Oakland Raiders: Assessing Derek Carr’s future under Jon Gruden

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders have struggled against good teams in 2019. Is the quarterback’s time in silver and black coming to a close.

The Oakland Raiders and Derek Carr partnership might cease to exist sooner rather than later. The quarterback has struggled at times in the 2019 season, particularly against high-level competition. And while his contract isn’t officially up until 2022, per Spotrac, his dead cap number drops from over $27 million to just $5 million in 2020 and $2.5 million in 2021.

But what would be the reason for cutting Carr, who has overall played well this season? While some would say mobility, arm strength or even pocket presence are the most valuable quarterback traits in the NFL, consistency is something that every team should value above them all.

Carr has been a prime example of an inconsistent quarterback. Week in and week out, the Raider never know which version of the quarterback they’re going to get.

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In Week 9 against the Lions, Carr drove down the field late in the fourth quarter and delivered a nine-yard strike to Hunter Renfrow to give the Raiders the lead. He finished the day with 289 yards and two touchdowns — all in all, a solid game displaying that Carr is capable of leading his team.

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He followed that outing with another positive one when the Raiders hosted the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football. Carr led his team down the field with four minutes left and Oakland won the game with an 18-yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs.

These flashes of great quarterback play are a staple of what Derek Carr has done his entire career. He enjoys extreme highs, without question, but with those highs come extreme lows.

In Week 12, the Raiders headed to New York to face a struggling Jets team. Oakland was coming off a three-game win streak and in prime position to move up in the AFC West and maintain a Wild Card spot in the playoff picture.

Daniel Carlson kicked a 48-yard field goal on the opening drive and that was the last time the Raiders scored. Carr struggled throughout the contest and finished the game with only 127 yards passing and an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Final score: 34-3, New York.

The next week, the Raiders traveled to Arrowhead Stadium for a huge AFC West matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, a game that could’ve given Oakland a signature win. Instead, on Oakland’s first drive, Carr threw an interception directly to Tyrann Mathieu. Down 14-0 later, he tossed a pick-six to Juan Thornhill. This all led to a 40-9 loss where Oakland didn’t score until the fourth quarter.

Though the weather in both New York and Kansas City was less than ideal for the passing game, the two outings brought Carr’s streak of games with throwing an interception to three. And more importantly, his lacking performance never gave the Raiders a chance to win.

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If the Oakland Raiders decide to part with Derek Carr, it will be due to inconsistency, not lack of talent. General manager Mike Mayock and Gruden can get out of Carr’s contract with little penalty after this season. And with a strong draft class in the next two years (Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and more) and some notable free agents such as Teddy Bridgewater hitting the market, a move on from Carr might make sense.