Reports that a Derek Carr trade could potentially happen this offseason shocked those around the football world. The Las Vegas Raiders previously seemed committed to the three-time Pro Bowler moving forward. Once Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans requested a trade, that apparently changed on a dime.
Carr, 29, is coming off a pretty solid 2020 campaign that saw him complete 67.3% of his passes for north of 4,100 yards with 27 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. He’s been a consistent force for the Raiders since entering the league as a second-round pick back in 2014.
What makes a Derek Carr trade interesting for other teams is the fact that he’s slated to boast the 15th-highest cap hit among quarterbacks next season, a mere $22.13 million. Any team acquiring the veteran quarterback would have to pay less than $20 million against said cap.
Looking at possible landing spots, we check in on the five most ideal Derek Carr trade scenarios should the Las Vegas Raiders move the veteran signal caller.
Derek Carr trade to the New England Patriots
Despite what some might want to believe, Cam Newton will be one-and-done with the New England Patriots. Not necessarily in a great position to make a move for someone like Deshaun Watson, it seems like Carr would be a tremendous fit in Josh McDaniels’ offense.
While he won’t come close to duplicating the success we saw from Tom Brady in New England, Carr is that prototypical drop back quarterback that has had success with McDaniels in the past. He’d also be a nice bridge for an aging head coach in Bill Belichick who obviously doesn’t want to go into full-scale rebuild mode.
Regardless of who is under center, New England must improve its skill-position group in order to be successful next season. Acquiring Carr would help the team do that given his relatively low salary cap cost. Perhaps, sending Stephon Gilmore and a second-round pick to Las Vegas could get this done.
Derek Carr trade to the Washington Football Team
We’ve heard from Washington’s new front office recently. The one takeaway is that this organization is not going to sell its future in a Deshaun Watson trade. Coming off an NFC East title, Washington is also not in position to add a franchise-type quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft.
That’s where Carr could come into play. He would act as a bridge in D.C. for a few years until Washington is able to acquire that long-term franchise guy. Remember, this team won a surprising seven games and earned a division title despite having to start four quarterbacks under center in 2020. It also has a nice young skill-position tandem in that of running back Antonio Gibson and wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
I can easily see Washington offering up its second and third-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire Carr. It would not impact the team’s draft war chest beyond this year and would still give Washington a first and third-rounder come April.
Derek Carr trade to the Indianapolis Colts
The retirement of Philip Rivers seemingly caught Indianapolis’ brass off guard. While the borderline future Hall of Famer was 39 years old and in the back end of his career, the Colts figured he would return in 2021. Alas, that did not happen. After missing out on Matthew Stafford and with it being unlikely Houston deals Deshaun Watson within the division, the Colts are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Needless to say, Carr would be an upgrade over someone like Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis. He also might make more sense than Jimmy Garoppolo, who was recently linked to the Colts in trade talks.
General manager Chris Ballard has built up a contender in Indianapolis. It is simply missing a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback to lead the charge on offense. Given that he’s earned that title three times in his first seven NFL seasons, Carr would qualify. The Colts also have north of $66 million in cap room. Acquiring Carr wouldn’t impact the team in free agency. Offering up their second and third-round picks for Carr could work.
Derek Carr trade to the Chicago Bears
The bad news first. Chicago finds itself $5.5 million over the cap and is going to be forced to retain Nick Foles in 2021. The good news? Foles is slated to count a mere $6.67 million against said cap in 2021. This means Chicago can afford to go out there and acquire someone of Carr’s ilk without it impacting the team too much financially.
The better news? Carr is an immediate upgrade over both Foles and former first-round bust Mitchell Trubisky under center. Sure Matt Nagy would need to build up more talent on offense in order for Carr to succeed, but he’s worked with less with the Raiders while performing at a high level.
Chicago and Las Vegas have done business in the past. Bears general manager Ryan Pace might want to go back to the well after bamboozling Jon Gruden in the Khalil Mack blockbuster. If so, offering up two Day 2 picks could get this done.
Derek Carr trade to the New York Jets
There’s a lot of moving parts for general manager Joe Douglas and the Jets. They are either going to trade the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft or move on from former top-three selection Sam Darnold. It makes no sense to retain both assets. Under this scenario, New York moves both that selection and its current starting quarterback.
The idea is rather simple. New York trades Darnold for a couple mid-round selections. It then moves down to later in the top-10 of the draft, picking up more assets and still being able to land someone like Trey Lance. If that weren’t enough, the Jets then use some of those assets to find new head coach Robert Saleh a stop-gap option at quarterback. Of all the Derek Carr trade scenarios, this could make the most sense.