Derek Carr

AFC West Notes: Joyner, Broncos, Chubb

It’s been a busy offseason for Derek Carr. The Raiders quarterback moved his family to Las Vegas, and the 29-year-old recently announced that his wife is pregnant. Despite those major life changes and the limitations of a virtual offseason, Carr believes that he and his teammate are entirely focused on football.

“I feel like we’re really working hard, I feel like we’re getting a lot done,” Carr said during an appearance on NFL Network (via Kyle Martin of the team’s website). “We’ve got some young guys, some new guys that are going to play big roles for us. So, I feel like this has been really good for us, this is the best we can do right now.”

Carr also reacted to the news that Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will host the 2021 Pro Bowl.

“I’ve been to three Pro Bowls, it’s blessing, it’s cool, but I’m trying to do some other things,” Carr said. “I’m trying to play in the Super Bowl, I’m trying to win the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl is fun and all that stuff, it’s exciting and I think it’s great for the community, I think it’s a great thing for fans to see some of their favorite players up close and personal, and not just on Twitter or Instagram. You know me, I’ve got different plans this year.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC West…

  • While Lamarcus Joyner is currently slotted in as the Raiders‘ starting slot cornerback, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes that the coaching staff intends to give the 29-year-old some reps at safety. After inking a four-year, $42MM deal last offseason, Joyner was inconsistent during his first season with the Raiders, finishing with 49 tackles and three passes defended in 14 games (1o starts).
  • Following news that Broncos safety Kareem Jackson had tested positive for COVID-19, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that none of his teammates have recently tested positive. 40 Broncos players recently participated in the Denver protests, including Jackson, so there was some concern that the safety may have passed the coronavirus to other members of the organization. Broncos star Von Miller revealed back in April that he had tested positive.
  • It’s been less than a year since Bradley Chubb tore his ACL, but Troy Renck of 7News in Denver writes that the Broncos linebacker has started running. According to the reporter, there’s optimism that the former fifth-overall pick will be ready to go come the start of the regular season.

Details On Raiders’ Pursuit Of Tom Brady, Quarterback Situation

Tom Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer now and that’s settled, but we’re starting to learn more about the process that ended in him landing there. It’s been reported that the Chargers and Buccaneers were the only two teams to make concrete offers, and that Brady also had the option of returning to New England. But while some have said the Raiders were never that serious in their pursuit, Las Vegas was indeed “sniffing around Brady as late as this week,” sources told Vic Tafur of The Athletic.

While Tafur acknowledges that the Raiders never made an official offer to Brady, he writes that “some ballpark numbers were made known to him at some point.” Tafur also reports that the Raiders weren’t willing to spend the $50MM guaranteed the Bucs ended up giving over two years as the “game film the last two years just didn’t warrant that in the Raiders’ minds.”

Had Brady signaled to the Raiders that they were a “serious finalist,” they would’ve started shopping Derek Carr, Tafur writes. But while they were interested in adding the legendary Brady, that doesn’t mean they aren’t satisfied with Carr. Tafur writes that the team won’t be pursuing another veteran, and they won’t be making a surprise trade up in the draft to take a quarterback early.

Of course, the Raiders ended up signing Marcus Mariota in free agency, but Tafur doesn’t view him as a serious threat to Carr’s job. Instead he writes that many in the organization feel Carr deserves a third year in Jon Gruden’s system. Carr’s numbers certainly got better in his second year under Gruden, but the offense as a whole wasn’t great and Carr once again received a ton of criticism for being too risk-averse.

Carr and Gruden clashed on the sidelines a number of times and while they both downplayed the incidents, both Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock hedged instead of committing to him this offseason. Tafur no longer thinks the Raiders are considering Utah State’s Jordan Love with either of their first-round picks, so it sounds like Carr will be entering 2020 as the starter no matter what. How long his leash will be is an entirely different question.

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Latest On Raiders QB Derek Carr

The Raiders aren’t necessarily committed to Derek Carr. Raiders general manager Mike Mayock told reporters that they’d consider moving on from their quarterback if there’s a “chance to upgrade.”

