Ever since he returned to coach the Las Vegas Raiders back in 2018, Jon Gruden has been attempting to move off Derek Carr. Regardless of what Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock say publicly, they are not sold on Carr as the face of the franchise.
During the 2020 pre-draft process, the Raiders were putting feelers out on a potential Carr trade. Even earlier this offseason, rumors suggested that Las Vegas could trade Carr as a way to land star Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. While those rumors have died down due to Watson’s off-field situation, the Raiders are back in the news.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported recently that the Raiders have done their homework on all five of the top quarterback prospects leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft.
While Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are not options, there’s a chance that Las Vegas attempts to move up for one of Justin Fields, Mac Jones or Trey Lance. Selecting 17th overall, said move would cost a pretty penny. It would also likely include the Raiders pulling off a separate Derek Carr trade. Below, we give you three reasons why the Raiders should seriously consider this.
Derek Carr trade would net the Las Vegas Raiders a massive return
As we’ve seen throughout the NFL offseason, teams are willing to pay a pretty penny for otherwise average quarterbacks. Just recently, the Carolina Panthers yielded three draft picks to the New York Jets for Sam Darnold. That included second and fourth-round picks in 2022.
Months before, the Indianapolis Colts gave up a conditional second-round pick in 2022 and third-round selection this year for Carson Wentz. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers are said to be demanding a first-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Objectively, Carr is a tier above both Darnold and Wentz. He’s also pretty much on par, if not better than, Garoppolo. What does this mean? Some quarterback-needy team would be willing to exhaust a huge capital to trade for Carr.
Boasting the 20th overall pick, the Chicago Bears are desperate to land a franchise quarterback. Head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace are clearly on the hot seat.
Do they really want to rely on Andy Dalton to save their jobs in Chicago? Moving the 20th pick and unhappy wide receiver Allen Robinson to the Raiders for Carr could make sense here. In turn, Las Vegas could use its first-round pick (17th overall) and the Bears’ 20th pick to move into the top five with the Cincinnati Bengals. That would guarantee them one of Trey Lance, Mac Jones or Justin Fields while giving said quarterback a top-end wide receiver.
2021 NFL Draft is loaded at quarterback
There’s a reason why the 49ers dealt away two future first-round picks and a third-rounder in order to move up from 12 to three. There’s also a reason why the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, selecting one and two respectively, have no interest in trading down. The 2021 NFL Draft is absolutely loaded at quarterback.
There’s also a major backdrop to this for the Las Vegas Raiders and other teams potentially pushing back their quarterback decision to next year. Right now, the 2022 NFL Draft is seen as pretty weak when it comes to this position.
As for this year’s iteration of the draft, it’s being compared to the 1983 version when future Hall of Famer’s Jim Kelly, John Elway and Dan Marino went in the first round. In reality, the Raiders pushing back their quarterback decision to 2022 makes no real sense.
Las Vegas Raiders are in win-now mode
Some might conclude that this stance runs contrary to the theme of this article. That’s just not the case. Let’s use Justin Fields as an example. He’s seen as a pro-ready talent and a dual threat at the quarterback position.
Some have compared him to the likes of Deshaun Watson and Josh Allen. That’s a marked upgrade from what the Raiders have seen from Derek Carr over the past few seasons. He’s a quarterback who has clear limitations and does not take shots down the field. Fields could be any more different than his veteran counterpart, finally providing Gruden with the type of quarterback he has coveted in the past. Add in the trade for Allen Robinson, and this Raiders offense would be elite with Fields under center in 2021.