Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start: Derek Carr is a fine young quarterback. He’s good. Probably somewhere in the third tier of NFL quarterbacks. Not bad for a 26-year-old.
OK, got it? Raiders fans, you might want to click away now because you’re not going to like what follows, as you can probably tell from the headline. And it’s a bit odd that you won’t like what you’re about to read because I’m about to praise about 98% of your favorite team’s roster. But, for some reason, we’re willing to tear down the other 52 men who make up a team’s roster if only to prop up the quarterback.
This is true for every fanbase outside of Cleveland (and Houston in recent years) by the way. It’s never the supposed franchise quarterback’s fault. It’s the offensive line or the receivers or the coaching or all three. But that’s not the case in Oakland, where Derek Carr enjoys maybe the best supporting cast in all of football. If it’s not the best, it’s certainly in the discussion.
Great offensive line? Check. In fact, it might be the best in the league when it comes to pass protection. Yes, even better than Dallas’ line.
Good receiving corps? You bet. Amari Cooper is a route-running stud. Michael Crabtree may drop some passes, but he’s an elite WR2. And the team just gave Carr a good passing tight end in the form of Jared Cook.
Good running game? Good may be a stretch, but it was certainly solid. And the Raiders short passing game – Oakland has thrown a lot of screen passes over the last three seasons – is really an extension of that running game. Oakland was able to keep Carr in favorable down-and-distances all season. Only 72 of his 560 attempts came on 3rd-and-long.
The point is, Carr has had a lot of help, which makes you wonder if the Raiders will come to regret making him the highest-paid player in NFL history, as they did on Thursday, inking the 26-year-old to a five-year, $125 million contract. After all, if the quarterback is making that much, how can the team…