While the sports cliche says that defense wins championships, modern football starts and ends with your quarterback. If you have a stud under center, no game is out of reach; if you have a scrub under center, your upside is limited. Both the Las Vegas Raiders and the Chicago Bears know that reality all too well.
Quarterback Derek Carr wasn’t the answer in Oakland, but the Bears haven’t done much better with Mitchell Trubisky. Does that mean the Raiders’ signal-caller could be heading to Chicago in the offseason?
Derek Carr’s career with the Raiders
During high school, Derek Carr bounced between California and Texas as his brother, David, started his professional career. No matter where he played, though, he put up big numbers.
In college, however, it took Carr a little longer to find his footing. The quarterback enrolled at Fresno State, but didn’t win the starting job during his freshman season; the next year, he sat out as a redshirt. Carr finally stepped into the lead role as a redshirt sophomore during the fall of 2011. He threw for 3,554 yards and 26 touchdowns that year, and only continued to improve after that.
During Carr’s senior season, he threw for 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns. On the back of that performance, the Oakland Raiders selected the quarterback with the 36th overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft. Carr entered training camp as the back-up but outdueled Matt Schaub for the starting job. In six seasons, however, he hasn’t been able to get the club over the hump.
Other than an MVP-quality 2016 season, Carr hasn’t really moved the needle in Oakland. He’s gone 39-55 while throwing for 22,793 yards, 143 touchdowns, and 62 interceptions; while he’ll have some great performances and drop some stinkers, he’s a mid-tier performer.
Is Derek Carr headed to the Chicago Bears?
While Derek Carr isn’t the Las Vegas Raiders’ biggest problem, he’s still been the subject of some offseason speculation. Jon Gruden is reportedly considering bringing in his own quarterback for the team’s first season in Sin City; Carr himself recently threw some fuel on the fire, too.
On Instagram, Carr posted a picture of himself and Khalil Mack; the linebacker, of course, played in Oakland before Gruden traded him to the Chicago Bears. The image launched a wave of speculation that the quarterback would be reuniting with his former teammate.
According to Carr’s brother, however, that speculation might be unfounded. “His son’s favorite movie is Trolls,” David Carr said on the NFL Network. “He’s just having fun. It’s the offseason.”
Trolling or not, a move to the Chicago Bears could make sense
During the offseason, every social media post and off-hand comment can launch the next batch of rumors. Derek Carr heading to the Chicago Bears, however, could make sense.
While Carr isn’t the problem with the Oakland Raiders, he probably isn’t the solution either; if they’re serious about landing Tom Brady, the existing quarterback becomes expendable. Carr could be good enough for the Chicago Bears, though. Although the club hasn’t given up on Mitchell Trubisky yet, having an experienced veteran who’s capable of stepping in and steadying the ship couldn’t hurt.
There are, of course, logistical issues, though. Even if the Raiders bring someone like Tom Brady or Philip Rivers to town, free agency doesn’t open for a month; it’s unlikely they’d move Carr before then. It’s also worth remembering who holds the leverage. If Las Vegas wants to trade Carr, they’re under no obligation to send him to the destination of his choice. The Bears will also theoretically have a tough time fitting the quarterback under the salary cap.
This offseason, there’s going to be plenty of quarterback movement. Trolling or not, Derek Carr might be a part of it.