Mike Mayock will take a good, long look at Derek Carr this offseason.
The new Raiders general manager has a lot to catch up on, now that he’s been hired as the team’s top personnel evaluator. He’ll have to study every player on the roster to get a read on them, while also preparing for free agency and the draft.
But Carr’s position, certainly, is the most important on the entire team, and Carr had a season with plenty of highs and lows that will take time for Mayock to absorb.
After all, if the Raiders were willing to trade away their best player in Khalil Mack, and another top-tier talent in wide receiver Amari Cooper, it’s not impossible to believe they could trade Carr, too.
When Mayock was asked during his news conference this week if Carr is the franchise’s long-term quarterback, Mayock didn’t make any promises, one way or the other. He said that examining Carr on film and talking to the coaching staff will be “part of my study.”
Carr still has four years left on his contract with Oakland, and is set to make $22.5 million in 2019.
Certainly, all of the responsibility for the Raiders’ 4-12 record can’t be dumped at Carr’s feet. The team’s defense was a wreck, the offensive line was inconsistent and the receiving corps was suspect. With a better cast around him, Carr would have been a winning quarterback once again, as he was in 2016.
Carr passed for more than 4,000 yards for the first time in his career as he became the team’s No. 2 passer (behind Ken Stabler) in career yardage. He had 4,049 yards, 20 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 93.9, second only to his 96.7 of 2016. At one point, too, he had a streak of 332 attempts without throwing an interception. His 68.9 percent completion percentage was a career best by more than five points.
Plus, he’s one of the best in the NFL at getting passes away quickly. His average release time of 2.41 seconds in 2018 was third quickest among all qualifying quarterbacks.
But, Carr also was a different QB in Jon Gruden’s system, often throwing much shorter routes than in past years. As Mike Guerrelli of the analytic website Pro Football Focus noted, in the final game of the season vs. Kansas City, Carr threw just four passes of more than 10 yards and only completed one for 13 yards.
But as the season progressed, Gruden and Carr seemed to be more in tune with one another, and Gruden – who will have more pull than Mayock – has said he values Carr. Carr, meanwhile, says he must continue to be better.
“I want to be better next year than I’ve ever been, and I think with these coaches – I know with these coaches – I can be, because they did it for me this year, even though it wasn’t ideal,” Carr told the media after the Chiefs game.