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Derek Carr trade offers: Could Commanders, Saints, Jets or Bucs get him from Raiders?

Funviralpark 1 year ago 0 4

The Derek Carr era in Las Vegas appears to be over. Coach Josh McDaniels announced Wednesday the Raiders have decided to sit the 31-year-old quarterback for the final two games of the season and start Jarrett Stidham instead. McDaniels insisted that benching Carr isn’t indicative of a decision the team has made about Carr’s future, but the reality is that if they believed he was still a part of their long-term plans, they’d keep playing him.

The other part of that reality is that sitting Carr, who signed a three-year, $121.5 million contract last offseason, eliminates the risk of him getting injured, potentially ruining his trade value as well as putting the team on the hook for $40.4 million over the next two years due to injury guarantees in his contract. Instead, the Raiders can move on from a healthy Carr this offseason while incurring a minimal dead cap hit of about $5.6 million.

Which brings us to why we’re here. If the Raiders indeed decide to go in a different direction at quarterback, that means they’re likely going to try and trade Carr, who, it must be noted, has a no-trade clause in his contract and will be able to steer any trade discussions because of it. Theoretically, Carr could block a trade altogether and force the Raiders to either cut him or bring him back.

Under the scenario he’s amenable to a trade, what teams might be interested? Well, there is certainly no shortage of teams that could use improved quarterback play, but you’d have to think a team like Houston, among others in the early stages of rebuilding, is likely aiming for younger options who can be secured in the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, teams like Indianapolis might be sick of trying to solve their QB woes with another team’s castoff.

Even still, that leaves a handful of organizations that might be interested in a three-time Pro Bowler who recently helped lead the Raiders through an extremely adverse 2021 season and into the playoffs. Those teams could try and wait out the Raiders, hoping they cut Carr, but given the lack of palatable options on the veteran market and the price to move up and acquire a young QB in the draft, that could be a dangerous game to play.

While Carr’s recent play has probably left a sour taste in the mouths of some evaluators, it’s worth remembering that Carr’s game is generally well-appreciated by executives around the league, as he finished 12th in The Athletic’s Mike Sando’s Quarterback Tiers survey just five months ago. Of course, Carr hasn’t exactly played exceptionally in the time since — he’s thrown a league-leading 14 interceptions and is sporting his lowest passer rating since his rookie season — but he’s still likely to hold appeal based on his solid first eight seasons in the league.

How much appeal, exactly? Well, let’s field some offers and find out.

go-deeper

As the person repping an organization that traded two third-round picks last season and took on an eye-opening contract for a quarterback in Carr’s range-ish, my hand is up. There’s a world in which Carson Wentz flashes his big arm over the final two regular-season games while leading Washington to the postseason. Keeping him — while renegotiating his $26.2 million next season — would allow the offense to build on any progress this season rather than have a fourth different Week 1 starter in coach Ron Rivera’s four seasons.

go-deeper

However, assuming Wentz wows is dangerous based on his past two-plus seasons. Additionally, there is no guaranteed money remaining on the final two years of his contract. Meanwhile, Taylor Heinicke is a 2023 free agent. The Commanders will draft well outside the expected range of top prospects (currently slated to pick No. 21), meaning the best shot at a QB upgrade is in the veteran market.

Besides, the offense runs deep with playmakers like receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, plus a foundational ground game with Brian Robinson. Meanwhile, the defense played at a top-10 level for much of the season and should have a healthy Chase Young chasing passers at the start of next season.

If they can rebuild the offensive line and keep free-agent DT Daron Payne, adding a stable quarterback might be enough to contend. Even though his upcoming cap hits are brutal, if they see Carr as a better option than Wentz, free agent Jimmy Garoppolo or any other available candidate, offering up a 2023 second-round pick and a conditional 2024 second-rounder — let’s make it the same stakes as the Wentz trade and say it reverts to a third-round choice if Carr doesn’t play 70 percent of the team’s snaps next season — seems doable. — Ben Standig 

The Saints haven’t found any consistency at quarterback in the two seasons since Drew Brees retired. Head coach Dennis Allen hasn’t gone back to Jameis Winston despite Andy Dalton’s struggles, so their quarterback of the future very clearly isn’t on the roster.

The Saints also don’t own a first-round pick — though maybe a Sean Payton trade changes that? — so they aren’t assured of a top prospect in the draft. Allen can’t afford another season of offensive disarray and assume his job would be safe in 2024. Meanwhile, the top free agents, Tom Brady and Garoppolo, make better sense for other teams.

So unless the Saints are going to make a run at someone like Zach Wilson or hope Hendon Hooker falls to them in the second round, they’ve got to make a run at someone like Carr to spark an offense that has weapons but has been dormant for too long.

I’d offer the Saints’ second-round pick, which is currently projected to be 41st overall. And quite frankly, because the Saints are short on options and can’t continue spinning the QB roulette wheel, I’d add two or three Day 3 picks — let’s say fourth- and fifth-rounders — to get it done in case anyone else is offering something comparable to No. 41. — Jeff Howe

It is no secret the Jets are looking for an answer at quarterback, especially since Zach Wilson failed what is a playoff-caliber roster. The Jets will spend the next few weeks figuring out if Mike White is a legitimate starting option, but Carr would obviously be a more surefire upgrade — and it doesn’t hurt that he’ll still only be 32 in 2023.

go-deeper

I have a hard time believing the Jets would give up a lot for a player at Carr’s current salary, so there would need to be some negotiation to bring down Carr’s significant upcoming cap hits. The Jets are currently only projected for around $15 million in cap space for 2023, with a number of key financial decisions to make and other holes to fill. Quinnen Williams is on the verge of an Aaron Donald-esque payday, and key players like George Fant, Connor McGovern, Sheldon Rankins, Quincy Williams, Lamarcus Joyner and Greg Zuerlein are all set to hit free agency. They’ll likely have to make some tough cuts (think Corey Davis, C.J. Mosley and/or Carl Lawson) to clear enough cap space to upgrade the roster — especially on the offensive line, which looks like a real problem area.

