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New Raiders coach, GM take wait-and-see approach to Derek Carr

Updated January 31, 2022 - 5:49 pm

As is always the case with the Raiders, the subject of Derek Carr didn’t take long to come up during the introductory press conferences for new head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler on Monday.

The two new decision-makers, who the Raiders pried away from the New England Patriots, barely got through their hellos before Carr came up in the discussion.

“Derek’s won a lot of games in this league. I have a lot of respect for him,” McDaniels said.

Carr and McDaniels spoke by phone over the weekend, the first step in building the all-critical relationship between head coach and quarterback. The next step is sitting down and getting to know one another.

“Looking forward to actually getting to meet him and getting to know him as a person and human being, and then getting to work developing our offense this year, what it’s going to be,” McDaniels said.

It was obvious by McDaniels’ words, though, that having Carr in place was a big part of the allure of taking the Raiders’ job.

“There’s no question we have the capacity and capability of winning with Derek here,” McDaniels said. “We all know that.”

It goes beyond that, though. There is some urgency to McDaniels and Ziegler deciding whether Carr is the long-term quarterback for the Raiders.

Carr is under contract through the 2022 season at a team-friendly and non-guaranteed $19.9 million. It’s the final year of the five-year, $125.5 million deal he signed in 2017.

Carr has made it clear he wants to finish his career with the Raiders and has said he would entertain walking away from football if that wasn’t the case.

However, the last time he said that, Jon Gruden was still the head coach and Carr was assuming any extension he signed would run concurrent to the 10-year contract Gruden signed in 2018.

Those dynamics have obviously changed after Gruden resigned and McDaniels now takes over.

Carr was not available to the media on Monday, but he is said to be intrigued by the possibility of working with the offensive-minded McDaniels and is open to extending his relationship with the Raiders. But the likelihood of Carr playing with the Raiders next season without an extension in place doesn’t appear likely, according to industry insiders.

So one way or another this will be an active offseason for the Raiders and Carr.

That could entail working out a new agreement to keep him in the fold or exploring trade opportunities.

Ziegler and McDaniels, whose relationship goes all the way back to their time as teammates on the John Carroll University football team, will take a collaborative approach to personnel decision-making. Although Ziegler made it clear on Monday when it gets right down to it, he will have the final say on roster calls.

The new general manager also spoke by phone with Carr over the weekend. While he shares McDaniels’ excitement about working with him, he was non-committal when asked whether deciding on an extension for Carr was a box he needed to check immediately.

“The one thing that we all understand is, there’s going to be a process of us learning Derek, of Derek learning us and fitting all those pieces together,” Ziegler said. “I think that’s going to be step one, building a relationship, understanding what Derek does well. Derek understanding what Josh and the offensive staff is trying to build.

“I think as that collaboration goes, then you have to see how everything fits together. … And kind of work from that point.”

Of course, Raiders owner Mark Davis will have the biggest say of all on whether Carr remains part of the organization beyond next season. Davis had a playful remark about his quarterback — and his protective group of brothers — on Monday.

“I was thinking about trading Carr,” Davis said, coyly, before adding: “David Carr, not Derek. I like Derek.”

The jab at David Carr was in response to his recent comments on Colin Cowherd’s radio show in which the eldest Carr suggested his younger brother was taking a wait-and-see approach to committing long-term to the Raiders.

Carr has led the Raiders to two playoff appearances in his eight seasons but has experienced just two winning seasons. Meanwhile, McDaniels represents Carr’s sixth head coach since his rookie season in 2014.

“There has to be a commitment from the organization that they will give him what he needs to succeed,” David Carr said.

One day into the Ziegler, McDaniels and Carr relationships, a wait-and-see approach seems to be reciprocal.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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