Participating in the veteran quarterback market several times since Kirk Cousins‘ franchise tags led to a departure, Washington has since been linked to cooling off those pursuits. An unexpected Sam Howell promotion, after a one-start season, is being considered.
But the team will not rule out the possibility it again acquires a veteran. After discussing a few vets last year, the team will at least have Howell in the mix for its 2023 starting job. Third-year GM Martin Mayhew, however, said the team will look into an experienced option again.
“You pretty much every season have to look at the entire landscape of what’s available,” Mayhew said, via Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that last year. We will do the same things this year. We’re not going to rule out acquiring a vet. We’ll go through the entire landscape of who’s available. We’ll evaluate them, and we’ll get to a consensus.”
Last year’s search included pursuits of Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, with a three-first-rounder offer being sent to the Seahawks for the latter. Wilson’s no-trade clause intervened, as it did for other non-Broncos teams as well. But the Commanders’ 2022 search also included calls to the Raiders on their then-starter. The Raiders fielded multiple inquiries from the Commanders about Derek Carr last year, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports.
The Raiders’ Dave Ziegler–Josh McDaniels regime rebuffed the Commanders’ Carr interest, preferring to see if the longtime starter proved a fit in McDaniels’ offense. After Carr did not impress with McDaniels, the Raiders are ready to see what they can get for the 31-year-old passer. They will try to trade Carr and his $40.4MM guarantee, which vests Feb. 15, to stockpile assets for the future. The recent Howell buzz aside, it seems logical the Commanders will revisit Carr as an option.
Washington stands to save $26.2MM by releasing Carson Wentz, who remains on his Eagles extension from 2019. The team would take on a larger contract with Carr, and the former Pro Bowler has a no-trade clause included in his half-measure extension agreed to in 2022. That complicates any team’s pursuit of Carr, who confirmed he wants another chance to start. It will be interesting to see how many teams are truly in the mix for the solid-but-unspectacular passer, who could follow the likes of Alex Smith and Matthew Stafford in being part of a mid-winter trade.
Washington participated in the first of those trades, obtaining Smith from the Chiefs for Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick. The team then extended Smith, but his gruesome leg injury opened the floodgates at this position in Washington. Should Howell or any non-Wentz arm start for the team to open the 2023 season, it will mark the team’s seventh season-opening QB in seven years. Taylor Heinicke is not among this contingent, having replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick minutes into the latter’s Washington debut/one-off last season, and he will be an unrestricted free agent come March.
Mayhew called Howell’s Week 18 outing against the Cowboys promising but cautioned that was “a very small sample” to judge and “there’s going to be a lot of evaluation process for him.” Will that performance stop the team from chasing a higher-profile option?
The Raiders are set to meet with Derek Carr soon, and they will do so with the intent of exploring a trade. Not long after Carr’s benching, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports the Raiders have begun the process of evaluating the trade market (Twitter link).
This has been the expected path since the Raiders demoted Carr ahead of Week 17, leading to the nine-year starting quarterback stepping away from the team. The Raiders have just more than a month until Carr’s $40.4MM guarantee vests. As of now, that figure becomes guaranteed three days after Super Bowl LVII (Feb. 15).
Shortly after Rapoport indicated a trade route will be explored, Carr posted a goodbye announcement (via Twitter). In it, he addressed previous comments of pursuing retirement if the Raiders did not want him. As expected, retirement is not in Carr’s plans.
“I once said that if I’m not a Raider I would rather be at home, and I meant that. But I never envisioned it ending this way,” Carr said in a lengthy statement thanking Raiders fans. “That fire burning inside of me to win a championship still rages. I look forward to a new city and a new team, who, no matter the circumstance, will get everything I have.”
A number of teams figure to be in on Carr, even with that lofty guarantee figure looming. The Jets, Saints, Commanders and Panthers come to mind, with a PFR poll last month pegging Gang Green as the clubhouse leaders. Other teams like the Colts, Titans and perhaps the Buccaneers — in the event Tom Brady either retires for a second time or leaves as a free agent — could be on the Carr radar as well.
