Derek Carr went from being viewed as the Raiders’ franchise-saving quarterback to a potential trade candidate who might have lost the confidence of the organization and fan base.
It’s been a tumultuous 22 months for Carr that started with him breaking his ankle on Christmas Eve in 2016 against the Indianapolis Colts and causing him to miss the Raiders’ first postseason game in 14 years.
The Raiders weren’t worried about the injury and gave Carr a five-year, $125 million extension in June 2017 to become the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback at the time.
Then this past week hit. Arguably the lowest point in Carr’s five-year career. He was accused of crying in a game, reports surfaced that he had lost the locker room, his No. 1 wideout, Amari Cooper, was traded, and his coach, Jon Gruden, was asked if Carr was next to go before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
But here’s the strange part. Carr isn’t the only quarterback from the 2014 NFL draft who went from savior to potential scapegoat.
Blake Bortles (No. 3 overall, Jaguars), Johnny Manziel (No. 22, Browns), Teddy Bridgewater (No. 32, Vikings) and Carr (No. 36, second round) were the big four of the 2014 draft, the next crop of talented quarterbacks with high hopes of turning their franchises around.
Today, it’s the forgotten fifth-wheel quarterback who has the highest upside, and he’s not even playing. But even Jimmy Garoppolo, who was taken at No. 62 overall in the second round by the Patriots, had a strange rise before eventually getting a contract from the 49ers this season that was more lucrative than Carr’s.
It’s been a bizarre road for the notable quarterbacks of the 2014 draft. Here’s a look at how it started for the first three taken off the board.
It wasn’t the first time that Bortles was benched when the Jaguars pulled him for Cody Kessler last week.
He was benched for Chad Henne in the preseason last season, but regained the starting job as the Jaguars made the AFC title game despite Bortles’ struggles.
It was an ugly 2017 season for Bortles, but his teammates pounded their chests in defense of him because they were winning.
The 3-4 Jaguars aren’t winning anymore, and that led to Jalen Ramsey pointing the finger at Bortles last week without saying his name.
The Jaguars have given Bortles countless opportunities to turn around his play, refusing to sign a capable backup to push him. They gave him a three-year, $54 million extension — $26.5 million guaranteed — in February.
The former Heisman Trophy winner sent Browns coaches a text that read “hurry up and draft me” while he waited in the draft room. The Browns were fooled.
Manziel hasn’t played in a game for the Browns since 2015. He’s now trying to find his footing in the Canadian Football League.
But he showed signs of promise during his second year. Manziel didn’t play much in his rookie year because the Browns started 7-4 with Brian Hoyer.
Manziel disappeared in 2016 with personal issues. Many believed the Browns were going to pass on Baker Mayfield in the 2018 draft because he had a similar personality to Manziel. It appears the Browns made the right move by taking Mayfield No. 1 overall.
Bridgewater almost lost his leg on the practice field, but he’s viewed by many as a better quarterback than Bortles and Carr — and he’s a backup with the Saints.
Bridgewater started his career with the Vikings. He and Adrian Peterson led them to the NFC North title in 2015. Then it all came crashing down during an August practice in 2016.
Bridgewater suffered a noncontact injury to his left leg and didn’t play for almost two seasons, but the Vikings stood by his side.
But they couldn’t pass up a sure thing with Kirk Cousins this offseason. Bridgewater signed with the Jets and proved during the preseason that he still has a high ceiling at age 25.
The Saints gave up a third-round pick for Bridgewater, possibly the heir apparent to Drew Brees.
Game of the week
Saints (5-1) at Vikings (4-2-1)
The Saints and Vikings went back and forth in a classic playoff game last season, with Minnesota pulling out an improbable win in the “Minneapolis Miracle.”
Now, Drew Brees and the red-hot Saints will be looking for revenge in a “Sunday Night Football” showdown.
The man who threw that miracle pass, Case Keenum, now plays for the Broncos. Kirk Cousins is the new quarterback for the Vikings, who have won three straight.
Gilbert Manzano Review-Journal