After another offseason of speculation about his job status, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is not worried, nor should he be.
After yet another losing season as the quarterback and leader of the Las Vegas Raiders, speculation has never been higher about whether or not the team should, and/or will, move on from Derek Carr. Carr has repeatedly said he is not worried about his future with the organization, and he shouldn’t be.
Since Jon Gruden accepted the job to return to the Raiders as head coach, many have suggested that Gruden would look to move on from Derek Carr as soon as he had the chance. Despite the rumors, Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have been adamant that while they will always look to improve as a team, Carr is their starting quarterback.
And that is not to say that Gruden and Mayock have not had the chance to replace him. They had the opportunity to select both Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins in the first round of last year’s draft, as well as the opportunity to select Jordan Love with either of their first round picks in this year’s draft.
The speculation did not stopped at last year’s NFL Draft, though, as the Raiders were one of the teams most linked to Tom Brady if he were to actually leave the New England Patriots. Well, Brady left, and Gruden and co. were nowhere to be found, as the Raiders reportedly did not even make Brady an offer.
Carr has improved in each of his two years in Gruden’s system, as he is coming off back-to-back 4,000+ yard passing seasons. Since Gruden has been back calling the plays, Carr has also thrown 40 touchdowns compared to just 18 interceptions.
Last year, he trailed only Drew Brees in completion percentage.
When Carr steps on the field in 2020, he will have an upgrade of offensive weapons around him. The weapons around him have been improved dramaticall with the selections of Henry Ruggs III, Lynn Bowden Jr., and Bryan Edwards during the 2020 NFL Draft, as well as the signings of Jason Witten and the speedy Nelson Agholor.
Carr has been, without question, the best Raiders quarterback since Rich Gannon. He is the leader of the franchise, and is highly respected in the locker room. He is a smart player, knows Gruden’s offense, and is, actually, pretty athletic when he decides to use his legs.
He has all the traits that Gruden looks for in a starting quarterback, he just has not had the proper tools around him to succeed, and not to mention an extremely lackluster defense.
Luckily for Carr, the defense has improved dramatically as well this offseason. The linebacker position appears to finally be one of strength for the Silver and Black with the additions of Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. Clelin Ferrell seems prime to make a sophomore leap, and Maxx Crosby will look to build on a fantastic rookie year.
Through his first six seasons, Carr has also proved to be solid in the clutch. Last season, Carr broke the record for the most 4th quarter comebacks of any quarterback through his first six seasons in the NFL with eighteen.
Furthermore, the Raiders quarterback joined the likes of Andrew Luck, Peyton and Eli Manning, Dan Marino, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks to throw for twenty or more touchdowns in five of their first six seasons. He is also just the fifth quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in all of his first six seasons in the league.
Could Carr have more wins in his first six years? No question. Could he be a bit better at finishing drives in Gruden’s system? Absolutely. But this season will be different. Carr is not worried, because he knows that he finally has the tools to succeed.
And that is exactly what he will do.