Derek Carr

Rodgers Latest: Broncos, Raiders, Carr

Three weeks away from the June 1 date when an Aaron Rodgers trade becomes financially realistic, the Packers have not deviated from their anti-trade stance. The parties’ impasse, however, continues to lead to noise within the AFC West.

Although the Packers shut down Rodgers trade inquiries during the first night of the draft, which came hours after the reigning MVP’s desire to leave Green Bay surfaced, the Broncos began discussing the level of offer it would take to acquire Rodgers at that point, James Palmer of NFL.com notes (video link).

[RELATED: Broncos To Aggressively Pursue Aaron Rodgers?]

Some within the Broncos organization view a Rodgers trade as a realistic possibility, Palmer adds. The team has the combination of cap space — second-most in the NFL, behind Jacksonville — along with a promising group of young pass catchers and a glaring quarterback need. While this would be a historically unusual trade, given Rodgers’ talent and age, early prospective proposals have included two first-round picks, a future second-rounder and at least one notable player. The Broncos have four starter-caliber wide receivers and, having drafted Patrick Surtain II ninth overall, can match that at cornerback. Though, the team is not viewed as being especially open to including its recent first-round pick in any potential offers.

It is not clear yet if the Broncos have any stiff competition for Rodgers, in the event his stalemate with the Packers leads to true trade talks. The Browns are not interested in ditching Baker Mayfield, and a trade to an NFC team would certainly be less palatable for the Packers. Rodgers-Raiders connections have been surprisingly scarce since Las Vegas was mentioned as a preferable destination for the 16-year veteran.

Jon Gruden has said passing on Rodgers in 2005, when he was the Buccaneers’ head coach and selected Cadillac Williams fifth overall, is one of the greatest regrets of his lifetime. It would stand to reason the Raiders would pursue Rodgers, given Gruden’s annual flirtations with potential Derek Carr upgrades. However, the Gruden-Carr relationship may have improved to the point the passer can be somewhat comfortable in Vegas. Gruden is currently “very happy” with Carr, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes, adding that a trade for Rodgers can be viewed as unlikely.

Carr, 30, has posted back-to-back top-11 QBR finishes since 2019 — something Rodgers did not do, though he did lead the league in the metric in 2020 — and has a manageable contract that runs through 2022. It would be a surprise if the Raiders were not at least in the mix for Rodgers, but it certainly sounds like the Broncos are closer to making a legitimate offer for the disgruntled superstar.

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Raiders Scouting First Round QBs

The Raiders have done extensive work on all the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). As RapSheet notes, this has been par for the course for the Raiders in recent years. However, if one of this year’s top passers slides past the top part of the order, Jon Gruden & Co. could be poised to make a move.

Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are guaranteed to be long gone, and it’s expected that Mac Jones will follow them at No. 3 overall. Beyond that, there’s at least some chance of this year’s top-rated QBs sliding. Some expect the Falcons to select North Dakoka’s Trey Lance at No. 4 and it’s widely anticipated that Ohio State’s Justin Fields will hear his name called in the top ten. Still, draft day is always full of surprises, and the Raiders’ board of first-round worthy QBs could be longer than others in the NFL.

Barring a QB slide, the Raiders could use the No. 17 choice to give Gus Bradley a top-end linebacker like Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Then again, they could focus on other areas of need — like the offensive line — now that they have edge threat Yannick Ngakoue on board. It’s a situation we’ll be monitoring on Thursday night, along with Derek Carr.

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Mike Mayock: Raiders ‘Couldn’t Be Happier’ With Derek Carr

There’s been a lot of buzz this offseason, just like the last couple of offseasons, that the Raiders could move on from Derek Carr. That includes a report from about a month ago that a number of teams had called about Carr, and that Las Vegas was at least willing to listen on those calls. 

Nothing much has happened since then though, and Raiders GM Mike Mayock recently sought to squash the speculation. “I think Derek Carr has earned a lot of respect around this league from an awful lot of people,” Mayock told reporters this week, via Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com.

I think Derek Carr had his best year yet, under Jon Gruden. I think he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and we couldn’t be happier with him,” he continued. “If you’re asking me about Derek, I think Jon and I would both stand shoulder to shoulder and pound the table for Derek Carr.

If you’ve followed the NFL for long enough you’ve probably gotten pretty good at parsing out what’s GM-speak and what’s real, and Mayock’s comments sounded pretty emphatic and borderline definitive. He definitely didn’t do the kiss of death hedge or the “he’s our quarterback right now” that have become so popular in recent years.

At this point it seems like if a Raiders quarterback is going to get traded it’ll be Marcus Mariota, not Carr. Mariota showed well during his brief appearance in place of an injured Carr late in the season, but although there was some interest at first those talks have reportedly cooled recently as well.

Raiders QB Marcus Mariota Generating Trade Interest

Derek Carr isn’t the only Raiders quarterback who’s generating trade interest. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that teams have “legitimate and real” trade interest in backup Marcus Mariota.

[RELATED: Raiders Open To Derek Carr Trade?]

Mariota joined the Raiders last offseason on a two-year, $17.6MM deal. He had an IR stint in September and October, and he didn’t leave the bench until the Raiders’ Week 15 loss to the Chargers. Mariota completed 17 of his 28 pass attempts for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in that game, and he added another score and 88 yards on the ground. Rapoport says that singular performance caught the eyes of other teams, with some organizations believing that Mariota could have a similar career path as Ryan Tannehill (who, of course, resuscitated his career after replacing Mariota in Tennessee).

