What is Derek Carr’s Raiders Legacy?
So it seems, feels and now it looks like Derek Carr is officially done with the Raiders organization. Carr has been an important part of the Raider Nation since joining the NFL in 2014. Carr has sit on the bench to wrap up the season, and just days after the 2022 campaign ended, he posted a tweet that could only be classified as a “goodbye” tweet to fans of the popular series.
Not long ago, Carr stated he just wants to play for the Raiders and would rather stay home if he can’t. How quickly things changed, and just a year after reaching the knockout stages, Carr was forced to think about his future outside of the Raiders’ facility in Las Vegas. Don’t forget how much drama revolves around the ’21 following campaign Jon Gruden email scandal. Carr led the Raiders to the first (and only) playoff of his tenure.
How will Carr be remembered?
If the Carr era really ended in Las Vegas, he would statistically become one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history. In some categories, he’s the best Raid has ever produced. Carr is the leader in terms of TDs, passes and completion rate for the Raiders. Ken Stabler is the one with the closest TD passes (150), with Daryle Lamonica and Rich Gannon followed by the only other Raiders to hit 100 TD passes on the same team.
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While the former second-round pick from Fresno State has put up some respectable accumulative numbers, he trails far behind his predecessors when it comes to accolades and accomplishments. Stabler is a Hall of Famer, Lamonica a two-time All-Pro, and Gannon a league MVP. In fact, Gannon accomplished more than Carr in three fewer years with the team. Gannon was also a two-time All-Pro, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, and led the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl XXXVII. (Additionally, Jim Plunkett — who has thrown for the fifth-most yards and sixth-most TDs in franchise history — won two rings with the Raiders in the 1980s).
It’s like the LeBron James-Michael Jordan debate. No, I’m not calling Carr either of these guys, so let’s simmer down. Carr’s hold on many of the franchise passing records — attempts, completions, yards, TDs — is based on longevity, like James in the NBA. James played so much longer than Jordan and many other legends that he’ll hold a lot of the most important records in NBA history when he finally retires. Aside from Stabler, Carr played longer in a Raider uniform than many other QBs. And in the era he plays in, he should own most of the franchise’s records. But that doesn’t make him the best.
Overall production is what it came down to for Carr. He couldn’t get this team over the hump, which isn’t all his fault. But when you’re the franchise QB, you get most of the praise when things go well, then all the blame when the team struggles. It’s the nature of the beast and what you sign up for as an NFL QB.
One playoff game in nine years isn’t what makes a Hall of Fame career. The Raiders qualified for the postseason in 2016, but Carr missed that wildcard game due to an injury. Those other all-time great Raider QBs had multiple playoff wins and deep runs in the postseason. Under Carr, that hasn’t been the case.
The relationship between Carr and the fan base has often been mixed based on his up-and-down performances. Indeed, some are sad to see him go, but many others have been calling for this move for a while. Carr still has much left in the tank for another team, but his best years could be behind him. Carr is a top 20 QB at worst and more likely in the top 15.
Looking ahead… Could Carr end up in New York?
Someone will follow – perhaps the New York Jets or the Indianapolis Colts, who have recently keep moving to veteran QBs – but surely any organization will trade assets to get Carr. The Raiders need to decide by February 15 on Derek’s fate. On the other hand, he owes $40 million in bail on his contract. But technically, they can’t trade him until March 15, when the new league year begins. So it’s almost certain owner Mark Davis will release Carr within the next few weeks to avoid paying him.
Hopefully wherever Carr lands, it’s going to be a better situation in terms of how the organization is run. The Raiders had been a mess for many years and long before Carr arrived. Now Carr can continue his career and maybe have a revival. Meanwhile, Raid gamers will pick up the pieces and start their search for the future at the QB position.