Raiders took a close look at two top quarterbacks entering last year’s NFL draft. Head coach Jon Gruden, general manager Mike Mayock and offensive coordinator Greg Olson had dinner with Kyler Murray at a fancy Dallas restaurant last spring and worked him out extensively the following day.
They met with and worked out Dwayne Haskins shortly after that. The Raiders said the evaluation was due diligence -- the Raiders held the Nos. 4, 24 and 27 overall picks in last year’s draft, not a signal of displeasure with Carr.
That didn’t stop the speculation that the Raiders were contemplating a change at quarterback that was never made. It simply rehashed an old line that Gruden and Carr can’t work together well. False logic that has existed since Gruden returned as the Raiders head coach two years ago.
Carr knows that to be flatly untrue. All that 2019 offseason chatter still bothered him, as his brother David Carr, former Houston Texans quarterback and current NFL Network analyst said last week.
“I would say that last year, just based on the player he knows that he is, he felt like the whole offseason was frustrating,” David Carr told NBC Sports California in Miami before Super Bowl LIV. “Once again, [the outside narrative] was about whether Jon and Derek could get along together and work through all this stuff. He sees his relationship with Jon Gruden as really good. From a private standpoint, it was frustrating to have all that public [media and social media] banter going on.”
It has kicked back up again already, with reports the Raiders would go hard after Tom Brady should he not resign with the Patriots. They’ve been going strong since Brady and Raiders owner Mark Davis were photographed conversing at a UFC fight and crescendoed Sunday with ESPN’s Adam Schefter saying the Raiders would be major players should the longtime New England signal-caller hit the open market.
This follows a 2019 campaign where Carr set several personal bests but might’ve been criticized more than ever by the Raiders fan base. He was booed off the field in his last two Oakland home games, including a messy scene after the team’s East Bay finale where water bottles and food were thrown onto the field as he and other teammates personally thanked members of the Black Hole for their support.
Carr said after the Raiders season he was looking forward to the “fresh air” of a 2020 relocation to Las Vegas. Fans continue to wonder and debate whether he should be starting quarterback when Allegiant Stadium opening next summer.
That’s fueled by the fact that Carr’s contract is easily escaped. There are three years remaining on a deal through 2022, with $5 million in dead money attached to his departure this offseason, $2.5 million the next and no penalty entering the contract’s final year. He currently has no guaranteed money left on the deal, though $2.9 million locks in Wednesday.
Gruden left all windows open when asked about Carr right after the season’s end. Mayock has addressed the topic twice in offseason interviews, praising Carr’s progress while saying he’ll evaluate and look for upgrades at every position.
David Carr says all this talk doesn’t impact Derek the way it did last time around.
“This year, in the small amount of time I’ve talked to him about it in the offseason, he’s over it,” David Carr said. “He’s over it and just trying to get to Las Vegas. He thinks, ‘give me one more piece on offense. [Lets] fix the defense, maybe add a linebacker and some get some other pieces and the Raiders will be in the Super Bowl.’ That’s his mindset. He’s not giving any time, really, to all of that. He went through that last year. He’s not worried about any of that now. He says, ‘Jon and I are great.’ He wants to get the job done. They didn’t get the job done last year. But that’s where his mindset is. Honestly, he’s over it.”
David considers that a healthier perspective on proceedings and a storyline that will never die.
“It’s much better to be where he’s at instead of trying to worry about it,” the analyst said. “I feel like, last year, he did. He wondered why everyone was saying things. Derek thought he and Jon Gruden got along great. The fact the public narrative was different was frustrating. Now he sees the same thing happening again and he’s just over it. He and Gruden have a great relationship. ‘Just give me some pieces and we’ll do great things.’ That’s where he’s at mentally.”