But ultimately, if the Jets believe they really are just a quarterback away from the playoffs, I expect owner Woody Johnson wants GM Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh to find the right guy to get them back into legitimate contention.

I am tempted to offer Wilson to the Raiders to give them a young developmental QB option, but McDaniels might be coaching for his job, so that seems unlikely. Since Carr feels more likely to be cut than traded — and the Jets will have interest in Garoppolo — I don’t think Douglas would offer much more than a Day 2 pick. So that’s what I’ll go with: a 2023 third-round pick, and throw in a 2024 fifth-rounder, too. — Zack Rosenblatt

Atlanta currently is auditioning third-round rookie Desmond Ridder, whom the Falcons picked at No. 74 in April, for the starting job. Ridder’s passer rating (73.8) and completion percentage (59.3) rank 33rd among quarterbacks with starts this year, and the Falcons have averaged 13.5 points in his two starts, both losses. Head coach Arthur Smith has not given up on Ridder, pointing out several areas in which he has progressed, but Smith will be entering Year 3 of his tenure next year, and he needs to start winning.

go-deeper

The Falcons have the sixth pick right now and figure to finish somewhere in the top 10, meaning someone from the Bryce Young-C.J. Stroud-Will Levis triumvirate should be available to them, but entering a crucial season by breaking in another rookie may not be appealing to Smith.

Atlanta won’t overpay for Carr, but it can afford to give up some draft capital because it will have a lot of free agent flexibility as soon as $70 million worth of dead money (most of it from the Matt Ryan and Julio Jones deals) comes off the books at the end of the season. If the Falcons could convince Carr they have a bright future under Smith and get the Raiders interested with say their 2023 and 2024 second-round picks, they could be dark horses in this conversation. — Josh Kendall

If Tom Brady retires or, ironically, joins the Raiders, the Bucs should kick the tires on Carr. If they go with a full rebuild or quarterback Kyle Trask gets the job and fails, jobs will be on the line.

There would be obvious concerns with Carr in the Bucs’ offensive system — which Brady couldn’t even save this season – but they need Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to be happy with a veteran quarterback. The division is going to remain winnable — two of the other teams making offers here are from the NFC South, and the Panthers certainly don’t have their quarterback of the future — especially if the defense can improve after an inconsistent season.

go-deeper

I’d offer the Bucs’ second-round pick, which is currently projected to be No. 51 if they win the NFC South and lose in the first round of the playoffs. If they miss the playoffs, it could be in the neighborhood of the 40th pick.

If the Bucs can somehow find a new direction on offense, Carr would keep them relevant in the post-Brady era. — Jeff Howe

The decision

The Raiders will likely want to hold out to receive at least one first-round pick for Carr, but they’d be playing with fire if they drag things on too long considering the deadline built into his contract. On Feb. 15, all of his $32.9 million salary in 2023 and $7.5 million of his $41.9 million salary in 2024 becomes guaranteed.

That wouldn’t stop them from trading him, of course, but it gives Carr all of the leverage when it comes to using his no-trade clause to heavily influence his destination because they would no longer be able to cut him without taking a significant dead cap hit. With such a short window to work with before that scenario comes into play, it’s realistic to expect the Raiders to be willing to lower their asking price to a collection of Day 2 and 3 picks in order to recoup some assets for Carr rather than ending up with nothing or being forced to keep him for another season.

Carr will still have control over where he goes in any trade negotiations because of his no-trade clause, but there’s logic behind being able to convince him to accept a trade to all of these suitors. Washington has an intriguing collection of offensive talent, and their defense is better than any Carr has ever played with. But would he want a reunion of sorts with Jack Del Rio, his former head coach and the Commanders defensive coordinator?

The Jets have a strong collection of ascending, young talent on both sides of the ball and play in the biggest market there is. The Falcons have an up-and-coming head coach, potential star receiving options in Drake London and Kyle Pitts and plenty of cap space to build up their defense. The Bucs are probably the least appealing destination, but Evans and Godwin are excellent receiving options, and the offensive line will be damn good once it’s healthy again. The Saints have another one of Carr’s former head coaches in Dennis Allen, some good weapons on offense and another defense that’s better than any he’s ever played with.

On the Raiders side of things, the Commanders and Falcons, who are both offering two second-round picks (though Washington’s comes with a playing time condition), are offering the best packages. They’d probably nudge both teams to see if they’d be willing to add conditions to the 2024 second-round pick that could turn it into a first-rounder, but they’d still consider both either way. The Falcons’ offer is better because their 2023 second-round pick is better — they’re set to pick No. 38 while the Commanders are at No. 53 — but that’s where Carr’s preferences come into play. The Falcons have a better offensive line and more cap space to work with, but the Commanders have a decent amount of cap space, a more proven collection of skill position talent and a much better defense.

That being the case, I’m pulling the trigger with the Raiders reaching an agreement to send Carr to the Commanders for their 2023 second-round pick and a conditional 2024 second-round pick. Carr has only missed two games in his career due to injury, so the Raiders aren’t worried about his durability. And, while the Falcons’ offer of two surefire second-round picks is better, that just doesn’t seem like a landing spot that Carr would sign off on.

From there, the Raiders can pursue their Carr replacement — perhaps attempting to sign Brady, trade for Aaron Rodgers or draft their quarterback of the future — and enter a new era in Las Vegas.  — Tashan Reed

(Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)

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