Derek Carr

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rumors: Oakland, SF, Carr, Cook

An offer for the Raiders to play in Oakland in exchange for $7.5MM in rent remains on the table, as Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal writes. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is willing to honor the agreement, despite the fact that the city of Oakland has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.

We have always wanted them to come back and play the last season here,” McKibben said Tuesday. “Keep in mind the Coliseum Authority that I work for and represent is not in this lawsuit. The lawsuit has been filed by the city of Oakland. The role that I have taken is I’ve got a lot of jobs to save for a season or two. We would love to see them play here for the fans and the sponsors and the media exposure and all the various constituents that are impacted by this.”

Here’s more out of Oakland:

  • The 49ers are still not expected to waive their territorial rights for the Raiders to play in San Francisco, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). On top of that, the mayor of San Francisco has come out against the Raiders playing at Oracle Park, which makes SF even more unlikely. At this point, it’ll be either Oakland or Levi’s Stadium for the Raiders, Rapoport hears.
  • Derek Carr’s $19.9MM base salary for 2019 became fully guaranteed on Wednesday, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. The Raiders could explore other QB options this offseason, but a Carr release is not a real possibility anymore.
  • Jared Cook is unlikely to return to the Raiders, Vic Tafur of The Athletic opines. Coach Jon Gruden indicated that Cook was in the team’s plans at the Super Bowl, but Tafur believes that he likes tight ends Darren Waller, Lee Smith, Derek Carrier and practice squad TE Paul Butler enough to let Cook go elsewhere in free agency. Talent-wise, the Raiders might like to have Cook back, but he should find a competitive market in March. Cook was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate after he hauled in a career-high 68 catches for 896 yards and six TDs.

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Carr, Broncos

As the Raiders transition further into the second Jon Gruden era, more staff turnover can be expected. Mike Mayock has replaced Reggie McKenzie as GM, and another of McKenzie’s lieutenants is no longer with the team. Director of pro personnel Dane Vandernat recently left the Raiders, according to Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Vandernat’s contract was to expire after the draft, per Caplan, who adds Dave Razzano will take over some of Vandernat’s pre-draft workload. This comes after player personnel director Joey Clinkscales received his walking papers. Teams that make front office changes often wait until after the draft to revamp scouting departments, and Mayock recently said he is scouting the in-house scouts. Vandernat’s Raiders arrival predated McKenzie’s. He had been with the team since 2008. Reggie McKenzie’s twin brother, Raleigh McKenzie, is still working for the Raiders as a scout.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting to the Raiders’ quarterback situation.

  • Rumors are circulating about Gruden and Mayock bringing in their own quarterback, with Peter King of NBC Sports writing “lots” of suspicion has arisen about the Raiders drafting a passer in the first round. This prospective move would not be accompanied by a Derek Carr trade, per King, who adds an NFL exec said the team may be tempted by the Chiefs’ draft-and-wait model they used with Patrick Mahomes. Of course, Alex Smith was 33 during Mahomes’ rookie season; Carr will turn 28 this year. That would not make for a smooth setup. Additionally, the Raiders’ first-round picks acquired via trade sit at Nos. 24 and 27. Several potential quarterback-seeking teams pick ahead of them, with the Giants (No. 6), Jaguars (7), Broncos (10), Dolphins (13, though they are eyeing the 2020 QB class) and Redskins (15) stationed in the first round’s top half. It would be a bit odd if the Raiders gave up assets to replace Carr, and King is hearing buzz about it even taking a top-10 pick to select Kyler Murray (if he ends up in the draft).
  • The Broncos‘ $41MM-plus in cap space places them in the upper middle class this offseason, but they have a few possible cuts they can make to increase that figure. Coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in 46 years, the Broncos are expected to be active in free agency, ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold notes (on Twitter). Denver needs help at cornerback, on the offensive line and at tight end, to name three spots. The Broncos have several notable UFAs, but so far, Matt Paradis has been the only higher-end UFA mentioned as a player the franchise would like to retain. Bradley Roby, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett, the latter eyeing a starting role he cannot obtain in Denver, are expected to depart.
  • DeMarcus Ware worked as a pass-rush consultant in Denver last season, but he might not be back in 2019. Vic Fangio has not spoken with Ware about returning, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Fangio said he will spend time with Denver’s outside linebackers, and he brought Brandon Staley over from Chicago to directly oversee this spot.
  • The Broncos hired the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney to be their quarterbacks coach, and they are adding former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington HC Tyrone Willingham‘s son, Nathaniel Willingham, to serve as their defensive quality control coach, Mike Klis of 9News notes. The younger Willingham spent the past four seasons as a Stanford coach.
  • Melvin Gordon will see how Le’Veon Bell‘s deal affects the market before discussing a Chargers extension.