“Derek played at a high level last season,” Mayock said (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). “I’m very happy with Derek. But as I’ve said before, we will evaluate every position on our roster and if there’s a chance to upgrade, we will look into that.”

We heard earlier this month that teams were preparing offers for the 28-year-old, but the Raiders were still determining how to proceed at the position. There have been rumbling that the Raiders plan to make a run at Tom Brady, but they won’t replace Carr with just any quarterback. Vic Tafur of The Athletic previous noted that he’s “not sure they see [Teddy] Bridgewater as an upgrade over Carr.” Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have continued to support Carr throughout their tenures with the organization, but it sounds like they’d be ready to move on if the right opportunity presents itself.

While Carr has yet to replicate the team and personal success of 2016, he’s still put up solid numbers over the past few years. He finished last season with career-highs in passing yards (4,054) and completion percentage (70.4) while tossing 21 touchdowns vs. eight interceptions.

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Teams To Inquire About Trading For Derek Carr?

One of the most interesting storylines to monitor during the 2020 offseason is what the Raiders do at quarterback. There have been some rumors as the team prepares to move to Las Vegas that they might not be entirely sold on Derek Carr, and for the first time we have some real reporting that other teams think the Raiders might be inclined to move on.

There is a “growing sense” within the league that teams are preparing to inquire about trading for Carr, according to Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic (Twitter link). However the Raiders are still looking at their available options before determining what to do with Carr, Vic Tafur of The Athletic cautions in a tweet. The last public comments from the Raiders on the situation came about a month ago, when GM Mike Mayock gave an interesting interview.

“As far as what the future holds, I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told you last year. About every position. And that is, my job is to evaluate every position and try and make us better. And if I can, I will, and if I can’t, I won’t. And that holds true at every position,” Mayock said of Carr at the time, very clearly hedging on his future with the team.

Of course, there have been reports that the Raiders plan to pursue Tom Brady. That’s still a bit of a long-shot though, and they might have to end up choosing between Carr and one of the second-tier available options. To that end, Tafur added in his tweet that he’s “not sure they see [Teddy] Bridgewater as an upgrade over Carr.”

It seems like things are still in flux, but that Carr playing elsewhere in 2020 is a very real possibility. Whatever happens, this offseason is shaping up to have the wildest game of musical chairs for quarterbacks in quite some time.

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Raiders GM Mike Mayock On Antonio Brown, Jon Gruden, Derek Carr

Antonio Brown‘s time with the Raiders didn’t go as planned, to put it mildly. Oakland traded a couple of picks to acquire him from the Steelers, and he never ended up playing a game in the silver and black. Brown got into a very public spat with Raiders GM Mike Mayock, reportedly threatening to punch him and calling him a “cracker.” Although head coach Jon Gruden has final say on personnel matters, Mayock still caught a lot of flak for his handling of the situation. Now in an interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Mayock reflected on the whole ordeal at length for the first time.

I put that on me,” Mayock said. “My anticipation was that he was coming off a situation in Pittsburgh where he wants to prove everybody wrong and he wants to ride into the Hall of Fame. That he was going to come in with Jon Gruden and Derek Carr and our offense and lead the way. … I really thought we were going to get the best out of Antonio Brown and we didn’t.”

The Raiders ended up cutting Brown on September 7th, a couple of days after the blowup in the locker room. “We weren’t able to get anything out of him. So, at the end of the day, in hindsight, we lost a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick, and I can’t tell you how much pain that causes me,” Mayock continued. Gruden initially welcomed Brown back into the locker room the day after the altercation, which led to some speculation that the coach had taken the player’s side over his GM’s, and that Mayock wasn’t long for the franchise.

Mayock denied there were any issues between him and Gruden, and he didn’t seem concerned about his job security. “Jon and I are good,” Mayock said. “Jon and I talk everything through.” The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas this offseason, and rumors have swirled that they could be in the market for a new quarterback as they make the transition. Mayock spoke positively of Carr, saying “Derek stepped forward in Year 2 under Jon Gruden,” but he also hedged.

