Jon Gruden Makes His Strongest Statement Backing Derek Carr Yet

(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /

The future of quarterback Derek Carr with the Las Vegas Raiders has been a hot topic this offseason, and head coach Jon Gruden had his back the other day.

Part of the reason the Las Vegas Raiders are making the move to a new city is to gain publicity. The organization no longer has to share a market with another NFL team and the spotlight is all theirs.
However, the extra attention does come with some rather frustrating side effects, which head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr (to an extent) experienced first hand this weekend.

As first reported by John Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gruden was at a charity event on the Strip and was asked about the team’s interest in former (?) New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady. The coach’s response suggests he’s become rather frustrated with the question as he stated:

"“You’re killing me, man. We love our quarterback. Our quarterback’s a really good player, Derek Carr. I want to reiterate that to everybody here in Vegas. We’ve got a good, young quarterback, and the film, the statistics and analytics prove it.”"

Carr set career highs in both passing yards (4,049) and completion percentage (68.9%) in 2018, and he surpassed both of those marks this past season with 4,054 yards and a completion rate of 70.4%. Last month, Pro Football Focus stated that the franchise leader in passing yards ranked ninth among quarterbacks in their Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric, and went on to say that the Silver and Black should stick with him in 2020.

Also working in Carr’s favor, he’s 14 years younger than the aforementioned Brady. However, given Gruden’s affinity towards veteran players and proven winners, it’s hard to imagine Chucky will turn down the opportunity to work with the six-time Super Bowl Champion if that’s an option.

In the same “interview” mentioned above, the coach also stated: “We’re going to be in the market to try to improve at every position. That’s what we’re gonna do.”

The quote: “try to improve at every position,” has been the mantra for Las Vegas this offseason as general manager Mike Mayock made a similar statement at the Combine a few weeks ago. Whether that means Carr is on the chopping block or not is up to interpretation.

Circling back to Gruden’s backing of the team’s current quarterback, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported that the organization’s decision-makers are making respectful comments about the six-year starter in the event that Brady opts to play elsewhere. Tafur suggests that the team will stick with Carr in that situation.

Thus, are the head coach’s comments more of the same? Meaning he’s making sure he doesn’t offend a player who could be starting for him next season. Or does Gruden actually believe the Raiders already have their quarterback of the future?

There likely won’t be an answer until next week when free-agency officially kicks off. Until then, we stuck refreshing our Twitter feeds and waiting for the next breaking news update to offer some clarity on the matter.