From the moment the Las Vegas Raiders drafted Derek Carr, he has been their franchise quarterback. The 36th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has been to three Pro Bowls while being in the upper half of quarterbacks in performance since his debut. However, like every player, his time with the team that drafted him appears to be coming to a close.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Carr will be benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham for the Raiders final two games. Despite the team not being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, it signaled that the Raiders are ready to move on. As it appears Carr will be available this off-season, might he emerge as the top quarterback target for the New York Jets?
Derek Carr Emerges as 2023 New York Jets Quarterback Target
Who is the Real Derek Carr?
Before looking into his potential Raiders departure, fit with the Jets, or future contract, teams need to figure out who is the real Derek Carr. Over the course of nine years, Carr has thrown for over 20 touchdown passes in all but one season. He has never had a quarterback rating below 86.0 nor fewer than 3,400 yards passing since his rookie year. Not to mention, Carr also has 33 game-winning drives to his name.
Yet, here he is, likely to be searching for a new team entering his age-32 season. This comes down to his performance during the 2022 regular season. In 15 starts, Carr led the Raiders to a 6-9 record. His 14 interceptions not only tie a career-high but lead the league. A 60.8 completion percentage is his lowest since 2014, even with weapons like Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow to throw to.
No, Derek Carr’s 2022 season has not been pretty by any means. At the same time, an argument must be made for Carr’s play with lackluster protection and coaching. There is a debate as to whether this is the real Derek Carr or not. But to the New York Jets, it is hard to ignore that any of his single-season passing yards marks from 2018-2021 would have broken Joe Namath’s franchise record of 4,007 from 1967.
Fit with the New York Jets
Comparison to 2022 Jets Quarterback Play
For starters, let’s take one last look at Derek Carr’s numbers this past season. 24 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions, a 56.2 total quarterback rating, and 3,522 yards passing. To put that into perspective, Jets quarterbacks have totaled 15 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions, 3,651 yards passing, and no total quarterback rating above 48.8 (via Mike White). Simply put – Derek Carr’s potential outlier year remains better than any quarterback play Gang Green has had in 2022.
Scheme Fit with Jets
Now as for his fit, Derek Carr would easily transition into Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur‘s scheme. LaFleur wants to run the football, capitalize on play-action, and focus on getting the ball quickly to his playmakers. From 2018-2021, Carr’s completion percentage never dipped below 67%. In the Jets offense, not only would he have a high-upside backfield, but various skill position players capable of creating separation.
Raiders Post-Super Bowl Opt Out
Derek Carr’s benching is not solely because of his performance. Rather, this is about saving money moving forward. Had the veteran been hurt in the final two weeks of the season, his salary in 2023, and a portion in 2024 would become fully guaranteed. Being the team is not sold on retaining Carr after the 2022 regular season, this move made too much sense.
Despite signing a team-friendly three-year, $121.5-million contract with Las Vegas last off-season, it was never for the long-term. The team built in a potential out to limit the dead cap should he be cut. If the Fresno State product is released prior to the Super Bowl, the Raiders prevent his guaranteed money from nearly tripling. Then again, the Raiders could also look to trade the quarterback to recoup capital.
In 2023, Derek Carr will turn 32 years old. That should not fluster General Manager Joe Douglas, who enters a make-or-break off-season at the quarterback position. There are other needs across the roster, but none bigger than a proven quarterback who can take the team to the next level. For that, a multi-year deal could be in play. What will be interesting is the actual financial investment. Currently, Carr’s Raiders deal makes him among the top ten highest-paid quarterbacks. This off-season, it would be hard to imagine Douglas makes that type of commitment. Nonetheless, for a proven solution at the quarterback position, anything is possible. Therefore, Derek Carr and the Jets could be an ideal match this off-season.
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