There had been plenty of speculation regarding the future of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr throughout the offseason, but it appears head coach Jon Gruden and the front office have ultimately committed to him for the 2019 NFL season.
The Raiders made some significant changes to their roster this offseason with notable upgrades on both sides of the ball through free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft. Although rumors swirled about Oakland’s potential interest in this year’s crop of quarterbacks, Carr admitted he felt confident about his residency in Oakland moving forward.
Unlike the 2018 campaign, Carr has a much more talented supporting cast around him going into next season. As a result, it appears Gruden’s expectations for him are now higher than ever.
According to Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News, Gruden is confident that Carr can return to his elite form:
“I think he’s pretty well respected as one of the best arm talents in football,” Gruden said. “He’s a lot more athletic than people think. If we can get some continuity here in this building with the system and supporting cast and improve the defense, I think he can be one of the best. I’m going to hold him to that standard and I think that’s what he wants.”
Gruden’s optimism is certainly understandable considering all of the major upgrades Oakland made to their roster this offseason, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Carr managed to make the most out of a lackluster group with his inspiring performances down the stretch of the 2018 campaign, which could be why the new regime felt comfortable under center amidst all the new changes they made around him.
The 28-year-old is just two seasons removed from an MVP-caliber year when he led the Raiders resurgence in 2016. He has already been selected to a Pro Bowl three times in his young career and Gruden is hopeful that he can take his play to the next level in 2019.
There is no question that Carr has all the makings of a franchise quarterback when it comes to physical tools and leadership skills, as evidenced by the highs and lows of his career thus far. Regardless, he will need to erase any further doubt about his status as the starter moving forward, or else the Raiders could find themselves enamored with the next crop of quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft.