Derek Carr

Derek Carr, Raiders Will Not Discuss Extension Until Offseason

Raiders QB Derek Carr has played well over the first four weeks of the 2021 campaign, throwing for nearly 350 yards per game and eight touchdowns against three interceptions while completing over 64% of his passes. Despite the success, Carr will not be discussing a contract extension during the season, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports.

In 2017, Carr inked a five-year, $125MM contract that made him the highest-paid player in the league at the time. Now, however, his $25MM AAV is the 14th-highest mark among quarterbacks, which is one of the reasons why his name continues to crop up in trade rumors. He is signed through the 2022 season.

As Schefter notes, Carr never intended to talk contract during the year, instead preferring to wait until the upcoming offseason. So it’s not as if this represents a change in thinking for Carr, who remains committed to staying with the Raiders for his entire career.

“I’d probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else,” Carr said this summer. “I am a Raider for my entire life. I’m going to root for one team for the rest of my life — it’s the Raiders. So, I just feel that so strong in my heart I don’t need a perfect situation … to make things right. I’d rather go down with the ship, you know what I’m saying, if I have to.”

The Raiders themselves are perfectly content to wait until the offseason as well. Las Vegas is right up against the salary cap at the moment, and while a Carr extension could reduce his 2021 cap number, the club will have more money to spend in 2022 as a result of the cash influx it has realized as a result of the move to Sin City. The salary cap is also expected to increase over the next several years, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to fit a new contract for Carr on the books, even if it will be considerably more valuable than his current one.

Carr’s comeback attempt against the Chargers last week fell a bit short, but the Raiders are still 3-1 and will get a chance to improve on that mark at home against the Bears this afternoon. If Carr can lead his club to a playoff berth in a loaded AFC West, he will have a particularly strong case for a contract in the $40MM/year ballpark.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Jefferson, Broncos, Massie

During an appearance on HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady discussed his reactions to a potential 2020 free agent suitor pulling out of the sweepstakes to stick with their incumbent signal-caller.

“There was a story, in free agency, one of the teams, they were interested and all of sudden they weren’t interested at the very end,” Brady said. “I was sitting there thinking, you’re stick with that [expletive]? Are you serious?

“When I look back I’m like, there’s no [expletive] way I would’ve went to that team. But they said they didn’t want me. I know what that means, I know what that feels like.”

There’s been plenty of speculation about the mystery team and quarterback that Brady was referring to, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com cites multiple league sources who believe the future Hall of Famer was referring to the Raiders and Derek Carr. Las Vegas had been mentioned as a potential Brady suitor during the 2020 offseason, but the organization dropped out of the sweepstakes after balking at Brady’s long list of requests. As Florio notes, Brady had his chance at payback last season, when he tossed four touchdowns in a 45-20 Tampa Bay victory over Las Vegas.

Unless Brady unexpectedly reveals who he was talking about, we’ll never truly know if it was the Raiders. Plenty of other teams and quarterbacks have been mentioned, including the Bears/Mitch Trubisky and the Titans/Ryan Tannehill. The 49ers and former teammate Jimmy Garoppolo have been a popular suggestion, but considering Brady’s lifelong affinity for San Francisco (and his declaration that he was never going to sign with that team in the first place), we can probably cross them off the list.