Carr holds a no-trade clause, giving the 31-year-old passer some control during this process. The Raiders included the clause in their 2022 extension, which featured the guarantee vesting date allowing the franchise to move on if Carr did not prove a fit with the new Josh McDaniels– and Dave Ziegler-run operation. Mark Davis gave the new Raiders regime carte blanche when it came to handling Carr, but the HC-GM combo was believed to be close to keeping Carr as the starter through the end of the season. The owner, who is believed to be lukewarm on Carr, stepped in and may well have pushed the situation to this point.
As could be expected given their McDaniels hire, the Raiders are already being connected to Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. This marks the second time the Raiders have been linked to Brady in free agency. They pursued the all-time great in 2020, but Jon Gruden deemed the longtime Patriots cornerstone too old even at that point. Wooing a quarterback in advance of an age-46 season will obviously be unprecedented, though Garoppolo is Carr’s age and could serve as a longer-term bridge.
If the Raiders are unable to trade Carr, it is believed they will release him rather than pay that $40.4MM. Despite the team giving Carr a three-year, $121.4MM extension just last year, a release — thanks to the uniquely structured deal — would result in just a $5.6MM dead-money charge. Carr’s deal calls for a guaranteed $32.9MM base salary and 2024 and ’25 bases of $41.9MM and $41.2MM, respectively. Just $7.5MM of the 2024 base salary is guaranteed; the 2025 year is nonguaranteed.
The quarterback trade market has heated up in recent years, producing blockbuster deals that sent franchise cornerstones like Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan out of town. Deshaun Watson fetched even more in compensation. It appears Carr will be another high-profile passer on the move.
Tom Brady still has at least one more game to play for the Buccaneers, but that hasn’t stopped pundits (and, potentially, other NFL teams) from considering where he could play next season. During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show (Twitter link), Albert Breer of TheMMQB said the Raiders are “unequivocally” looking into the possibility of adding the future Hall of Famer.
The Brady/Raiders comment was preceded by a question about Jimmy Garoppolo, with Breer noting that the Raiders are also doing their due diligince on the 49ers QB. In fact, Breer believes Derek Carr was thrown into a de facto competition with the two impending free agents, with Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and co. ultimately deciding they could squeeze more out of the quarterback position from someone else.
As Breer explains, when the current regime initially signed Carr to an extension, they thought they were locking in their equivalent of Alex Smith in Kansas City. In other words, the Raiders thought their veteran QB would be able to guide them to postseason performances while the front office identified their play-caller of the future. At 31, Jimmy G could allow the Raiders to continue with that plan, while Brady would obviously force the organization to go in a completely different direction as they load up for temporary contention.
With McDaniels and Ziegler having both worked alongside Brady and Garoppolo in New England, the connections are obvious, and it really wouldn’t be surprising if one of these QBs reunites with their former coach in Las Vegas. At the moment, the big question is which of these two quarterbacks is atop the Raiders’ wish list.
Elsewhere in Raiders QB news, the organization is set to meet with Carr soon. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal explains, the QB and the Raiders agreed to meet after the season to “discuss the situation and all the various options.”
