The Raiders find themselves in a good position when it comes to their quarterback situation this offseason.
Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota are healthy with team-friendly contracts, making them both attractive trade chips on the market this offseason for Las Vegas. At the rate the NFL rumor mill is going, Matthew Stafford could be just the first of several high-profile quarterbacks to switch jerseys before the 2021 season starts.
When it comes to Las Vegas, The Athletic cited sources who say the Raiders would rather trade Mariota, who is owed a hefty contract for a backup but low-end deal for a QB1.
“Multiple sources, including one GM, told The Athletic the Raiders’ preference is to move Marcus Mariota and keep Carr, unless someone makes them a ridiculous offer for Carr,” The Athletic staff wrote. “Mariota has been mentioned as a possibility in New England, with the hope he could become for the Patriots what Ryan Tannehill has been for Mike Vrabel in Tennessee. Mariota has a $10.7 million cap hit, which is how much the Raiders can save — with no dead money — if they can deal him.”
Mariota accounted for two touchdowns, including one rushing, in a Week 15 overtime loss to the Chargers while filling in for Carr, but the 27-year-old should be fresh after spending most of the year on the sidelines.
Las Vegas’ front office deserves credit for structuring the contracts of its quarterbacks, as Carr is owed $22.125 million this season, with just $2.5 million of dead money for the Raiders to swallow should they trade him. Carr’s salary is projected to rank No. 15 among quarterbacks in 2021, which is reasonable for the durable 30-year-old who has eclipsed 4,000 yards while starting each game in the last three seasons.
But after seeing the Los Angeles Rams reportedly send the Detroit Lions such a big haul for Matthew Stafford, the Raiders likely would try to milk Carr for everything he’s worth in a trade. The Athletic also reported on what Las Vegas might need in return.
“As for the trade cost should Carr be made available — that would mean a comparable or better QB heading to Las Vegas — league sources don’t see Las Vegas receiving multiple first-round selections for Carr,” The Athletic wrote. “But in comparison to Wentz, one GM sees Carr bringing back a greater trade haul because he is the safer bet of the two. Wentz offers higher upside but needs a revival after a dismal 2020.”
With a shrinking salary cap and a hot market for quarterbacks, it doesn’t make much sense for the Raiders to have two high-priced signal-callers. Don’t be surprised if Mariota or Carr is on another team by the time the 2021 season rolls around.
For what it’s worth, Jon’s brother, NFL coach Jay Gruden, says he can’t envision the team cutting ties with Carr.
“I never know what Jon’s gonna do. But I’d be shocked, really,” Jay Gruden told The Athletic. “The way that Derek played this year, I don’t know why he’d want to get rid of him. But who knows, if there’s another guy out there that they really, really like, it is a business at the end of the day.”