Las Vegas Raiders rumors: Jay Gruden doesn’t expect Derek Carr trade

By Matt Johnson
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) with head coach Jon Gruden against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Raiders rumors heated up this week with word that Derek Carr could be the next quarterback traded, with the team eyeing Deshaun Watson. While there will be plenty of surprises this NFL offseason, that is one someone very close to Jon Gruden doesn’t expect to happen.

It is impossible to blame the Raiders for being interested in Watson. Despite playing for one of the most dysfunctional organizations in sports, the 25-year-old quarterback posted MVP-caliber numbers this past season. With Watson demanding a trade, teams are imagining what the star passer would look like in their offense.

Las Vegas Raiders rumors: Derek Carr hot commodity in trade talks, team could pursue Deshaun Watson

Under Gruden, the Raiders have done a solid job building a strong supporting cast on offense. Not only does Las Vegas boast a quality offensive line, but its cast of weapons with Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller and Henry Ruggs III is exciting. While Carr is coming off a quality season, the Raiders might be one of those clubs wondering how much better Watson makes them.

Las Vegas Raiders rumors: Team likely to keep Derek Carr in 2021?

It can be difficult to predict what Jon Gruden, who has control over roster decisions, will do with the Raiders. This team has made plenty of surprise decisions in recent years, with Gruden betting on his gut and eye for talent. Amid the circulating Carr trade rumors, at least one person close to Jon doesn’t think anything comes of it.

“I don’t know. I never know what Jon’s gonna do. But I’d be shocked, really. The way that Derek played this year, I don’t know why he’d want to get rid of him,” Jay Gruden told The Athletic. “But who knows, if there’s another guy out there that they really, really like, it is a business at the end of the day. You got to think about not only the year coming up but the future five, six, seven years. Jon’s going to be there for the next six, seven years, so he’s got to think about that as well.

Jay Gruden on if Las Vegas Raiders will trade Derek Carr, via The Athletic’s Ben Standig

It’s not like Carr didn’t play well this past season. He started all 16 games, completing 67.3% of his passes with a 27/9 TD/INT ratio, a 101.4 quarterback rating and 4,103 passing yards. Furthermore, per Pro Football Reference, he had the ninth-highest rate of on-target throws (78.9%). Carr also received the ninth-highest overall grade among quarterbacks from Pro Football Focus this season.

Read More: Las Vegas Raiders would destroy their future with Derek Carr trade

Entering his age-30 season, he has proven he is a high-end passer among his peers. Carrying a $22.5 million cap hit this season and ranking 15th among his peers in average salary ($25 million), Carr’s contract also makes him one of the most valuable players at the position.

Watson would be an upgrade over Carr, that goes without saying. However, the Raiders are one of the few teams who would be better off using their draft picks to address other needs on the roster and sticking with the quarterback they have. If Las Vegas can dedicate this offseason to upgrade its defense and finding a No. 1 receiver, this will be a playoff contender in 2021.

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Given Houston’s asking price, the Las Vegas Raiders would be wise to stick with Derek Carr. Based on his play and the level of trade interest in him around the league, signing him to a contract extension might be a good idea.