Mariota showed glimpses of promise during his five seasons in Tennessee, but he obviously disappointed considering his second-overall-pick pedigree. The quarterback went 18-16 during his final three seasons with the Titans, but he also had only 31 touchdowns vs 25 interceptions.

We learned earlier this week that teams had inquired on Carr, and reports indicated that the Raiders were willing to listen to offers on their starting quarterback. Rapoport clarifies that while the Raiders wouldn’t hang up the phone on any team, they’re not eager to move on from the 29-year-old, and a deal for Carr would be “incredibly expensive.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Open To Derek Carr Trade?

This is shaping up to be a historic offseason of quarterback movement, as Matthew Stafford has already been dealt, and Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, and Sam Darnold might not be too far behind. There haven’t been any concrete trade rumors regarding Raiders QB Derek Carr this year, but it sounds like that could change soon.

According to Mike Garafolo, Tom Pelissero, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, rival clubs have been calling the Raiders to gauge their interest in dealing Carr, and Vegas is at least willing to entertain those discussions. The caveat is that the Raiders would want to replace Carr with a passer of similar quality, though that probably would need to happen in a separate transaction. Unless Carr somehow becomes involved in a trade for Watson, no other QBs that could be on the move are as valuable as Carr at the moment.

The Raiders narrowly missed the playoffs in 2020, but that had more to do with their defense than their offense. Vegas was a top-10 unit both in terms of total offense and in points per game, and Carr set a new career-high with a 101.4 QB rating. His 4,103 passing yards were also a personal best, and he threw 27 TDs against just nine picks.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old is under contract through 2022, and his salaries in each of the last two years of his deal are just shy of $20MM, a relative bargain. So while the club would surely be able to get a terrific return if it traded Carr, its status as a potential playoff contender suggests that such a deal might not be something you want to bet your house on.

Indeed, the NFL.com trio goes on to say that the Raiders, who just handed Nathan Peterman a $1MM guarantee for 2021, are open to trading either Carr or Marcus Mariota, and it would seem that Mariota is a much likelier candidate to be moved. Perhaps there will be some discussion on that front once the dust settles on Wentz, Watson, and Darnold.

Still, the fact that the Raiders are willing to engage in talks involving Carr when they have firmly rebuffed any such overtures in the past few years is notable, especially at a time when the trade market is chock-full of interesting signal-callers.

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West Notes: Carr, Broncos, Rams, 49ers

Derek Carr left Thursday night’s AFC West matchup early because of what Jon Gruden called a “significant” groin injury. The veteran Raiders quarterback’s rest-of-season status can be considered in doubt. Carr is facing a 10- to 14-day return timetable, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes. This puts his availability for next week’s pivotal Dolphins game in question, though Rapoport adds Carr will push to return for what could be an elimination game against another fringe AFC contender. Carr has not missed a game due to injury since 2017. The former MVP vote-receiving passer has only missed two regular-season games in seven years. Marcus Mariota played well in relief of Carr on Thursday, and Carr’s status going into next weekend stands to give the Dolphins some extra work due to the differences in the Raiders QBs’ skill sets.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, moving first to another team’s quarterback situation.

  • Drew Lock has shown some potential as a long-term answer this season — including last week in Charlotte — but ranks 28th in QBR and has thrown 13 INTs in 10 games. The Broncos sat out this year’s veteran QB market, but Troy Renck of Denver7 notes the team is likely to bring in a veteran to compete with Lock (or potentially replace him) next year. A similar batch of vets — Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston — on track to be available again would qualify as competition, and the Broncos were also high on Sam Darnold in 2018. A trade for Matthew Stafford, a scenario Renck mentions, would be to replace Lock. The Broncos have used four different Week 1 starting QBs since Peyton Manning‘s retirement, moving from Trevor Siemian to Case Keenum to Joe Flacco to Lock.
  • Sean McVay is not ruling out an Andrew Whitworth regular-season return, and it sounds like the Rams having their left tackle back for the playoffs is realistic. “Andrew is doing great,” McVay said. “He continues to amaze me. He’s somebody we could potentially really push to have him play whether it’s the (Week 17) Cardinals game or next week. If we’re fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play after the regular season, I think that’s the goal, but nothing’s guaranteed for us.” Whitworth suffered MCL and PCL tears Nov. 15 but was believed to be ahead of schedule on his recovery timetable.
  • A Rams positive COVID-19 test resulted in offensive lineman Bobby Evans and safety Nick Scott landing on the reserve/COVID list; they will miss Week 15, McVay said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, Twitter links). The Rams also held starting center Brian Allen and rotational pass rushers Justin Hollins and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo out of practice Friday, though McVay expects the latter trio to play Sunday.
  • The 49ers‘ Arizona arrangement will extend through season’s end. Santa Clara county extended COVID-19 restrictions that have prevented the 49ers from playing at Levi’s Stadium, but the Cardinals will permit their division rival to use the stadium for their Week 17 game against the Seahawks, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The 49ers will also be in Glendale next week but will do so as the road team against the Cardinals.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.