That’s a lot of numbers and years to digest, isn’t it? Exactly.
Because when you try to break down the most polarizing player in franchise history, his fans love him; his detractors hate him – and what his future with the Raiders might hold, well, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers.
Because on the one hand, there’s the 4,804 passing yards this season, the NFL’s record six wins, the 30 career-winning carries, and the myriad built-in reasons why the game has always been stacked against him. , from the lack of a true No. 1 receiver to a terrible makeshift offensive line in the face of the seemingly endless off-field situations the Raiders have faced in 2021.
On the other, Carr is what he is – a solid top half league QB who has lost 14 more games than he has won in his career on the other side of the 30 who would have could reach its ceiling. In other words, after eight cursed seasons, the Raiders know what they’ve got.
All of this begs the question – with his biggest supporter in the coach building Jon Gruden gone, a new general manager on the way with Mike Mayock fired and a new head coach if owner Mark Davis steps away from Rich Bisaccia, do the Raiders stick with a known product in Carr, or does the organization suffer a third takedown in a decade and part ways with the guy who holds virtually every passing record in league history? ‘team?
Consider: Carr is entering the final year of the then-record five-year, $125 million contract extension he signed in the summer of 2017. And while there have been rumors of another extension , nothing has happened yet.
In a corner, the Raiders could pull the card they tried to use on Khalil Mack in 2018. That’s when they assumed the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year would play on a $13 million option, with the team then making him the league’s highest. defensive player paid in 2019. Mack faltered, held on, and the Raiders blinked, trading him to the Chicago Bears.
Las Vegas could potentially deal Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow with extensions first, playing Carr 2022 the final year of his contract, which earns him more than $19.8 million and has no dead money, and is rocking a $35-million franchise tag ahead of it for 2023. No long-term commitments.
Crazy talk? Quarterbacks never play on expiring contracts? Would that be insulting to Carr?
Since the franchise tag was introduced in 1993, one quarterback has played under one tag five times — Drew Brees for the San Diego Chargers in 2005 ($8.1 million), Kirk Cousins for Washington in 2016 and 2017 ($19.9 million and $23.9 million, respectively). ) and Dak Prescott for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 ($31.14 million), per ESPN Stats & Information.
Plus, it takes Carr at his word. Remember, he said he wasn’t in the NFL for financial gain or “worldly things.” He wants to win. That he won’t go “to dinner” with the team leaders and make demands, but rather that he will “let my voice be heard in a different way.”
That he “would probably quit football if I had to play for someone else”.
Carr, who was considering retiring after his rookie season to become a full-time pastor, said this past offseason.
“I’m a lifelong Raider,” he added at the time. “I’m going to be rooting for one team for the rest of my life – it’s the Raiders. So, I just feel that strong in my heart, I don’t need a perfect situation… to make things right.
“I’d rather go down with the ship, you know what I’m saying, if I have to.”
This latest statement raised more than a few eyebrows at Raiders HQ. So you would have to think that Davis, the new general manager and whoever the coach is, will have a bargaining chip that is not at all insulting.
Again, while a new GM and coach may feel more comfortable stepping into a new situation with a known product at quarterback, they may also want to start fresh. And Carr could be an attractive trade target for multiple teams, earning valuable draft picks for a Raiders team looking more to reload than rebuild.
Which brings us back to the 26-19 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, where the Raiders were 1 for 5 inside the red zone. They finished 27th in the league in redzone efficiency this season, and the tease of an end was a microcosm of Carr’s final years with the Raiders, if not his entire tenure.
First and goal at 9: Carr spiked the ball with 30 seconds left and no time out. Bisaccia said there was a “communication problem” at the time. “I think we would have been better off trying to play the game,” Bisaccia said.
Second and goal at 9: Carr fired double cover on Zay Jones in midfield in the shallow end of the end zone. The pass was almost taken away.
Third and goal at 9: Carr had time and threw a pass to Renfrow in the front left corner of the end zone. But Renfrow slipped and fell and the ball hit the turf.
Fourth and goal at 9: Carr immediately returned to Jones, firing a fastball at him. He was short of the end zone, a pet peeve of Carr’s critics who bemoan him for throwing short of the sticks and when he threw the ball on fourth down. He was intercepted by Germaine Pratt.
Ball game. Season.
Yet you only look at the statistics and wonder what the problem is?
Because while Carr became the first Raiders quarterback since Jim Plunkett on Jan. 8, 1983, to throw for at least 300 yards in a playoff game, Carr passed 4 of 17 in the red zone, the second-most of incompleteness in the red zone. in a game over the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
And because Carr has been behind in games, the game-sealing INT was his ninth league-high turnover in the fourth quarter or in overtime this season, including the playoffs.
Indeed, as polarizing as Carr is, he is just as perplexing.
Still, Carr was talking about the near future after the loss.
“I’ve been in this situation before, after the 2016 season,” he said, referring to missing that playoff trip with a broken right ankle.
“But I think we came back arrogant, a bit pompous. We didn’t work as hard and probably had a more talented team back then. The will now is to make sure that doesn’t happen… we got a little taste of that, and it did something to my heart. I thought I was on fire. I can’t stop playing in the playoffs anymore.
But for whom?