18 teams had their seasons come to an end yesterday, and their front offices have already turned the page to the 2023 NFL seaon. This started today, as a number of players were signed to reserve/futures contracts, which allows organizations to retain (routinely) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. Here are today’s reserve/futures contracts:
- T Julien Davenport, S Juju Hughes, LB Blake Lynch, TE Chris Pierce, TE Bernhard Seikovits, G Lachavious Simmons, WR Auden Tate, S Josh Thomas, T Badara Traore, WR Javon Wims
- WR Josh Ali, RB BJ Baylor, OLB Quinton Bell, DL Amani Bledsoe, LB Dorian Etheridge, TE Tucker Fisk, CB Javelin Guidry, CB Matt Hankins, OL Jonotthan Harrison, WR Ra’Shaun Henry, LB Nathan Landman, DB Dylan Mabin, CB Jamal Peters, TE John Raine, FB Clint Ratkovich, CB John Reid, OL Justin Shaffer, OL Tyler Vrabel
- G Deonte Brown, RB Spencer Brown, DE Kobe Jones, LB Arron Mosby, TE Giovanni Ricci, WR C.J. Saunders, TE Stephen Sullivan, DT Raequan Williams, WR Derek Wright
- TE Chase Allen, S Adrian Colbert, LB Kuony Deng, T Kellen Diesch, DE Gerri Green, TE Jake Tonges, WR Nsimba Webster
- WR Daylen Baldwin, S Bubba Bolden, WR Mike Harley, LB Storey Jackson, DE Sam Kamara, RB John Kelly, TE Zaire Mitchell-Paden, DT Roderick Perry, WR Marquez Stevenson, T Tyrone Wheatley
- WR Victor Bolden, G Parker Ferguson, CB Faion Hicks, CB Delonte Hood, S Devon Key, RB Tyreik McAllister, OLB Wyatt Ray, OL Hunter Thedford, LB Ray Wilborn
- WR Maurice Alexander, WR Stanley Berryhill, T Obinna Eze, S Brady Breeze, CB Khalil Dorsey, RB Jermar Jefferson, WR Tom Kennedy, T Darrin Paulo, DT Demetrius Taylor, CB Jarren Williams
- DT McTelvin Agim, S Henry Black, S Marcel Dabo, S Trevor Denbow, G Arlington Hambright, T Jordan Murray, LB Segun Olubi, LB Forrest Rhyne, RB Aaron Shampklin, WR Vyncint Smith, CB David Vereen, TE Jalen Wydermyer
Kansas City Chiefs
- WR Ty Fryfogle
Las Vegas Raiders
- CB Isiah Brown, CB Bryce Cosby, P Julian Diaz, S Jalen Elliott, TE Cole Fotheringham, G Vitaliy Gurman, T Sebastian Gutierrez, WR Chris Lacy, LB Kana’i Mauga, G Jordan Meredith, WR DJ Turner, RB Austin Walter, WR Isaiah Zuber
Los Angeles Rams
- TE Roger Carter, DL T.J. Carter, CB T.J. Carter, S Richard LeCounte, T Max Pircher, WR Jaquarii Roberson, WR Jerreth Sterns, DE Brayden Thomas, DE Zach VanValkenburg
New Orleans Saints
- G Yasir Durant, DT Prince Emili, RB Derrick Gore, CB Vincent Gray, TE Lucas Krull, QB Jake Luton, LB Nephi Sewell, DE Jabari Zuniga
New York Jets
- OL Chris Glaser, CB Craig James, CB Jimmy Moreland, DL Marquiss Spencer, QB Chris Streveler, LB Chazz Surratt, WR Malik Taylor
Josh Jacobs went from seeing the Raiders decline his fifth-year option to winning the rushing title. No Raider had previously secured that crown since Marcus Allen in 1985. Following the accomplishment, Jacobs said he would like to stay in Las Vegas.
The former first-round pick, naturally, indicated he will not come cheap. That should be expected after a 1,653-yard rushing season, but the Alabama alum would prefer his second contract come from the Raiders.
“For me, it’s got to make sense,” Jacobs said (via ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez) on the financial component of a new deal. “But this is obviously where I want to be. Coming in, I remember sitting down with Maxx [Crosby] and all these guys and talking about the Raiders organization and the culture and wanting to be part of the change. I still feel that way so, hopefully, I’ll be back.”
Also amassing a career-high 400 receiving yards, Jacobs paced the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,053) as well. The former No. 24 overall pick also stayed healthy throughout his contract year, setting him up for a payday. Jacobs is still just 24. Although Jacobs handled an NFL-high 393 touches this season, he can factor in his age and a light college workload (251 handoffs) as selling points for prospective longevity. But free agency should not be expected to be in the cards.
The running back franchise tag is expected to come in just north of $10MM — likely a palatable price for teams with top-shelf backs on the cusp of hitting the market. Jacobs and Saquon Barkley represent prime tag candidates, giving their respective teams time to work out extensions ahead of the July 15 deadline. But the Raiders, despite passing on Jacobs’ fifth-year option, want to keep their running back find on a second contract.
“Obviously J.J.’s performance was a huge bright spot for us,” Josh McDaniels said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him as a person and as a player and he kind of embodies all the things that we want a Raider to be. Dave [Ziegler] and I have talked about that; J.J. and I have had private conversations about those kinds of things. I think all that will play out in due time. But love him and would love to have him continue to be a Raider.”
