The NFL’s offseason is officially starting to be a little more interesting. The Las Vegas Raiders might be ready to make a play for future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady.
Larry Fitzgerald Sr. reported last week that the Raiders are ready to offer Brady $60 million over the next two years to lead the franchise.
The Raiders’ Mindset
Gruden and Carr’s Relationship
It would be a move that wouldn’t surprise many as there have been reports that head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr have not had the strongest of relationships. In six seasons as the starter, Carr has led to team to just one playoff appearance that resulted in a loss to Houston. He does own franchise records for career passing yards (22,793) and career completion percentage (64%).
During the Raiders end of the season press conference last month, Gruden didn’t exactly give a specific answer about if Carr would be going to Vegas in 2020.
“He played good,” Gruden said according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m not going to get into all the next-year scenarios. I’m just going to say that 7-9 is a step forward. We took a step forward. Statistically, I think we took a step forward. We’ve got to get a lot of guys healthy and we’ve got a lot of things to look at and evaluate before we start making any assumptions.”
Gruden and Veteran Quarterbacks
It’s a move that would fit with what Gruden has done in the past. He has been known for bringing in veteran quarterbacks to lead his teams. Rich Gannon is an early example of Gruden bringing in an old veteran to lead his Raiders team. Gannon would eventually lead Oakland to the Super Bowl losing to Gruden’s Buccaneers.
Brad Johnson and Jeff Garcia were also brought in by Gruden in Tampa Bay. Johnson led the team to a Super Bowl title and Garcia led the team to the playoffs in 2007. Gruden loves proven veterans who have a history of winning. Tom Brady fits perfectly with that mold.
Options for Moving Derek Carr
If the Raiders are successful with landing Brady, then they have a decision to make with Carr. Most likely, they would trade him. It would be easy to assume that Carr would be sought after by many teams. This offseason showcases lots of team looking for starting quarterbacks now or for the future. Carr still looks flashes of franchise quarterback in him even if the record doesn’t show it.
Teams like Miami, Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Chargers, and Carolina are still trying to figure out what they can do at quarterback. The options are there in free agency, but Carr brings experience and ability. Most quarterbacks in free agency don’t have that. A franchise quarterback could be available for them and could come at a price. Selling Carr high and absorbing draft picks can only improve the team. They could trade up and draft their future quarterback to develop behind Brady. A Carr trade only benefits the Raiders’ future should Brady sign with them.
Tom Brady’s Mindset
The risk is high for Tom Brady to join the Raiders. It would bring Brady closer to the west coast which seems to be the direction he’s heading. The new stadium and the youth of the team could help attract Brady to come.
Youth Movement to Vegas
Josh Jacobs had a strong rookie season at running back and should provide a solid running game in 2020. The receiving core is young, but Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams provide some reliable targets. The star of the passing game is tight end Darren Waller as he brings his 90 catches and 1,145 yards to Vegas. That’s an attractive piece for Brady as he knows a little bit about star tight ends.
The Raiders did well in the draft as they built a strong foundation for their defense for years to come. Several of the Raiders’ rookies on defense either started or had significant impact in some way. They can continue that success with two first round picks in this year’s draft can make things interesting in Vegas.
Working with an Offensive Minded Coach
Brady has spent his whole career with a defensive coach in Bill Belichick. This could be a chance to work with an offensive coach who has brought out the best in his quarterbacks. Especially for those quarterbacks who are over the age of 30. Gruden will be able to bring out the best out of Brady.
It has been seen this past season that Brady, while still one of the best, is slowing down a bit. Gruden could be the man who could find the skills Brady possesses and utilize it to produce wins. Brady is still accurate and has a strong enough arm to get the job done. A consistent running game and a security blanket at tight end will help.
Is it worth starting over again for Brady?
Brady has a lot to think about should the Raiders offer him that much money for two years. He would need to start over again and join the team in the middle of a rebuilding process. The potential is there in Vegas, but is it enough to convince Brady to make a significant move?
New England already has a winning culture in the organization and have been to several Super Bowls. While the receiving core is not the strength to the team, the defense and running game gives Brady enough there to win now and win often.
Bill Belichick also has to play a key role in the decision. As long as he’s the head coach of the team, the Patriots are always in contention. Belichick and Brady’s relationship may not be the best, but their desire to win is more important.