The Raiders have a lot of needs to address this offseason, but if you take GM Mike Mayock at his word, quarterback isn’t one of them.
Jon Gruden spent most of his first season in charge of the Raiders working hard to blow up his roster. Derek Carr was one of the few big name players who managed to hold on to their starting job all year-long. Even so, he never seemed to be Gruden’s ideal choice to man the game’s most important position.
If you’re inclined to believe the team’s new GM, Carr is going to hold on to his job for at least one more season. The Raiders hired Mike Mayock to oversee personnel this offseason. He seems to be a believer in Carr. He recently told reporters that Carr is the “least of (our) problems.”
Specifically, Mayock identified Oakland’s need to improve the talent around Carr on offense. Trying to protect a relatively immobile quarterback with two rookie tackles was a particular concern for the first year general manager. He also pointed out the team’s need to become more “dynamic” in 2019.
The arrival of Mayock in the building should bring some logic to Oakland’s personnel moves. Gruden clearly arrived with a mandate to make sweeping changes. Most of the moves he made last season were aimed at dealing away veterans for future assets. That was more of a tactic than an actual plan. Hopefully for Raiders fans, Mayock can start to rebuild the team’s talent pool with some real careful thought. That’s not been an apparent hallmark of Gruden’s tenure to date.
In the case of Carr, Mayock also happens to be right. He isn’t the player that’s preventing the Raiders from becoming a competitive NFL franchise. Carr might not be the guy who ultimately lifts the Raiders back into postseason contention, but changing quarterbacks shouldn’t be at the top of the franchise’s to-do list.
Instead, the Raiders should approach this April’s draft with the intention of acquiring the most talented players they can irrespective of what position they play. Given the propensity of NFL teams to select quarterbacks higher than they really should, it’s unlikely selecting a signal caller will be in the team’s best interest.
The bottom line is that the Raiders desperately need some stability. Keeping Carr in charge of the offense should help calm the locker room down after a tumultuous season under Gruden. Mayock is making the smart move by backing Carr to remain the team’s starter.