Before anymore quarterbacks get their big payday, Derek Carr can still claim to have the second largest contract in NFL history.
And the Raiders can claim to have spent the most money on offensive players in the NFL, while only producing the 23rd most points.
The Raiders offense was the biggest disappointment in the NFL in 2017. A year after finishing in the top 10 in points and yards saw Carr receive his massive payday. Then he and the entire offense regressed.
Last year’s offensive coordinator Todd Downing has shouldered most of the blame, as has Carr’s back injury from week four.
Neither one of those should be an issue in 2018, and the Raiders coaching staff is thrilled at the chance to work with Carr.
Olson says Carr's intelligence was "off the charts" when he was here his rookie year, told Gruden that and that's one of things that enticed Gruden to come back now. "A lot of room for growth for Derek and Jon is excited about that."— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) January 17, 2018
Carr was one of the few players Gruden singled out by name in his introductory press conference. Gruden highlighted Carr’s potential and that at 26 years old, he’ll just now be entering his prime.
Gruden better hope he’s right about Carr; his 10-year contract with the Raiders may depend on it.
With control of the roster and very few guaranteed deals, Gruden can mix up the Raiders roster. But for now, the Raiders have invested heavily on offense. While spending the most money in the NFL on that side of the ball, the defense has been neglected. The Raiders spent just the 24th most money on defenders.
All that means is Carr has to be better than great. He has to lead one of the league’s best offenses every year.
So far, Carr has only been average in his career. He had improved in each of his first three seasons before last year’s decline.
His career passer rating of 87.5 ranks 21st in NFL history. But in this golden age of quarterbacks, it ranks just 12th among active quarterbacks.
Carr, with his massive deal, can’t be the 12th best quarterback in the league. He has to be one of the best. And that is Jon Gruden’s task.
The number one indicator of Gruden’s success in Oakland will be how good Derek Carr plays. If Carr is just the 12th best quarterback in the NFL, Gruden and the Raiders will be relying on an underpaid defense to play over their talent level.
But if Carr grows into one of the NFL’s best, Gruden will lead the Raiders back to the promised land.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.