The Las Vegas Raiders aren’t waiting around to be bullish on Derek Carr, with new head coach Josh McDaniels speaking up at the NFL Combine.
As the saying goes, that was easy.
While quarterback problems are all the rage here in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine, one team made sure nobody thought it had one. On Wednesday, Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels spoke on NFL Now and was asked about whether Derek Carr would be his Week 1 starter under center. Instead of playing coy, McDaniels was affirmative, per NFL.com:
“Sure. Absolutely. There’s no doubt about it. I really am excited about this opportunity to work together. I know what he’s done and I know what we might be able to go going forward together. And that’s what really excites me.”
And truthfully, why not? Las Vegas is coming off a playoff campaign where it won 10 games and took the Cincinnati Bengals to the brink in the Wild Card round, before Cincinnati won and eventually went to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. Carr also had one of his best seasons as a pro, throwing for 4,804 yards, albeit with 23 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.
With one year remaining on Carr’s contract, the Raiders have a couple options. They can either talk with his representation and perhaps work out an extension to take him through the bulk of his 30s, or they wait it out. If they take the latter route, Carr could get the franchise tag for 2023 or Las Vegas could allow him to walk and take a third-round compensatory pick.
In a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, the Raiders are still working at a distinct disadvantage at the sport’s ultimate position. It’s not an ideal place to be, of course, but they can also win with Carr provided they have a few weapons and the defense isn’t the total tire fire it was at times in 2021.
Then again, it’s almost impossible to achieve the level of dysfunction we saw from owner Mark Davis’ club last year, and Carr rose above it all with impressive leadership, helping the Raiders to only their second postseason berth since reaching Super Bowl XXXVIII in the 2002 season.
For Las Vegas, there are many looming questions with a new regime in place and a roster in need of supplementing. But quarterback is no longer one of them.