Raiders have to make a decision on Derek Carr soon

NFL Draft, NFL Free Agency, Oakland Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders need to decide soon if Derek Carr is long-term answer at quarterback. If he’s not, they need to look to the NFL Draft or free agency.

Derek Carr is the Raiders’ past and present, but how sure are we he’s in their future plans?

With the franchise moving to Las Vegas ahead of the 2020 NFL season, the Silver and Black are at a critical point in assessing the starting quarterback position. Carr has been good for the Raiders in his six years out of Fresno State. He has stabilized the position, gone to Pro Bowls and nearly won NFL MVP during his incredible 2016 campaign. However, he seems to have hit his ceiling of late.

With plenty of ammunition to move up in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders can position themselves to land his successor inside of the top 10 this spring. Las Vegas has two first-round picks and five picks in the top 100 to work with if the Raiders do want to enter the quarterback draft market a bit prematurely. The Raiders are also swimming in salary cap space at just the right time, too.

With the Raiders moving from Oakland to Las Vegas, they now play in a state that doesn’t have an income tax. This means the dollar goes further in Southern Nevada than it ever did in Northern California. The Raiders have the eighth-best salary cap situation entering the new league year. With the allure of playing in Las Vegas, the Silver and Black will surely land a few big free agents.

If the Raiders want to replace Carr in the draft, they can deal him to a team like the Chicago Bears, get more draft capital and trade up to get any signal-caller not named Joe Burrow in this draft. No, this does not exclude Tua Tagovailoa from potentially being the next leader of Raider Nation. Las Vegas has the resources to move up to No. 2 in a deal with the Washington Redskins to get him.

While Jordan Love of Utah State could fall right in their lap at No. 12, the Raiders may be more interested in big-game quarterback hunting in free agency. With Ryan Tannehill going back to the Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas has to now be among the new front-runners to pry Tom Brady away from the New England Patriots. There are other free-agent quarterbacks, but he’s the big fish.

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Ultimately, what this comes down to is how Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock feel about Carr’s status as the Silver and Black’s starting quarterback going forward. It seems they like him alright, but may not love the guy. With only a $2.5 million dead cap hit in 2021, perhaps giving Carr one more year to lead the Raiders wouldn’t be so bad after all?

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