As far as what the future holds, I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told you last year. About every position. And that is, my job is to evaluate every position and try and make us better. And if I can, I will, and if I can’t, I won’t. And that holds true at every position.” Spoken like a true GM. Carr was inconsistent once again this year, and it wouldn’t be a shock if the Raiders decide to make a splash at the position.

Mayock also talked about defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who the Raiders surprisingly drafted fourth overall last April. Ferrell got off to a slow start, and Mayock acknowledged as much. “I thought he was solid,” Mayock said. “Early in the year, we probably asked him to do too much. He had never played inside and he was splitting reps inside and outside. He lost weight, he was sick in London … those aren’t excuses, they’re facts.” 

“After London, when he got his weight back up, I thought the season began to build for him. We asked him to play one position and I thought he got better and better each week, and we’re excited about him,” he continued. The former NFL Network analyst also revealed that he thinks the impending move will help attract free agents. “There is definitely a buzz about our move into Las Vegas,” he said. “Could be one of the big stories of free agency.” The Raiders will be one of the most interesting teams to watch in 2020. 

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West Notes: Rams, Phillips, Suggs, Carr

The Rams have obviously been having a disappointing season, as they enter the final two weeks of the season with their playoff chances hanging by a thread the year after making a Super Bowl run. Anytime a team fails to meet expectations there’s the possibility for major changes, and it sounds like that could be the case in Los Angeles. Wade Phillips might be nearing the end of his time with the team, as Alex Marvez of Sirius XM NFL Radio tweets that he’s “hearing there’s a chance” Phillips doesn’t return for the 2020 season. Phillips, 72, has been the Rams’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, and was part of head coach Sean McVay’s inaugural staff.

The former Cowboys head coach has been coaching in the league since all the way back in 1976. Before joining forces with McVay he was the defensive coordinator in Denver, overseeing their vaunted ‘No Fly Zone’ secondary which won a Super Bowl in 2015. Marvez adds that Phillips is in the final year of his contract, and that if he were to depart then linebackers coach Joe Barry would be a “strong replacement candidate.” The Rams’ defense has had some notable meltdowns this season, like when they gave up 44 points to the Cowboys last week or 45 to the Ravens a month back, but they’ve also played quite well at times. The secondary has been better since trading for Jalen Ramsey, and they’ve given up 17 or fewer points in six of their last eight games. If Phillips does get the boot or chooses to leave on his own, he’d likely draw some interest from teams in search of a veteran assistant, perhaps to be paired with a young offensive-minded head coach.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Terrell Suggs initially said he’d only play for the Ravens after he was cut by the Cardinals, but when he was claimed by the Chiefs it was immediately reported that he’d be joining Kansas City. What changed? Apparently all it took was a short call with Andy Reid. “I was really uncertain about my future last week, but I talked to Coach and it was a brief conversation and I was like, ‘OK,”’ the veteran pass-rusher said earlier this week, via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. “I asked Coach, ‘I just learned the hard way that a player like me just [doesn’t] fit in anywhere.’ He was like, ‘Trust me, you’ll fit in here.'” Suggs spent the first 16 years of his career with Baltimore before signing in Arizona this past offseason. Now, he’ll be joining one of the Ravens’ main AFC rivals with a chance at a potential final playoff run.
  • Raiders safety Karl Joseph was placed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury early last month, and now we have more details. Joseph had a “partial case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot,” according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tafur also reports that he’ll be good to go in April when offseason programs start across the league. The Raiders declined Joseph’s fifth-year option, so the former first-round pick will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Joseph started the first nine games of this season, and has said he wants to be back with the Raiders. He was receiving average marks from Pro Football Focus before going down.
  • Speaking of the Raiders, there will be a lot of talk about Derek Carr this offseason. The Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas for 2020, and it’s not quite settled as to who will be their quarterback when they play their first game there. Jon Gruden has been publicly supportive of Carr, but “there is a significant disconnect between the coach and the quarterback,” writes Michael Lombardi of The Athletic. Lombardi writes that he believes the Raiders will hold onto Carr, while also drafting a quarterback next April. He speculates that Gruden might look to trade Carr, finding a partner willing to take on Carr’s relatively affordable contract. It’s often hard to tell what Gruden is really thinking as he’s often publicly said one thing while doing another during his short time back in the league, but it’s certainly plausible that he decides to move on from Carr, one of the last holdovers from the pre-Gruden Raiders.

