There's smoke here and Derek Carr is coming to the Bears, right?
You might want to believe that if you, the Bears fan who’s given up on Mitch Trubisky, read into Carr's caption-free Thursday Instagram post. The photo was of Carr, who’s still employed by the Raiders, with his good friend Khalil Mack.
Couple Carr’s confusingly similarly named brother, David, posting a hashtag (#megaPowers) on it and the inference is crystal clear, right? This can only mean one thing: Carr will quarterback the Bears in 2020.
He doesn’t regularly post pictures with Mack. In fact, you’d have to go back to Feb of 2017 to see anything Mack related so the fact he posts one amid all the trade rumors is not a coincidence— raider nation (@jmnz2k) February 21, 2020
That’s the good stuff.
Welcome to the silliness of NFL free agency, where Stefon Diggs deleting photos of himself in a Minnesota Vikings uniform means the moody receiver definitely wants to be traded (that happened with Jordan Howard two years ago and…Howard was not traded).
Know how to interpret a single emoji in a tweet from an impending free agent or disgruntled star? Congrats! You're qualified to be an NFL insider.
Now: Carr posting a photo with one of his closest buddies means he very well could want a reunion with Mack in Chicago.
Nevermind the minor details of Carr 1) Still being on a Raiders team that doesn’t currently have his replacement on the roster and won’t until mid-March at the earliest, 2) carrying a $21.5 million cap hit in 2020, about $7 million more than the Bears’ available salary cap and 3) not having any control over where he’d go if the Raiders were to trade him.
Maybe Carr found a picture of himself and his best friend, and posted it for no other reason than it was a good photo, as those of us on Instagram often do.
More importantly, The Bears look unlikely to make a splash move at quarterback if you follow the money. Carr is too expensive to trade for while also successfully filling red-line needs at tight end, right guard, inside linebacker and safety.
Or maybe there is smoke here and the Raiders have made it clear to Carr they’re going to explore the quarterback market (maybe with Cam Newton, maybe with Tom Brady), and he’s starting to agitate for a trade to Chicago. Maybe the Bears are back-channeling some discussions to make sure they’re at the front of Mike Mayock’s mind when he tries to find a landing spot for Carr in the event he and Jon Gruden lure Brady to Las Vegas. The Bears, theoretically, could trade for Carr and sign him to an extension that makes his 2020 cap hit more palatable.
You can see why the Bears might want Carr, who's had success in the past, is cheap relative to other starting quarterbacks and could be viewed as this franchise's version of Alex Smith. But that’s a long way off.
And it’s not unprecedented for a vague Instagram post to portend the future. Remember when Allen Robinson posted a photo of himself in a Cubs jersey a month before signing in Chicago?
Or another possibility — and this tracks the most: Maybe Carr is just messing with everyone, knowing his name has been mentioned by the media as a potential trade target.
As Instagram user angel.et.03 so elegantly put it in a comment: “Carr just f***ing with us at this point.”
Good on Carr if he is. He certainly succeeded.
Then again: Of the 70,000+ likes the photo has, one of them is from the user “fiftydeuce,” — Mack himself.