Two weeks ago, the Raiders had a 6-4 record, with only a game against the hapless (supposedly) Jets standing in the way of a showdown between a pair of 7-4 franchises in Kansas City for first place in the AFC West.
Then came a 34-3 loss to the hapless (supposedly) Jets, followed by a 40-9 loss to the Chiefs. Now, the Raiders are 6-6 and fading fast in the chase for one of the six AFC playoff berths.
At the heart of the meltdown is quarterback Derek Carr, and he knows it.
“I’ve had a rough two weeks,” Carr told reporters on Wednesday, via Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com. “We’ve had a rough two weeks. It’s time to get back on track.”
The question is whether he can, whether they can, when the Titans come to town on Sunday. The bigger question is whether the Raiders will keep Carr after the current season.
Only $2.9 million of Carr’s 2020 salary in the amount of $18.9 million becomes fully guaranteed in early February. The Raiders could cut him before it vests, or given the relatively small amount the Raiders can let it vest and then cut or trade him later.
They also could keep him, but as Vincent Bonsignore, now of the Las Vegas Review-Journal explains it, the Raiders should at least engage in the exercise of exploring all options — including the option of getting rid of Carr.
That one surely has to sting the thin-skinned Carr, who won’t be thrilled that the team’s hometown newspaper (as of 2020) is openly advocating a possible separation from Carr before the team ever moves to Las Vegas.
Don’t be surprised if it happens. As G.M. Mike Mayock candidly said in April, after the Raiders kicked tires on incoming rookies Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, “Derek Carr is a franchise quarterback, and we believe that. Beyond that, just like at any other position, we’re going to do our due diligence. If we found somebody we liked better, or thought had a bigger upside, you’ve got to do the right thing for the organization.”
Based on the way Carr has performed in the past two years, and given the manner in which coach Jon Gruden has had to alter his preferred sharp-tongued treatment of his quarterback given Carr’s apparent inability to deal with it, the right thing to do for the organization quite possibly will be to find a new quarterback.