Jacobs finished with six 100-yard rushing games — including a 229-yard outing in Seattle in which he totaled 303 scrimmage yards to rank in the top 10 all time for a single game — in his fourth NFL season. Although Derek Carr looks to be on the move, the Raiders would prefer to pair Jacobs and Davante Adams with their next quarterback. It will be interesting to see if Jacobs pushes for a top-market deal — the $15MM range — or settles for the roughly $12MM-AAV pact five other backs have since 2020. With the cap expected to rise from $208MM toward the $225MM mark, it should be expected Jacobs pushes for the market’s top stratum.
Some fireworks came in regarding the draft order on the NFL’s final regular-season day. The Bears upended the Texans for the No. 1 pick, reeling in a team that held that top slot for much of the season. The Bears last made a pick at No. 1 overall in 1947. Their former head coach — Lovie Smith, whom the Texans just fired — oversaw this final-day flip-flop. Clarity on the rest of the non-playoff-bound teams’ draft slots emerged as well.
The Jaguars’ rally to win the AFC South moves them into a postseason spot, and the Titans’ seven-game losing streak to end the season drops them to their highest selection since 2017. Tennessee’s next general manager will have the opportunity to make a pick at No. 11 or deal from that draft position, while Jacksonville will hold its lowest selection since 2018. The Texans will hold two top-12 picks in April, thanks to the Browns’ Week 18 loss to the Steelers, while the Lions will have two in the top 20 as well.
For non-playoff teams, the draft order will be determined by the inverted 2022 standings — plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule — with playoff squads being slotted by their postseason outcome and regular-season record. Here is how the draft order looks at the regular season’s close:
- Chicago Bears: 3-14
- Houston Texans: 3-13-1
- Arizona Cardinals: 4-13
- Indianapolis Colts: 4-12-1
- Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
- Detroit Lions (via Rams)
- Las Vegas Raiders: 6-11
- Atlanta Falcons: 7-10
- Carolina Panthers: 7-10
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints)
- Tennessee Titans: 7-10
- Houston Texans (via Browns)
- New York Jets: 7-10
- New England Patriots: 8-9
- Green Bay Packers: 8-9
- Washington Commanders: 8-8-1
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-8
- Detroit Lions: 9-8
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-9
- Seattle Seahawks: 9-8
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 9-8
- New York Giants: 9-7-1
- Baltimore Ravens: 10-7
- Los Angeles Chargers: 10-7
- Dallas Cowboys: 12-5
- Cincinnati Bengals: 12-4
- Minnesota Vikings: 13-4
- Denver Broncos (via 49ers)
- Buffalo Bills: 13-3
- Kansas City Chiefs: 14-3
- Philadelphia Eagles: 14-3
Today’s minor moves heading into the Saturday slate of games:
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots
- Reverted back to IR: P Jake Bailey
- Moved from IR to reserve/suspended by club: P Jake Bailey, CB Jack Jones
- Waived: G Sua Opeta
After working out for the Chiefs yesterday and signing to their practice squad today, Wright will be promoted immediately as a gameday elevation for tomorrow’s regular season finale against the Raiders. Regular kicker Harrison Butker has been ruled out for the fifth game this year and the first time since Week 5 of the season, opening up a playing opportunity for Wright this week.
Bailey has been on injured reserve since Week 9 and was designated to return from IR around December 21, while Jones was placed on IR only a week ago on New Year’s Eve. Bailey’s return window has since closed reverting him to season-ending IR, but in one of the less common transactions seen this season, he and Jones were both moved from an IR designation to the reserve/suspended by club designation. The exact reason why each player has been suspended by the team is unclear, but it is apparently the result of two separate incidents.
As the NFL determines how it will proceed with the postponed Bills-Bengals game, Week 18 is on as scheduled. The No. 1 overall pick remains in doubt, and seven teams enter the final week either 6-10 or 7-9. Several games will impact how the top 10 shakes out.
