The finalists for Tom Brady‘s services were the Chargers and the Buccaneers. Hovering on the fringes were the Raiders.
As the dust settles on Brady’s destination, Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com explains that the Raiders weren’t completely out of the running as Brady closed in on selecting a new home.
Writes Tafur, “The Raiders were indeed sniffing around Brady as late as this week, according to league sources, and while it is true they never made him an offer, some ballpark numbers were made known to him at some point.”
But Tafur points out that fit and finances became the issue, with the Raiders never making it into the category of “serious finalist” and with the Raiders unwilling to commit $50 million guaranteed for 2020 and 2021 because “the game film the last two years just didn’t warrant that in the Raiders’ minds.” (That’s a diplomatic way of saying that Father Time is gaining ground.)
Tafur adds that, if the Raiders had been a “serious finalist” for Brady, they would have begun shopping quarterback Derek Carr. Tafur says, as to Carr, that “even his critics should agree” that he’s a top-16 quarterback.
That’s much easier to say without listing the top 16 quarterbacks. In no particular order, here are 16 quarterbacks who are currently better than Carr: Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Josh Allen, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Kyler Murray. And here are four more, to make it an even 20: Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Cam Newton. And here are five more I’d consider taking for now and for the future before Carr: Drew Lock, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield, Gardner Minshew. And here are five others I’d seriously consider before taking Carr: Teddy Bridgewater, Nick Foles, Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Alex Smith.
Other than that, Carr is a top-16 talent.
“There shouldn’t be any real fallout” from the flirtation with Brady, Tafur explains. For an ordinary quarterback, that would be true. But Carr has wafer-thin skin. He was griping about the public speculation regarding the Raiders possibly adding Brady and dumping Carr, and he surely kept better notes than Ryan Howard regarding anyone in the organization who said anything about playing with Brady (including but not necessarily limited to tackle Trent Brown, running back Josh Jacobs, and receiver Tyrell Williams).
For now, the Raiders have added Marcus Mariota, who will have a chance to do to Carr what Ryan Tannehill did to Mariota. Carr surely will be prickly about that, and he’ll either respond by getting better or inevitably Mariota will play and Carr will end up planting a “for sale” sign on the lawn of the house next door to coach Jon Gruden’s.