By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Add a potential Derek Carr trade to the NFL’s quarterback carousel in the 2021 offseason.
Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that “several NFL insiders expect the Raiders to field calls from teams inquiring about Carr’s availability.” It’s important to note the phrasing. Just because teams will inquire about Carr doesn’t mean the Raiders quarterback is actually available.
But if Carr can fetch the Raiders two first-round picks, like the Lions got from the Rams for Matthew Stafford? Which would open up a potential path for them to make a play for Deshaun Watson? Then Raiders GM Mike Mayock should listen to everything that comes his way.
Bonsignore’s column even speculates about a three-team deal in which the Raiders would acquire Watson and send Carr elsewhere. He also mentions the Patriots among “the clubs that could get involved.” But that just sounds like more speculation, because the Pats, Colts, Bears, and Washington Football Team are all in the market for a new quarterback either way.
Carr is a good option for the Patriots if they can acquire him for a reasonable package, something markedly less than the Stafford deal. He’s proven to be a talented pocket passer at the NFL level. He’s one of only five QBs to start every game for his team over the past three seasons, along with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Philip Rivers. And among those five, he’s been the most efficient, with an impressive 68.9 completion percentage.
Unfortunately for Carr, that hasn’t translated to winning football. The Raiders are 19-29 over the past three seasons. He’s had just one year with a winning record, which was an MVP-caliber 2016 campaign. Not coincidentally, that’s also when Carr posted his lowest interception rate (1.1 percent) and most game-winning drives (seven).
If Bill Belichick brought Carr in, he’d have to try to get him back to his 2016 level of ball security. In addition to cutting back on the interceptions, Carr would have to significantly improve upon his fumbling. Belichick most certainly wouldn’t like the fact that Carr fumbled more than any quarterback in two of the past three seasons.
Carr still has a lot to learn about the finer details of managing and winning football games consistently. But as a pure passer, he would definitely represent a big upgrade over Cam Newton. If Carr cuts back on the turnovers while maintaining his recent level of passing efficiency, he could be productive enough to elevate the Patriots back to contention for the AFC East and a playoff spot.
But Belichick has a lot more work to do beyond just quarterback if he wants to restore the Patriots as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They need weapons in the passing game, playmakers in the defensive front-seven, and long-term stability on the offensive line and in the secondary. And that’s assuming he finds the quarterback.
Carr would be a nice short-term bridge option for the Patriots, as they search for a long-term answer in the draft. He may even be good enough to buy Belichick a year if he feels The Next Guy™ is actually in the 2022 draft.
The problem, still, is the price tag. If a Carr trade is going to cost the Patriots multiple first-round picks, that’s a hell of a lot to give up for a team that needs an infusion of young talent at several positions. So it’s hard to believe Belichick would rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak.
But for a veteran starter who could at least make you a decent team with a functional offense again, the Patriots could do much worse than Carr. We know from experience.
Looking for more Patriots talk? We discussed the Derek Carr trade rumors and other possible QB options for the Pats in the newest episode of the SideLines podcast. Have a listen below.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at email@example.com.