In terms of finding the closest thing to Derek Carr’s skill set in a backup quarterback, wouldn’t that be the brilliant journeyman that is Ryan Fitzpatrick? Fitzpatrick spent 2017 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He actually won some games filling in for an injured Jameis Winston. One could argue that Fitzpatrick is probably the best backup quarterbacking talent in the NFL. But would he come to the Raiders?
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Well, he’s never played for the Raiders, but could in theory run the same offense as Carr without skipping a beat. Assuming his health is up to par, Carr could show more mobility in 2018. This is a big part of Fitzpatrick’s jazz musician approach to playing quarterback. Both have a knack for improv in and around the pocket. You can win a bunch of games with Fitzpatrick under center.
Given that he is a former Harvard Crimson signal caller, you’re not going to get a smarter man in the quarterback room than Fitzpatrick. He got a 48 on his Wonderlic coming out of Harvard. While he’s never played in a playoff game before, neither has Carr. They could push each other to help get the Raiders back well over .500 and fight for AFC playoff contention.
Yes, Fitzpatrick will be pricey, as he might be the most valuable backup quarterback in the league. However, the Raiders would be getting a sure thing in Fitzpatrick. There is good and there is bad with Fitzpatrick. Sure, it might make Carr a bit uncomfortable with a player of Fitzpatrick’s caliber breathing down his neck. That being said, wouldn’t great competition bring the best out of them. The winner in that situation would obviously be Gruden and the Raiders offense.