Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr must shine in 2019

(Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images) /

Combine the Oakland Raiders’ new-look roster, a bevy of first round picks in 2019 and 2020 and an upcoming new era in Las Vegas, and you’ve got a possible recipe for disaster for starting quarterback Derek Carr.

The Oakland Raiders are in a bit of a tough spot. They picked up a 30-year old Antonio Brown in the offseason, which could be a positive for the Black Hole. They also finished up their first year with new, old head coach Jon Gruden, whose tenure will hopefully get better as time goes on. But most importantly, they seem to be at a crossroads with starting quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr, once, seemed to be the savior of the Raiders after a decade of ineptitude. Since their Super Bowl loss in 2002, the Raiders floundered around in the NFL’s depths until 2014.

Of course, that would be the year they picked up both defensive end Khalil Mack and Carr in the NFL Draft. Combined with receiver Amari Cooper the next year, the Raiders’ big three would lead them to the postseason in 2016.

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And then, just as quickly as the Raiders assembled that core, they ripped it to shreds in exchange for a shot at the future. Khalil Mack was dealt to Chicago before the season, in exchange for two first-round picks. Cooper, too, traded away midseason for yet another first-rounder. Now, Carr is the only member of the Raiders’ former dynamite core from just three years ago.

Derek Carr is at the end of the line. Like Cooper and Mack before him, Carr could be replaced before the start of the 2020 NFL season. As such, 2019 may be Carr’s last stand as Oakland’s starting quarterback, even considering the contract Oakland gave him just two years ago. The move to Las Vegas looms large as the Raiders will likely go for a new look in 2020.

With the 2020 NFL Draft coinciding with the Raiders’ move to Nevada, spending a high pick on a shiny new quarterback in your new stadium is oh, so tempting. Carr will likely have to perform much like he did in 2016 in order to keep his job with the silver and black beyond this coming season.

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But sometimes, as we all know, pressure creates diamonds. And fans could be in for a rejuvenated performance from the Derek Carr of old during the Raiders’ last year in the Bay Area.