QB Notes: Wentz, Rudolph, Darnold, Carr

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz struggled once again in Philadelphia’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. Wentz received a x-ray on his right hand during the second half of the game, but would not blame his poor play on the injury, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. In his postgame press conference, when asked if the injury affected his play, he said, “I don’t think it did.” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson clarified that the x-rays were negative, but Wentz would go through further tests.

Whether the injury played a role or not, Philadelphia needs to find an answer for their offensive woes. Wentz made a number of poor decisions, but two passes to open receivers in the flat that sailed well out of reach were especially emblematic of his problems. The Eagles are now 5-6 on the season, but have a vital stretch of their schedule against Miami, New York, and Washington. It will be crucial for their playoff chances to come out victorious against three of the weakest teams in the league.

Check out some other notes on quarterbacks around the league:

  • After being benched in the Steelers 16-10 win over the Bengals, quarterback Mason Rudolph addressed allegations from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett that Rudolph used a racial slur last week on Thursday Night Football. Rudolph adamantly denied the claims with reporters after the game, writes Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe that he would go that route after the fact. But it is what it is and I think I’ve moved on. One day it was tough, but moved on. We’re good to go now.” Rudolph reiterated the claims were “totally untrue” and when asked if he said anything that could have been construed in a racist way he said, ““Absolutely not.’’
  • Young quarterback Sam Darnold was criticized a few weeks ago for talking about the playoffs with half the season remaining, but the young Jets gunslinger is showing progress dealing with the media, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Darnold mentioned that the playoffs were in the back of his mind after 34-3 blowout win against the Raiders, but quickly made clear that he is taking the season one game at a time. This season has definitely been a roller coaster for Darnold who is still looking to string a few strong games together after missing the start of the season dealing with mononucleosis.
  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was benched amidst a blowout loss to the Jets by head coach Jon Gruden. The move is not meant to create any controversy at the position, however. Carr was removed alongside other important players in Oakland’s rotation to protect them from injury down 31 in the third quarter. Still, Gruden acknowledged the difficulty decision talking with reporters after the game, according to Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News. “I didn’t want to take him out, but doing what I think is right and I’m sure I’ll be second-guessed for that but I think I’m doing what’s right for our football team.”

Raiders To Work Out Kyler Murray

Jon Gruden reiterated Monday that Derek Carr will be the Raiders’ starting quarterback this season, after saying as much at the Combine. But the Raiders will still explore this year’s top passing prospects.

Raiders representatives will conduct a workout with Kyler Murray next week, according to Albert Breer of SI.com, who adds the team’s previously reported workout with Dwayne Haskins will take place next week as well.

Gruden has praised Murray throughout the offseason, but the noise at the Combine has not cooled down. The Cardinals are heavily linked to the 5-foot-10 quarterback. This may make the Haskins meetings more important. The Ohio State-developed prospect also has a Dolphins workout scheduled, along with meetings with the Giants, Broncos and Redskins. He is expected to be a top-10 pick. The past four drafts’ second quarterback selected has been no later than No. 10 overall.

Should the Raiders select Murray or Haskins, Carr’s run as the team’s starter will likely come to an end soon. He has four years and a non-guaranteed $78MM remaining on his contract.

