This time of the year rumors and opinions begin to swirl as NFL teams like the Las Vegas Raiders prepare for the NFL Combine and NFL Draft. A Derek Carr trrade has been mentioned this season so we explore the latest.
We’re less than a week away from the NFL Scouting Combine, which is more than just an extensive job interview for prospects who want to impress potential employers. In Indianapolis, team reps gather and talk business and the chatter around their teams reaches a feverish pitch. According to Las Vegas Review-Journal‘s Vincent Bonsignore, a Derek Carr trade from the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback will be a hot topic of conversation this year.
Before diving into Bonsignore’s tweet that set Raiders Twitter ablaze Tuesday, understand the buzz around a Derek Carr trade doesn’t come out of thin air. There’s a logical reason for his report—one that we all should’ve saw coming a mile away.
What’s the Latest Rumor?
According to Bonsignore, teams will “inquire” about Carr’s availability:
Some aggregate sports outlets interpreted the above tweet incorrectly. Bonsignore doesn’t suggest the Raiders have placed Carr on the trade block with an auction tag attached to his jersey. He states other clubs will approach team brass about the quarterback’s trade price.
Again, it doesn’t mean a Derek Carr trade is what the Raiders are seeking.
Bonsignore responded to his original tweet with a clarification:
After ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Raiders’ interest in quarterback Tom Brady, we should’ve expected teams to ask, “what about Carr?” Obviously, a move for the former means a corresponding transaction involving the latter. In NFL circles, this is called doing your due diligence.
The Raiders would listen to Derek Carr trade proposals, but that’s completely different from initiating the calls, which isn’t the tone of the latest Carr rumor.
Trade Chain Reaction Starts with Tom Brady
Let’s examine the potential for offseason trade chaos on the way to Las Vegas. If the Raiders were able to land Brady, Gruden and Mayock could revisit the conversations with other teams about Carr.
The Raiders are reportedly willing to go all in on Brady, but who else deserves that treatment? Drew Brees announced he’s returning to the New Orleans Saints. Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston and Philip Rivers are all set to hit the open market. Let’s briefly break down the four veteran signal-callers.
One can argue, Gruden would covet Tannehill’s mobility, but the Tennessee Titans have no reason to move on from him, following a trip to the AFC Championship Game.
Winston had LASIK surgery. Will the procedure completely cure his turnover-prone play? That’s a risky investment for a head coach with a disdain for giving the ball away.
The Raiders defense had possibly its best performance against Rivers, intercepting three of his passes and sacking him five times in Week 10. This past season, he logged his lowest touchdown rate (3.9 percent) as a full-time starter and 20 interceptions. The 38-year-old isn’t mobile. Now, he’s a turnover-machine—hard pass.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Teddy Bridgewater could command $30 million annually, which is a steep price for a quarterback who’s played 15 games, starting in six of them, since the 2015 campaign. Keep in mind, he’s not the most mobile signal-caller either.
Other than Brady, or possibly Tannehill, it’s difficult to imagine the Raiders going all in on any other veteran quarterback as a starter. Don’t expect Mayock and Gruden to deal Carr without a plan in place to start someone ready to take over the huddle. It’s in the team’s best interest to come into Vegas with a competitive squad.
In short, if the Raiders trade Carr, that would likely be the second domino after acquiring Brady. That’s an unlikely scenario.
If Mayock and Gruden pull off a trade, expect them to recoup a second-round pick and possibly a middle- or late-round selection in a deal. Carr improved between the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. He also logged a career-best 63.7 QBR this past season. By the way, the three-time Pro Bowler has only missed two regular-season games in six years.
On the flip side, Carr doesn’t have any playoff experience because he broke his fibula during the Raiders’ 12-4 campaign in 2016. He’s only eclipsed 30 touchdown passes in one out of his six years. That’s an indication the signal-caller needs a strong ground attack to complement his arm.
So, teams are unlikely to give up a first-rounder for a quarterback that hasn’t necessarily put the offense and team on his back in recent seasons, but a second-rounder seems like a logical starting point in trade talks.
What to Expect in the Coming Weeks
We just saw the tip of the iceberg in terms of forthcoming Carr trade rumors. The combine starts February 23rd and runs through March 2nd.
In that period, teams with question marks at quarterback, like the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, may come up in conversation. Don’t be surprised if the Miami Dolphins, through their senior personnel executive Reggie McKenzie, inquire about Carr. He selected the Fresno State product in the second round of the 2014 draft as the Raiders general manager.
Ironically, the Buccaneers, Colts and Dolphins all play indoors or in warm-weather Florida, which is a sticking point after Carr faced criticism for his performances in colder temperatures this past season.
Raiders fans know rumors can spin out of control. Last year, Gruden, at some point, grew infatuated with every top signal-caller in the 2019 draft class, including Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock. Those reports came about after the team brain trust called Carr the “franchise quarterback.”
This year is a bit different though. Schefter’s report about Brady shows the Raiders will legitimately consider their options.
Gruden has a track record of working with veteran signal-callers, but don’t push Carr out of the Vegas picture amid speculation. Barring a resounding “yes” from Brady closer to the start of free agency, the Raiders’ incumbent quarterback remains the frontrunner to open the 2020 campaign under center, for now.