Despite posting solid numbers in his six seasons with the Oakland Raiders, the latest rumors suggest that Derek Carr’s time as the team’s starting quarterback might soon be coming to an end.
In a report published by CBS Sports on Sunday, Jason La Canfora cited several anonymous sources familiar with the situation, writing that Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is expected to “dissect” the quarterbacks from the 2020 draft class in hopes of upgrading the position. This, as explained, could be the case despite the challenges Carr faced this season, including wide receiver Antonio Brown’s tumultuous departure from Oakland ahead of the 2019 campaign, as well as injuries suffered by various teammates.
As further noted, Gruden has long been a “champion” of the athletic signal-callers that have become more prevalent in the college game and may likely target such a quarterback if he decides to move on from Carr as rumored.
“I don’t believe Jon sees enough high-end upside there, and at this point you would have to think Carr is what he is,” said one source close to the Raiders coach, as quoted by CBS Sports.
According to La Canfora, there haven’t been any issues regarding Carr’s relationship with Gruden. However, his sources pointed out that there are concerns about how the 28-year-old quarterback doesn’t “[extend] plays with his legs” when the opportunity to scramble arises. While Carr has been very accurate with his passing this season, La Canfora added that the former Fresno State star is not known as a “gunslinger or a big-time playmaker” and is thereby seen to lack two traits that Gruden covets in his starting quarterbacks.
Per his player page on the NFL website, Carr has put up good numbers on paper in the 2019 season for the Raiders, throwing 20 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions for 3,663 yards. He has also connected on 71.1 percent of his passes and tallied a QB rating of 101.1 — both career-highs with only one game remaining in regular-season play. But even with Oakland defeating the Los Angeles Chargers in their Week 16 game on Sunday, the Raiders’ 7-8 record — and several other variables — makes them a long shot to sneak into the playoffs, as noted by Heavy. In any case, that could point to a 2020 draft where the Raiders will make their first picks in the middle of the first round.
Talking about the incoming rookie quarterbacks the Raiders could target as a potential replacement for Carr, CBS Sports mentioned that Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa “embodies many of the characteristics” of the signal-callers Gruden prefers on his teams. It’s still unclear how Tagovailoa’s hip issues may affect his draft stock, but the outlet speculated that it “would not be difficult” to move Carr, perhaps in hopes of trading up in a draft that might have “at least” four first-round quarterbacks.