After two seasons of bad play, could we see Derek Carr fall the next victim of John Gruden’s overhaul? Is Derek Carr’s replacement closer than we think?
When Derek Carr signed his massive contract extension back in the summer of 2017 it looked like he would be the Oakland Raiders franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future. His five-year contract extension worth $125 million was the largest quarterback contract at the time.
Carr earned his contract extension following his breakout 2016 campaign, where he led the Raiders to a 12-3 record and a spot in the playoffs before breaking his leg in week 16.
Prior to the injury Carr was in the MVP conversation and being called one of the best young quarterbacks in the game at the time.
Despite a small sample size of success, the Raiders took no chances of losing Carr. They locked him up long-term and were happy to do so at the cost of $125 million. The Raiders were now looking to build of off their 12-4 record with Carr as their leader into 2017 and beyond.
Fast forward to now and Carr has not lived up to these expectations. Since signing his new deal, Carr has thrown just 34 touchdowns in 25 games, to go along with 21 interceptions. An average of 1.36 touchdowns and 0.84 interceptions per game are not exactly numbers you would expect from a quarterback making $125 million.
So how could the Raiders move on from someone with three years left on a massive contract? The first option would be to obviously try to trade Carr and get something out of him, but let’s say no one is interested in Carr and his huge contract. Carr’s contract has a potential out for the Raiders after this season, meaning they could cut him for just $7,500,000 in dead cap. This would allow the Raiders to walk away from Carr for a very small price.
We have already seen Gruden move on from guys like Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, and Bruce Irvin in order to build a longterm roster the way he wants.
We have seen multiple times throughout the year where Gruden and Carr are not on the same page. So how would Gruden fill the hole he would create by cutting Carr? And better yet, why would he want to move on from Carr and be forced to find his replacement? As of today the Raiders hold the number three overall pick in the draft behind the Cardinals and 49ers, neither of which team needs a quarterback.
This means Oregon’s Justin Hebert could fall right into the Raiders lap at pick three and serve as the quarterback that John Gruden molds into his own. Justin Herbert will be the clear number one quarterback in the draft assuming he declares.
If the Raiders do not take him, he will be sure to go in the top 10 with teams like the Giants also needing a quarterback. Gruden has shown he is not afraid to make major roster moves in order to build the team to his liking.
If Derek Carr does not improve his play to finish out the year, he could be the next player on the chopping block.