As the NFL Wild Card weekend begins on Saturday, 14 teams are still alive in the playoffs while the other 18 teams are already in offseason mode.
One of the biggest storylines developing among non-playoff teams is the future of longtime Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who penned his farewell letter to fans on Thursday morning.
January 12, 2023
Carr made it clear that while he won’t be wearing the Silver and Black anymore, his career in the NFL is far from over.
“I once said that if I am not a Raider then I would rather be at home, and I meant that, but I never envisioned it ending this way,” the 31-year-old former Fresno State Bulldog wrote. “That fire burning inside of me to win a championship still rages ... So I look forward to a new city and a new team. Winning a championship is what I’ve always wanted and what I will continue to work toward.”
The Raiders are now evaluating the trade market for Carr, who has a no-trade clause that means he has to sign off on any prospective deal. The team also has a deadline of Feb. 15 (three days after the Super Bowl) to finalize a trade, if that doesn’t happen he will most likely be released and become a coveted free agent.
There are several potential fits for Carr around the league, and a hand full of them are still in the playoffs. Here are five teams in the postseason that could make sense as Carr suitors, based on circumstances at their current quarterback situation.
This may be a long shot, but there could be a circumstance in which the Ravens need a new quarterback. Of course, that would mean contract talks with Lamar Jackson deteriorate to the point where the team needs to trade Jackson. It probably won’t get to that point, but if the Ravens fear they can’t find a contract solution with Jackson, they could look at a veteran like Carr. The Ravens would have to adjust their offense somewhat, but Carr could fit with a solid overall roster. Carr, who can dictate where he goes in a swap, probably would be interested in the Ravens.
This fit would come into play if there is long-term concern about the health of Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered multiple concussions during the regular season. If the Dolphins are suddenly in the quarterback market three years after using the No. 5 overall pick on Tagovailoa, getting a veteran like Carr could be a strong option. He’d also probably mesh with head coach Mike McDaniel well and playing in South Florida on a playoff team would most likely appeal to Carr.
New York Giants
Daniel Jones is a free agent. While he has fit well with first-year New York Giants coach Brian Daboll, Jones may not be interested in doing the Giants any favors after they declined his fifth-year option last spring. He could opt to see what’s out there on the open market. So turning to a veteran like Carr could appeal to the Giants. This may be tough since free agency starts after the Carr deadline, but if the Giants decide they would prefer Carr over Jones, they could make Jones’ decision for him.
Like Jones, Seahawks’ starter Geno Smith is a free agent. He had a terrific 2022 season and the Seahawks and Smith will likely be interested in continuing their relationship. Yet, Smith might be interested to seeing what’s available to him on the open market. If the Seahawks get the feeling that Smith is thinking about moving on, they could shift gears to Carr and probably not suffer a downgrade at the position,
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes, Tom Brady and Carr could switch places this offseason as the rumors are already swirling that the Raiders will make a play for Brady in free agency ... and there’s plenty of reasons to believe them. Raiders’ owner Mark Davis wanted Brady in free agency three years ago and Brady was with Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels and several other key Raiders people for several years in New England. So, if Brady gives the Buccaneers the feeling he is moving on, the Bucs could pivot to pursuing Carr. A Carr-Tampa Bay union could work for both sides.