Las Vegas Raiders news: Derek Carr could miss the remainder of NFL season

By Matt Johnson
Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) watches game action against the Los Angeles Chargers during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Raiders news: The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off their second consecutive loss, following Thursday night’s overtime defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers. Unfortunately for Las Vegas, things might be getting even worse.

After leaving the Week 15 game early with a groin injury, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr couldn’t return and things didn’t sound promising from Jon Gruden. With the team’s season on the line heading into the closing weeks, Las Vegas could be in trouble.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Raiders, check out #RaiderNation rumors, rankings, and news here.

Las Vegas Raiders news: Latest update on Derek Carr’s groin injury

Speaker to reporters following Thursday’s loss, Gruden provided an update on his star quarterback’s injury. While Carr avoided the worst-case scenario, a significant tear of his groin, his hopes of returning this season are uncertain.

“I don’t believe it’s a real tear, but obviously if he can’t finish the game it’s got to be pretty significant,” Jon Gruden said, via Raiders.com.

Carr is dealing with a significant pull of his groin, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He will be at the team’s facility on Friday, undergoing further evaluation and an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.

Related: 5 quarterback options for Raiders in 2021

While the Raiders haven’t ruled him out for any period of time, there is a real chance this is a season-ending injury. Even with 10 days until Las Vegas plays its next game, battling the Miami Dolphins in Week 16, there’s a real chance Carr isn’t cleared to start on Dec. 26.

At that point, the Raiders would likely be 7-8 with five losses in their last six games. Eliminated from contention for the NFL Playoffs, it would be a smart decision for Las Vegas to sit Carr in a Week 17 finale against the Denver Broncos.

If Carr doesn’t play in Week 16, it would be the first start he has missed since 2017. The 29-year-old has played in 108 games across his NFL career, appearing in at least 15 games each season since he came into the NFL.

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In 14 games this season, Carr has 3,396 passing yards with a 24/7 TD/INT ratio and has completed 68.1% of his passes. If he is ruled out for the remainder of the year, Carr will finish with a career-best 102.0 quarterback rating this season.

Related: 2021 NFL Mock Draft – Big trades, 5 QBs in all-offense top 10

Las Vegas Raiders news: Marcus Mariota ready to step in as starter

It can be difficult for backup quarterbacks to come off the bench cold and make an offense find a rhythm quickly. On Thursday night, Mariota took the field without playing a single snap this season for the Raiders coming into Week 15.

Despite that, the former No. 2 overall pick looked like a solid quarterback on Thursday Night Football. He completed 17-of-28 pass attempts, racking up 226 passing yards and averaging 8.1 yards per attempt. He was lethal on the ground, roasting the Chargers for 88 rushing yards and an incredible touchdown on nine carries. All in all, his dual-threat performance resulted in a 97.9 ESPN QBR in Week 15.

Signed to a two-year contract worth $17.5 million this season, the Raiders should see what they have in Mariota. The former Heisman Trophy winner and Maxwell Award winner might not have lived up to his draft expectations with the Tennessee Titans, but he is still just 27 years old.

If Carr is going to miss the remainder of the 2020 NFL season, with Las Vegas out of the playoff hunt, this could be a great chance for Mariota to prove himself. If he shines over the final two games, he could be an offseason trade candidate for teams needing a reliable backup quarterback or fill-in starter.

From a fantasy football perspective, looking ahead to Week 16, Josh Jacobs should sustain his status as a high-end RB2. Given how much Mariota relied on Darren Waller, he also remains an elite fantasy option.