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Are Raiders plotting to trade Derek Carr, pursue Deshaun Watson?

With the ink still drying on the Jared Goff-Matt Stafford trade, Mike Florio and Chris Simms look at what, if anything, this means for Deshaun Watson in his quest to leave Houston.

The quarterback carousel is spinning, and one of the riders has a perpetual scowl on his face.

Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that “several NFL insiders” expect the Raiders to field calls regarding a potential trade of quarterback Derek Carr. Bonsignore suggests that the expected demand for Carr could result in a three-team trade that would result in the Raiders trading Carr and acquiring quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Texans. (Presumably, the Texans don’t want Derek Carr, perhaps because of its experience with his brother, David.)

The story suggests that the Raiders could get two first-round picks for Carr. That seems a little high, frankly.

The sourcing for the report seems confusing, to say the least. Are “NFL insiders” coaches, team executives, media members, agents, players, or some combination of those categories? (As used in the industry, the term “NFL Insider” typically refers to someone in the media.) In Carr’s case, “insiders” suggest the possibility of a three-team deal. And an “NFL Insider” applied the potential price tag of two first-round picks onto the transaction.

Frankly, this feels like an effort -- either gratuitous or subtly requested by the team -- to kick-start a potential trade market for Carr, and to introduce the concept of the Raiders being a potential suitor for Watson. After all, G.M. Mike Mayock said last week that Carr had an “exceptional” year, while also repeating the notion that the team is always looking to upgrade at every position.

Carr was good last year, but he wasn’t a Pro Bowler. Carr finished 14th in completions, 11th in yardage, 11th in touchdowns. He ranked 10th in passer rating, 10th in completion percentage, and he finished in a three-way tie for fifth in average per attempt.

As to the original nugget reported by Bonsignore, that the Raiders are expected to field calls regarding a potential trade for Carr, that’s not a surprise. In the offseason, General Managers always talk and always inquire about the availability of players, regardless of whether the player officially is on the trade market. Given that the Raiders have seem to have a perpetual attitude of ambivalence about Carr, any team looking for a quarterback would be wise to see whether the Raiders are willing to move him and what the Raiders would want.

If the notion that Carr is available takes root, maybe the calls will come more quickly and more frequently. Maybe the Raiders will get an offer that they won’t want to refuse for Carr. Regardless of whether that leads to making a run at Watson, the Raiders possibly regard Carr’s fringe top-10 performance of 2020 as an opportunity to sell high.