Raiders Owner On Mack Trade, Gruden

Raiders owner Mark Davis is taking responsibility for the team’s 1-8 start, even though many are pointing fingers at head coach Jon Gruden

I always look in the mirror, and the buck stops with me,” Davis told ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez. “Where this team is right now is my fault. We haven’t been able to build a 22-man roster. We haven’t been able to give this team a chance to win because the reconstruction failed. We failed from 2014 on to have a roster right now.”

Over the course of a 45-minute interview, Davis discussed Gruden, GM Reggie McKenzie, the team’s widely panned trade of defensive star Khalil Mack, and much more. Here’s a look at the highlights:

On Gruden’s role in the Mack trade:

Jon wanted him. Everybody thinks that Jon’s the one who wanted to get rid of him. Jon wanted him badly. Why wouldn’t you want this guy? Reggie wanted him badly. And I wanted him badly, too. But, if in fact we were going to give the type of money that we were going to give to him, and we had Derek on that type of a (contract), how were we going to go ahead and build this football team, with all the holes that we had?

On what prompted the team to send Mack to the Bears: 

My thought was, “Listen, he signed a five-year contract, if he’s the type of guy that I think he is, he’s going to honor that contract.” And he’s going to come in and play for the $13MM for this year and then we’ll work for him during the year and get it. Word came back through certain players that know him and talk to him and know me as well, that he wasn’t going to come in. He was going to do the Le’Veon Bell (holdout). At that point, I said, F’ it. The guy hasn’t talked to anybody. We’ve got to do something.

On Mack’s agent, Joel Segal:

It might not have been the right decision, but the other point to this whole thing is that Segal is also the agent for Amari Cooper. And we knew the same situation was coming up the next year. It wasn’t just one layer of chess; it was two layers of chess. But to blame Jon, for Khalil Mack not being here, is absolutely not the truth. It was a decision that was made and it wasn’t made easily … I don’t have any bad feelings toward (Mack). I wish he would have talked to Jon and Reggie and wanted to at least honor the fifth year of his contract.

On the future of quarterback Derek Carr:

Derek is taking a lot of s— right now. He is the franchise quarterback right now. He doesn’t have Amari Cooper. He lost (Martavis) Bryant to a knee injury today. Guys have been getting hurt. Who’s he throwing to? Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, which are good guys. But they’re not putting the fear of God in anybody. The tight end (Jared Cook) is playing his ass off. You look at the quarterback and he’s playing behind a battered offensive line … so I don’t know what you can put on Derek and I don’t think it’s fair to put all the blame on him.

