidham to help the team through the rest of the regular season.
Is Derek Carr on his way out?
With rumors surrounding Carr’s future with the Raiders ahead of the 2022 season, this development has led many fans to believe Carr could be out in the upcoming offseason. The Raiders are in a very difficult money situation. They’ve got tons of money locked up in Adams, Carr and McDaniels, and if they really don’t think they can win with Carr under middle, then there’s no point in keeping him. Despite signing Carr for a three-year extension, the Raiders gave themselves an off, a three-day post-Super Bowl window in which the team could cut Carr and lose just $5 million.
That’s in all likelihood why the Raiders benched Carr for the last two games. If he gets injured in either of those last two games, the Raiders will owe him $40.4 million over the next two years. If they cut it anyway, it would only save them a lot of money.
Carr has long been considered an average to slightly above average quarterback in the NFL. While he may not be the franchise-changing talent that Matthew Stafford was for the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, he could be someone like Kirk Cousins, who provided stability at the quarterback position for the Minnesota Vikings for several years, even if the results were. not as great as the team had hoped. For teams that have had bad luck in recent years, that stability cannot be underestimated. And who knows? Perhaps Carr could be the missing piece that pushes a team over the edge toward the playoffs. But which teams could that be?
Which NFL teams could use Derek Carr?
With a quarterback class this loaded in 2023, any team with a big draft pick would probably take their luck with a comparatively cheap rookie to Carr. The Texans will draft a quarterback. The Colts, Falcons, Lions and Panthers are all teams that might be in the market for a young quarterback, all of whom are also picking ahead of the Raiders. You’re probably out of the running. Who’s left?
The New York Jets
The first team that comes to mind is the New York Jets. Their quarterback problems have been the talk of the town for most of the season, and with the Jets appearing to be over the Zach Wilson experiment, opting for a safer, more experienced quarterback option could be a viable solution. The Jets have a talented receiving corps, a very talented backfield, and a solid O-line. Robert Saleh has proven to be a capable head coach, and Carr’s veteran status could well suit a team that lacks a real seasoned offensive leader. Sure, they have Joe Flacco, but Flacco can no longer produce at the level Carr can.
With the Jets’ tremendous defense, Carr could be a viable quarterback to carry Gang Green. Saleh, who descends from the Kyle Shanahan tree, could potentially create a similar system that creates explosive offense without the quarterback having to do much. Obviously, that doesn’t negate the need for a good quarterback (just look at her offense now), but as Carr ages, a lack of confidence in mobility and consistent quick throws could lead to a good coupling while still giving Carr ample opportunity to field youngsters like Wilson and Moore.
The Seattle Seahawks
Other teams to call Carr on include the New York Giants and the Seattle Seahawks. Beginning in Seattle, although both the front office and Geno Smith have expressed interest in an extension, an agreement has still not been reached. Reports suggest that contract talks between both parties won’t start until after the season, but I have a feeling we would have heard more rumors of a deal leading into the latter stages of the regular season if that were indeed the case wasn’t like that. Should Seattle fail to reach an agreement with Smith, Carr would be a good, if not expensive, replacement. Obviously, head coach Pete Carroll knows how to make the most of his quarterbacks. He did it with Russell Wilson and he does it with Smith.
Maybe Carr and Carroll are a match made in heaven. Carr would be given the opportunity to play in a weaker division with arguably his best receiving corps since Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. The Hawks have a young, up-and-coming O-line and one of the most talented young halfbacks in the league. I haven’t even mentioned Noah Fant who still has the skills to be a high-end tight end in the NFL. Of course, that all depends on Seattle not reaching an agreement with Smith.
The New York Giants
As for the Giants, since Andrew Thomas became one of the top tackles in the NFL this year, the Giants might consider putting their money on a pocket passer like Carr. Though Carr wouldn’t be offered the same talent as a receiver he has in Vegas, he’s had success this year with the likes of Mack Hollins. Say what you will about the Giants’ receiving corps, but Darius Slayton is about the same level as Hollins, with more advantages than a deep threat.
Carr has also thrived when he’s had a consistent running game. Giants’ halfback Saquon Barkley was recovering from injuries early in his career and would be the best and most explosive pass-catching option Carr has ever had. Carr may not be the talent of Jalen Hurts or Dak Prescott, but the Giants have tenaciously held out in the crowded NFC East with Daniel Jones at quarterback. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Giants stayed with Jones, but the team should at least call the Raiders.
The Saints of New Orleans
There are some other fine players like the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, and Baltimore Ravens (assuming Lamar Jackson doesn’t re-sign), but each of them has certain caveats that make me question their viability as a Carr buyer in to ask question . The Saints are in Cap Hell and have been for years. Sure, they’ve always found ways around these issues, but Carr’s price tag would likely be too high for the team. Additionally, rumors surrounding Tom Brady-Sean Payton have recently started swirling in Louisiana. i love karr I’d much rather have Brady though. When those options present themselves, there’s no doubt the Saints would brush Carr aside and never look back.
The Atlanta Falcons
As I said before, the Falcons have a big draft pick. Even if rookie Desmond Ridder is just beginning his career, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Falcons put someone like Will Levis or Anthony Richardson in the top 10. Even if they don’t, the Falcons would likely be more interested in riding with Ridder until a more long-term solution is found. Carr might be decent in the short term, but given the Falcons’ troubles everywhere else, Carr wouldn’t push the Falcons into playoff relevance. That will make Carr a much less desirable option.
The Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been in quarterback purgatory since Luck retired. After Rivers, Wentz and Ryan failed to live up to expectations, I highly doubt the team would be willing to take care of an aging vet again. You have an early draft pick. You should definitely pick a quarterback. Maybe they could enlist Carr as an insurance policy or mentor for their rookie QB, but with the Colts likely in the top five, I’d be shocked if Carr gets a serious shot at becoming a long-term starter at Indy.
The Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore would be a good fit, as would anyone with John Harbaugh, but I still believe Lamar Jackson’s re-signing is inevitable. If Jackson doesn’t stay with Baltimore due to disaster, Carr could be an option, but given the Ravens’ tendency to place guys like RGIII, Tyler Huntley, and other mobile quarterbacks with similar athletics to Jackson behind Jackson, I doubt the Ravens will would be interested in a slower, pocket-oriented quarterback like Carr. Of course, the Ravens and John Harbaugh have had past successes with guys like Joe Flacco, but the team switched to its current attacking style in 2019 when Jackson became the starter and promptly blew the league out of the water. The team saw the potential of a fast-paced ground-based offensive and have been milking that cow ever since. I doubt they want to go backwards.
Is Derek Carr a Super Bowl Quarterback? Probably not. However, he has shown signs of being a high-end starter in the past and as many pundits and former players believe is doing Josh McDaniels Carr a disservice. Carr is better than he played in 2022. With the right coaching, he could perhaps re-emerge as a Pro Bowl quarterback with a high football IQ. Maybe that’s enough for a team to take a risk.
There’s also a chance the Raiders will decide to stick with Carr. After all, the San Francisco 49ers pulled out of Jimmy Garoppolo’s training camp, and he stayed on the team. Given the Raiders’ cash situation, I think it’s unlikely, but we’ve seen stranger things happen. Carr isn’t done in the league, but his time in Vegas seems to be coming to an end. To a new chapter elsewhere.