Having lost nine straight, the Bears (3-13) are a half-game behind the Texans (2-13-1) for the No. 1 overall pick. Houston last held that draft slot in 2014, while Chicago has not picked first since 1947. The Texans are also playing a Colts team they tied in Week 1; Indianapolis enters Week 18 on a six-game skid. Conversely, the Bears face a Vikings squad that still has a path to the NFC’s No. 2 seed.
Week 17 also brought clarity on the NFC South. Although the Buccaneers have disappointed, their comeback win over the Panthers secured the franchise’s third straight playoff berth. That will mean Tampa Bay’s pick will check in no higher than 18th overall, while the Carolina and New Orleans slots could land in the top 10. The loser of Saturday’s Jaguars-Titans game would also see their draft slot rise several positions. Four of the five traded picks remain in the top 12, with the Seahawks’ spot (via the Broncos) still slotting highest — behind only the Texans and Bears’ positions.
For non-playoff teams, the draft order will be determined by the inverted 2022 standings — plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule — with playoff squads being slotted by their postseason outcome and regular-season record. Here is how the draft order looks entering Week 18:
- Houston Texans: 2-13-1
- Chicago Bears: 3-13
- Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
- Arizona Cardinals: 4-12
- Indianapolis Colts: 4-11-1
- Detroit Lions (via Rams)
- Atlanta Falcons: 6-10
- Las Vegas Raiders: 6-10
- Carolina Panthers: 6-10
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints)
- Tennessee Titans: 7-9
- Houston Texans (via Browns)
- New York Jets: 7-9
- Washington Commanders: 7-8-1
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-8
- Green Bay Packers: 8-8
- Detroit Lions: 8-8
- Seattle Seahawks: 8-8
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-8
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-8
- New England Patriots: 8-8
- New York Giants: 9-6-1
- Baltimore Ravens: 10-6
- Los Angeles Chargers: 10-6
- Cincinnati Bengals: 11-4
- Minnesota Vikings: 12-4
- Dallas Cowboys: 12-4
- Denver Broncos (via 49ers)
- Buffalo Bills: 12-3
- Kansas City Chiefs: 13-3
- Philadelphia Eagles: 13-3
Davante Adams‘ friendship with quarterback Derek Carr led to the duo teaming up in Las Vegas. It looks like Carr’s tenure with the Raiders has likely come to an end, but even with the change at quarterback, the wide receiver has made it clear that he’ll be staying put. Adams told Tashan Reed of The Athletic that while he’d appreciate some input regarding the QB decision, he’ll “absolutely” be sticking with the Raiders regardless of how things unfold.
“I wouldn’t have ended up here if Derek [Carr] wasn’t here, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be here in the event that he’s not here,” Adams told Reed (Twitter link).“… My dream was to play for this team before he was a Raider, obviously, [and] at this point I want to try to make this thing work.”
We heard earlier today that Adams was likely heading toward a second season in Las Vegas, mostly due to his contract. The wideout is under contract through the 2026 season, so the team would have plenty of leverage if the player suddenly asked out. Plus, as former NFL agent Joel Corry points out on Twitter, the Raiders did a salary conversion back in July that ultimately resulted in Adams earning $43MM during his first year in Vegas. Ownership would surely push back at paying that amount for only one season of production.
Plus, for what it’s worth, it sounds like the receiver trusts head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler to figure out the Raiders’ quarterback situation.
“Me, Josh and Ziegler, we’ve got a really good dynamic and it’s something that I really appreciate,” Adams told Reed. “I’ve mentioned it to them, as well. Obviously, they don’t have to do anything. I’m not a part of the front office, but obviously the reason why I came here. A step like this is obviously something that means a lot to me in my personal career and obviously what I’m trying to chase as far as the ultimate pursuit to get that ring.
“I’m not a guy that’s just going to come in here just saying anything. They know whether it’s about the scheme or if it’s about personnel, whatever it is, there’s a rhyme to the reason. I’m definitely going to have something behind whatever it is that I’m thinking or I’m saying. We’ve obviously got a good understanding for one another and that helps this whole process.”
Adams has been productive during his first season in Las Vegas, hauling in 95 catches for 1,443 yards and 14 touchdowns. He showed what he can do with a different quarterback under center during Week 17, as the receiver collected 153 receiving yards and two scores with Jarrett Stidham tossing him the ball.