Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a pretty surprising 2021 campaign that saw them win 10 games and earn a spot in the NFL Playoffs.
With that said, changes are coming to Sin City mere days after the Raiders fell in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs to the Cincinnati Bengals.
That includes general managr Mike Mayock being fired. Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia’s future with the Raiders is also seemingly up in the air with the team looking to interview Jerod Mayo for the head coach position.
It’s definitely been a calendar year of drama for these Las Vegas Raiders. The includes Jon Gruden resigning in disgrace and the tragic situation surrounding wide receiver Henry Ruggs prior to his release from the Raiders.
The question now becomes what Vegas’ new brass is going to do at quarterback. The team will likely be hiring an outside general manager with a ton of qualified candidates mixed in. Meanwhile, rumors continue to persist that Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh could end up beign the Raiders’ next head coach.
The backdrop here is perceived interest in Cleveland Browns VP of Football Operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who has a built-in relationship with Harbaugh dating back to their days together with the San Francisco 49ers.
How the head coach and general manager situation plays out will dictate whether Carr is back with the Raiders for a ninth season or is traded. Below, we look at four Raiders quarterback options for the 2022 season knowing full well that a change could be coming.
Related: 5 keys to the Las Vegas Raiders offseason
Las Vegas Raiders add competition for Derek Carr
There’s not a lot of legitimate starting quarterbacks set to hit free agency in March. This somewhat limits the Raiders’ options in that there’s no real upgrade over Carr. Rather, a new general manager could look to bring in competition for the three-time Pro Bowler.
Of the group set to hit free agency, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston and even Teddy Bridgewater could make some sense as competition for Carr. Again, it’s all about the general manager situation. One top candidate is former Green Bay Packers excutive Eliot Wolf could change the dynamics in a big way. He’s currently working with Bill Belichick in New England.
Related: Derek Carr facing uncertain future with the Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders pull off blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson
The Raiders were linked to Watson prior to north of 20 women accusing him of sexual misconduct. Having sat out the entire 2021 season after requesting a trade from the Houston Texans, there’s a darn good chance that Watson will be moved within the next two months. It really depends on how the legal situation plays out.
If so, an unnamed new general manager might opt to pull off an earth-shattering first move in that role. Said trade would likely include Carr heading to the Texans with multiple first-round and second-round picks. Regardless of our opinion regarding Carr, Watson would act as a major upgrade on the field. It’s now all about fit and whether the Raiders believe he’d work out in Las Vegas after the team saw some major off-field issues over the past several months.
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Las Vegas Raiders retain Derek Carr
This still seems to be the likeliest scenario. Carr, 30, isn’t what we’d consider to be elite by any stretch of the imagination. However, he’s acted the part of a team leader during some trying times over the past several months. He also continues to play at a relatively high level.
- Derek Carr stats (career): 65% completion, 31,700 yards, 193 TD, 85 INT, 92.4 rating (57-70 record)
The wins and losses are not ideal. With that said, Las Vegas struggles prior to a surprise playoff appearance in 2021 had more to do with player personnel matters. Hence, why Mayock was fired. From a financial perspective, Carr is set to count a mere $19.88 million against the cap in 2022.
Related: Ideal Derek Carr trade scenarios
Las Vegas Raiders trade for Baker Mayfield
This might come out of left field. However, there’s every reason to believe the Raiders will chase after Mayfield should they ultimately hire the aforementioned Kwesi Adofo-Mensah while bringing in Harbaugh as a packaged deal.
- Baker Mayfield stats (2020): 62.8% completion, 3,563 yards, 26 TD, 8 INT, 95.9 rating
- Baker Mayfield stats (2021): 60.5% completion, 3,010 yards, 17 TD, 13 INT, 83.1 rating
The 2020 iteration of Mayfield would be an upgrade over what we’ve seen from Carr since he last earned a Pro Bowl appearance back in 2017. It also must be noted that Mayfield was dealing with injuries throughout the 2021 campaign. It impacted his play.
With Cleveland unlikely to sign the former No. 1 pick to an extension this off-season, there’s a chance that the team looks to trade him. If so, a Carr for Mayfield swap with other pieces heading to Cleveland could make sense.