Derek Carr shouldn’t feel too comfortable about his Raiders future. The team have made it clear they’re open to replacing him in the draft.
The Raiders front office clearly doesn’t want to torpedo Derek Carr’s value around the NFL, but they also aren’t ready to commit to him as their starting quarterback in 2019. The more GM Mike Mayock talks about Carr, the more obvious it is that the Raiders want to find an upgrade in this year’s draft.
Oakland’s new GM called Carr a “franchise quarterback” on Thursday, but he quickly followed that up with his belief that looking for someone they might “like better” is something the franchise should do at every position. That’s unassailable logic for a franchise that desperately needs to upgrade their talent all over the roster, but it’s also a clear signal to the rest of the NFL that Carr’s status as a starter is in serious jeopardy.
The Raiders currently own the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft and have been connected with both Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins throughout the pre-draft process. Most NFL observers believe Murray is set to go No. 1 to the Cardinals, but Haskins doesn’t have a clear landing spot ahead of the Raiders. The fact that NFL Network recently reported that Oakland is “very high” on Haskins makes it very possible they’ll snap him up at No. 4.
If Oakland does that, they need to be fully convinced that Haskins is a future Pro Bowler at the quarterback position. Carr doesn’t give the Raiders that kind of upside at quarterback, but he’s not the weakest starter on the roster by a wide margin. Head coach Jon Gruden’s decision to jettison Khalil Mack last season leaves his franchise with a great deal of draft capital, but it also robbed the Raiders of any defensive linemen capable of sacking the quarterback.
Using the No. 4 selection on a pass rusher might be the more prudent play for Gruden and the team’s brain trust. A player like Josh Allen or Quinnen Williams might fall to that slot and help solve the team’s greatest weakness. That wouldn’t change the franchise’s desire to find a new quarterback in time, but that’s not something that absolutely has to happen for the Raiders this offseason.
The reality here is that no one knows what the Raiders are going to do in this draft. Gruden and Mayock have both talked a lot to the media in recent weeks, but they’ve been careful not to give anything meaningful away. The combination of their unpredictable nature and the three first round picks they own make them the most intriguing team to watch on Day One. That could end up being very bad news for Carr and his hopes of being a starting quarterback in 2019.