Does Mel Kiper predicting Jordan Love to Raiders make Derek Carr expendable?

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It has become an annual rite of passage in the streets of Silver and Blackdom, fans debating the virtues of Carr as their favorite team’s $125 million franchise quarterback to the point of Carr telling ESPN.com in January, after a photo of Raiders owner Mark Davis chatting up Tom Brady at a UFC card in Las Vegas went viral, “C’mon, man, when’s it going to end?”

And now, with the Raiders having signed a quarterback with a skill set that more closely resembles what coach Jon Gruden wants in the versatile-but-needing-a-fresh-start Marcus Mariota to a big-for-a-backup contract that pays him $7.5 million this year, the outcry– albeit it more muted — remains.

Even as Mariota insists the Raiders are still Carr’s team. That makes sense, given that Carr is coming off career bests in passing yards (4,054) and completion percentage (70.4) and will be, for the first time in his seven-year career, playing in the same system for the third straight season.stitched nfl jerseys china

Still … Gruden fashions himself a QB Whisperer of sorts, and given his history as the host of his own ESPN show tutoring quarterbacks about to make the jump to the NFL, he is always going to do what he considers his due diligence on signal-callers.

Joe Burrow? Tua Tagovailoa? Justin Herbert?1

Their respective prices might be too steep for the Raiders, who have a pair of first-round picks at No. 12 and No. 19.

Plus, history says the Raiders shy away from drafting QBs so high. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL draft, they have taken a quarterback in the first round on just three occasions, and all are more cautionary draft tales than success stories — Marc Wilson out of BYU at No. 15 overall in 1980, Todd Marinovich from USC at No. 24 in 1991 and, gulp, LSU’s JaMarcus Russell at No. 1 in 2007 (the Raiders have drafted a QB in the first three rounds of the draft just nine times in that same time frame).

So where does that leave Carr, a second-round pick by the Raiders out of Fresno State in 2014, should Las Vegas actually draft Love, or any other quarterback in the first round?

On one hand, Carr should be safe considering he would be the only quarterback on the roster with regular-season game experience in Gruden’s offense (Peterman spent last season on IR, while Kizer never got off the bench in 2019). And ditching Carr would leave the Raiders woefully inexperienced at the most important position in team sports, what with neither Mariota nor Love knowing the intricacies of Gruden’s offense.nfl nike jerseys stitched

And even if Gruden changed the offense to more of a pure RPO system to fit the skill sets of Mariota and Love, no one else on the Raiders’ offense knows it. And because no one knows when coaches and players will be able to work together in person given the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re really talking about hitting the reset button on a franchise in this scenario.

But Carr might fetch as high as a second-round draft pick in a trade to a team like, say, the New England Patriots. That would go a long way toward the continuing rebuild and rebranding of a proud franchise.