Yeah, he’s going to be our quarterback,” Gruden told Jim Trotter of NFL.com. “I’m not going to address all the rumors. I could care less about the rumors, you know? He threw for 4,100 yards. Threw for almost 70 percent in a very dire, tough circumstance. So I’ve got a lot of confidence in Carr, what he can do with Antonio Brown, with Tyrell Williams, with Trent Brown coming in here to help our offensive line, with a better defense. I’m excited about Carr.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Carr, Chiefs, Broncos

This weekend, the latest report pointing to Derek Carr‘s less-than-solid standing with the Raiders emerged, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Master Tefatsion (on Twitter), which indicated Oakland was shopping its starting quarterback. With a soft veteran quarterback market, perhaps helping the Jaguars on the Nick Foles front, that would make sense. However, the Raiders do not have a viable alternative to Carr, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes they are not believed to have strong interest in trading their five-year starter. Jon Gruden has offered effusive praise for Carr, and Florio adds — Gruden’s Kyler Murray interest notwithstanding — the Raider HC is still believed to be a big fan of the 27-year-old incumbent. He confirmed as much this week.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting to another player recently mentioned in trade rumors:

  • Travis Kelce will have some rehab to do this offseason. The Chiefs‘ All-Pro tight end underwent ankle surgery, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets, and may not be available for the team’s offseason program. Although Garafolo describes this as a cleanup procedure, the 29-year-old tight end will miss some of the Chiefs’ program. Kelce is, however, expected to be ready by training camp.
  • A position distinction fight appears to be brewing in Kansas City. With the Chiefs all set to tag Dee Ford, the somewhat antiquated franchise tag designations are back in play. The team will likely push for the edge rusher to be classified as a linebacker, which comes with a $15.443MM price, rather than a defensive end ($17.128MM), Florio writes. Ford has played outside linebacker throughout his NFL career, but if he returns to the Chiefs in 2019, he will play defensive end in Steve Spagnuolo‘s 4-3 scheme. This happened with Terrell Suggs and the Ravens in 2008, in a process that ended with Suggs categorized as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end for a compromise, and may become an issue for the Texans and Jadeveon Clowney. However, the Chiefs transitioning to a new defense provides a bit of a new wrinkle. The Chiefs are planning to listen to offers for Ford.
  • Matt Paradis will still reach free agency, but Mike Klis of 9News tweets the Broncos are not out of the running for their four-year center starter. The Broncos and Paradis’ camp had a productive meeting in Indianapolis, per Klis, but not enough to keep the snapper off the market. Denver’s line would lose a major piece, the last part of its Super Bowl 50 blocking quintet, if Paradis walks. Despite coming off a broken leg and being set to turn 30 in 2019, the former sixth-round pick’s previous consistency may well put him on a path to challenge Jason Kelce‘s new $11MM-AAV deal as the top center contract.
  • With the low-end RFA tender having climbed to $2.025MM, the Broncos may be leaning toward non-tendering Pro Bowl long snapper Casey Kreiter. With the highest-paid deep snapper (the Chargers’ Jake McQuaide) averaging a $1.175MM-per-year salary, Klis tweets it would appear the Broncos will not tender Kreiter and instead try to work out a deal at a lower price. Long snappers generally have a set pay scale, with 17 of them making between $1MM and $1.175MM, so a member of this club getting nearly double that in a season would be noteworthy.

Jon Gruden: Derek Carr Is Our Franchise QB

The Raiders have been heavily connected to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, but Jon Gruden insists that Derek Carr is still very much in the team’s plans. On Thursday, Gruden reaffirmed his commitment to Carr, just one day after GM Mike Mayock did the same. 

Yes. He’s our franchise quarterback. Let me make that clear,” Gruden said (via PFT).

Carr’s $19.9MM base salary for 2019 became fully guaranteed a few weeks ago. The Raiders could still explore other QB options, of course, but a Carr release is no longer a real possibility.

Gruden’s vote of confidence for Carr won’t necessarily put a damper the Murray speculation. Recently, Gruden said that watching Murray play was like “watching a video game” and lauded the QB for his athleticism. With four picks in the top 35, including the No. 4 overall choice, the Raiders have enough ammo to take Murray and still strengthen other areas.

Carr, 28 in March, went just 4-12 as the Raiders’ starter last season. He completed a career-high 68.9% of his passesbut threw for only 19 touchdowns against ten interceptions.

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