On McKenzie’s future:

Reggie and I need to sit down and talk and figure out how we are going to go about the future. We’ve got to look in the mirror and figure out, where the hell did we go wrong in trying to build this thing? We failed. I have failed. But at the same time, we wouldn’t have been in the great position we were in without Reggie McKenzie being here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Carr, Raiders, Peterson, Taylor

We learned earlier this morning that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson has requested a trade, though the team wants to keep him. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Jackson, on his way to the team bus this morning, declined to comment on the report.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league (Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says many GMs expect there to be three to five “impactful” deals over the next 48 hours, offers a helpful primer, which includes a list of some of the most-discussed players on the market):

  • Albert Breer of TheMMQB says that the Raiders may not be done dealing just yet, though he does not expect the team to move Derek Carr (indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that the Raiders have told Carr that he is the quarterback of the present and future). However, Oakland is open to moving Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley, though the Raiders are driving a “hard bargain” with teams interested in Conley.
  • Breer names a number of other players whose names we have not heard in recent rumblings but who could nonetheless be on the move: the PackersHa Ha Clinton-Dix, the 49ersPierre Garcon and Jimmie Ward, the CardinalsChandler Jones, and the BroncosShane Ray and Brandon Marshall. Breers adds that San Francisco would need to get something “significant” to deal Ward. He also says that, while teams are certainly interested in Denver corners Bradley Roby and Chris Harris, he thinks it would be difficult for the team to trade either.
  • If they had elected to trade Patrick Peterson, La Canfora writes that the Cardinals could have received a bounty for him, and may have even landed multiple first-round picks (in fact, several teams were already prepared to offer a first- and second-rounder). JLC reports that Peterson was considered the “crown jewel” of the deadline, and given his attractive contract status, he may be the subject of renewed trade rumors during the offseason.
  • Breer also writes that the Browns are open to trading Tyrod Taylor, whose contract structure could make a deal feasible. Meanwhile, Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that Cleveland GM John Dorsey may be trying to acquire wide receiver help (Twitter link).
  • The Bills remain unlikely to trade LeSean McCoy, per Schefter.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has demonstrated a proclivity for making trades, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Maccagnan has been doing his due diligence on everyone, including big-name players. But while there is a sense that New York could swing a deal, the fact that the team is in a no-man’s land between buyer and seller, and the fact that the roster does not have many tradeable pieces, could make a trade difficult to pull off.

Fallout From Raiders’ Trade Of Amari Cooper

After looking at the Amari Cooper trade from the Cowboys’ perspective, let’s take a look at things from the Raiders’ side:

  • Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie insists that Cooper’s contract situation, or the fact that he is represented by the same agent as Khalil Mack agent (Joel Segal) had nothing to do with his desire to make a deal (Twitter link via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area).
  • McKenzie said the trade “was an opportunity I couldn’t pass on, to get a first-round pick. … I love Amari but I just felt it came down to getting the pick,” (Twitter link via Vic Tafur of The Athletic).
  • The Raiders are now in a full rebuild mode, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) doesn’t think they’re done yet. Safety Karl Joseph is another first-rounder who could be available, giving the Raiders a chance to add even more to their 2019 draft haul. As Rapoport understands it, quarterback Derek Carr and cornerback Gareon Conley are unlikely to be dealt, but many other players could be had for the right price.
  • Head coach Jon Gruden did not immediately address the trade with his team (Twitter link via Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal). Some players saw Cooper pulled off of the practice field on Monday but didn’t know why until they checked their phones in the locker room.

Raiders Shopping Amari Cooper, Karl Joseph

11:34am: The Raiders are also looking to deal wideout Amari Cooper, per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports (video link). Vic Tafur of The Athletic explains that it makes sense for the Raiders to be shopping Cooper now (via Twitter), because he will be on the last year of his rookie deal in 2019, and it looks as though Oakland is priming for a multi-year rebuild. And if Gruden traded Mack when he thought the team couldn’t contend, it stands to reason that he would be willing to trade Cooper as well.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out that Mack, Joseph, and Cooper are all represented by the same agent, Joel Segal, and it could be that the team’s willingness to trade those players is motivated at least in part by its unwillingness to negotiate with the man who won a stare down with Gruden during the Mack negotiations.

