With a 1-5 record, the Oakland Raiders have been one of the worst teams in the NFL and recently traded star wide receiver Amari Cooper. However, it appears that Derek Carr is safe.
As the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Jon Gruden’s job since Day 1 has been to help Derek Carr get back on track. Carr was a legitimate MVP candidate in the 2016 season, averaging 262.5 passing yards per game with 28 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. However, the Fresno State product fell back down to earth in 2017 and has been even sloppier this season under Gruden.
The Raiders are in contention for the No. 1 overall pick in 2019 with a 1-5 record, and it already seems like Gruden, whose buyout makes him impossible to fire, is plowing forward with a full rebuild. After trading away the team’s best player, edge rusher Khalil Mack, prior to the start of the season, Gruden dealt disgruntled wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for another first-round pick.
Nobody seems to be safe on the Raiders roster, except for their starting quarterback. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Raiders informed Carr that he see him as their starting quarterback for the “forseeable future”, indicating that he may be the only player on this team that is safe from being traded before the deadline.
The Raiders don’t have any alternatives at the quarterback position right now, so that may be the biggest reason why Carr, who has 7 touchdowns and 8 interceptions this year, is deemed safe. A former second-round pick and previously one of the most promising young quarterback in the league, Carr has fallen on hard times but clearly has the talent to make it work again. Providing him with a better supporting cast should be Gruden’s first priority, if he is indeed sold on Carr.
However, it’s hard to take Gruden’s word at face value. His votes of confidence seem like kisses of death, and it seems like players in Oakland don’t even trust Gruden after he traded Cooper when he initially commented that the wideout would not be sent packing.
Carr has been the subject of a rather insidious report regarding his status as a leader in the Raiders locker room, and the source of the leak should be called into question. Given that Gruden has traded two star players in the midst of talk that those players would not be dealt, Carr is likely on a much shorter leash than this report may indicate.
That said, it would be a shock for Carr to be traded. The Raiders don’t have any alternatives, he’s too important to the organization, and he’s played at a high level before. ESPN reports that safety Karl Joseph and edge rusher Bruce Irvin are more likely to be traded, despite comments from Gruden that nobody else will be traded after Cooper, and they have been involved in rumors for several weeks.