Here’s more out of the AFC West…

  • Quinton Jefferson has played all over the defensive line during his five-year career, but despite the Raiders depth at defensive tackle, the team is still planning to play their free agent acquisition at his natural position. The 28-year-old will be teaming up with the Raiders main offseason acquisition, defensive tackle Yannick Ngakoue, and Jefferson is excited to form a two-headed monster with his good friend and former college teammate. “Yannick is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL right now and he brings that intensity,” Jefferson told The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “He is going to bring some pressure and help relieve Maxx (Crosby), free Maxx up so that other teams can’t key on one guy. And then hopefully I can bring some interior pressure as well, so we should have a good mix out there. I am excited to see how that all comes together.”
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post explores several Broncos players who find themselves on the roster bubble prior to training camp and the preseason. Atop his list is defensive tackle McTelvin Agim, a 2020 third-round pick who was limited to only 110 defensive snaps as a rookie. O’Halloran notes that it’s troubling that the young defensive lineman wasn’t working with the starters during minicamp despite the absences of Mike Purcell and Shelby Harris. Offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, running back Royce Freeman, safety Trey Marshall, and linebacker Derrek Tuszka also earned spots on the list.
  • The Broncos brought in both Bobby Massie and Cameron Fleming to compete for the starting right tackle spot, and ESPN’s Jeff Legwold believes Massie will get the first shot at the gig. Massie certainly has the advantage when it comes to experience; the 31-year-old has started 110 of his 118 career games, including each of his eight games in 2020. Meanwhile, Fleming has mostly served as backup throughout his career (91 games, 42 starts), although he did start a career-high 16 games for the Giants last season.

Raiders QB Derek Carr Would “Welcome” Reunion With Davante Adams

Derek Carr has had a rotating cast of receivers since he joined the Raiders as a second-round pick in 2014. So, when he was recently asked about the opportunity to team up with impending free agent wideout (and former college teammate) Davante Adams in 2022, Carr was naturally on board.

[RELATED: QB Derek Carr Discusses Future With Raiders]

“I’ve learned in this business, you never shut the door on anything,” Carr said to Bri Mellon of ABC30 (via NFL.com’s Nick Shook). “I know that he’s obviously the best receiver — everyone said one of the best, he’s the best receiver in the NFL. The guy is unbelievable. He’s been one of my best friends since we were in college together. I love the guy.

“I would always welcome to play with him again. I think it would unlock some things in both of us that people haven’t seen yet. I’m always open to that and I will be recruiting very hard. When that time comes, it will be a full-court press.”

Carr was a two-time Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year during his collegiate career, and a big reason for those accolades was the presence of Adams. Carr threw for 9,187 yards between the 2012 and 2013 seasons, with Adams collecting 3,031 yards through the air (plus 38 touchdowns).

While the Raiders have done some work to improve Carr’s receiving corps (including acquiring Antonio Brown and drafting Henry Ruggs in the first round of the 2020 draft), the Raiders have still had a tight end lead the squad in receiving in each of the past three years (Jared Cook and Darren Waller (twice)). Even assuming that Ruggs is able to develop into a top-end starter, the team would surely still be in the market for some receiving help.

Considering the Packers uncertain future at quarterback, it’s only natural that front offices are dreaming of adding Adams to their offense. Of course, Green Bay could end that sentiment by extending the wideout, or they could alternatively franchise the receiver following the 2021 campaign. Still, if Aaron Rodgers is gone, Adams could push for a trade, in which case Carr and the Raiders would presumably be at the front of the line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Derek Carr Discusses Future With Raiders

Derek Carr has been the subject of trade rumors over the past few years, but the Raiders quarterback doesn’t intend to play anywhere but Las Vegas. In fact, Carr said today that he’d rather retire than be traded to a new squad.

“I’d probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else,” Carr said (via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez). “I am a Raider for my entire life. I’m going to root for one team for the rest of my life — it’s the Raiders. So, I just feel that so strong in my heart I don’t need a perfect situation … to make things right.

“I’d rather go down with the ship, you know what I’m saying, if I have to.”

While the front office has continually supported the three-time Pro Bowler, that hasn’t stopped the trade rumors; it was only February that we last heard that Carr could be on the move. While the 30-year-old has managed to put up some solid individual numbers (including a handful of franchise records), the Raiders have only made the playoffs once since he entered the NFL in 2014.

Until the Raiders return to the postseason, there will continue to be question marks surrounding Carr’s future in Las Vegas, but the quarterback made it clear that he wouldn’t consider reversing his fortunes elsewhere.

“I’m that old-school mentality — I’m playing for one team and that’s it,” Carr said. “Whether we’ve won enough or not, I literally give every bit of energy and effort that I can to this organization and when I sign a contract, I completely, in my mind, have to fulfill that. I committed to that. I put my name on paper.”

Carr inked a five-year, $125MM contract in 2017. The deal expires at the end of the 2022 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.