08:52am: When the Raiders hired Jon Gruden in January, it became immediately clear that seventh-year GM Reggie McKenzie and the club would be parting ways in the near future. After all, the Raiders made an enormous commitment to Gruden while giving him a significant amount of McKenzie’s power over roster construction, so the writing has been on the wall for some time. And, despite the fact that Gruden’s evaluation methods have created tension within the team’s personnel department, he is continuing his mission to rid the roster of talent that he inherited from McKenzie, which he has clearly been unhappy with.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the Raiders are shopping 2016 first-round pick Karl Joseph, who has struggled with injuries during his brief career. La Canfora says that Joseph, who sat out the past two games with a hamstring injury, has also fallen out of favor with Oakland’s new staff.

Of course, Joseph’s senior year at West Virginia was cut short by a knee injury, and many teams placed a second- or third-round grade on him as a result. But the Raiders, then led by McKenzie, believed enough in Joseph’s talent to make him the No. 14 overall selection in the 2016 draft, and while he has certainly not played poorly with the Raiders, he has not exactly lived up to his draft status either. As such, it is unlikely the Raiders would be able to get much for him, especially as he is entering the most expensive year(s) of his rookie deal.

The Raiders have already tried to cut ties with Joseph’s fellow safety, 2017 second-rounder Obi Melifonwu, who is currently on IR but who has probably played his last down for Oakland. La Canfora also says that the team is willing to trade veteran Derrick Johnson, whom Gruden brought in to serve as Oakland’s starting middle linebacker this offseason. Johnson, who will turn 36 next month, is obviously not a part of the Raiders’ future plans.

Gruden has already shown a willingness to part with top-flight talent when he traded Khalil Mack before the start of the regular season, and La Canfora says that Gruden could soon be shopping another one of McKenzie’s prized draft picks, quarterback Derek Carr. The CBS scribe writes that a growing number of GMs believe Gruden could entertain offers for Carr in 2019, and it appears that the team will certainly be one of the busiest over the next couple of weeks, as the trade deadline looms on October 30.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders GM Discusses Khalil Mack Trade

Last weekend, the Raiders were the talk of the NFL after sending star linebacker Khalil Mack to the Bears. While owner Mark Davis and head coach Jon Gruden were the two pushing for the trade, it’s uncertain how much general manager Reggie McKenzie had to do with the deal.

Gruden clearly has the ear of his owner, emphasized by the organization dealing off many of McKenzie’s draft picks. There have been rumblings that the Raiders could be preparing to part ways with the general manager, although Gruden was clear it was an organizational decision to trade off Mack.

For what it’s worth, McKenzie didn’t sound like he was entirely on board with a Mack deal. In an interview with Scott Bair of NBC Sports BayArea, the general manager provided some insight into the trade. The whole interview is worth reading, and we’ve collected some of the notable soundbites below:

On how he was handling the entire ordeal prior to the trade:

“My whole thought process was to get Khalil (signed). It was at the end, in the final hour, that it just hit. It hit hard and heavy. It was not a plan to trade him at all.”

On negotiations with Mack, who ended up signing a six-year, $141MM ($90MM guaranteed) deal after being dealt to Chicago:

“There were some things that weren’t meshing between the two proposals. That made it hard to go into details. We were trying to figure out ways to get it done, but it wasn’t going to look like what Khalil wanted.”

On whether quarterback Derek Carr‘s five-year, $125MM extension impacted negotiations with Mack:

“We knew we had two great players in that [2014] draft a long time ago. We knew this thing was coming. We were trying to plan for this. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. That scenario did not weight heavily in our decisions.”

On the perception that the organization is unwilling to pay their own players:

“We will pay top dollar. We couldn’t get around giving Khalil what he wanted. We will pay top dollar to top players. We just could not get it worked out with Khalil. When it seemed like it was going that way, we decided to make a move with the trade. We will be able attract players. …We’ll find a way to continue to play good football. We’re not worried about the outside perception of free agency. We will get free agents in here when its time to do that and we will keep our own. Sometimes you can’t keep them all. That’s just the way it goes.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.