With this in mind, do the Raiders see Carr as the man who can walk out of a stadium with a ring in February? If not, what is the Raiders' overall plan at quarterback, and how does Carr fit into the long-term future of the organization?
Derek Carr: Super Bowl winner?
As a rebuilding organization, the Las Vegas Raiders aren't looking to win the Super Bowl in 2021 with Carr. To go from 8-8 to Super Bowl champions overnight is quite a stretch. While the NFL turns dreams into reality at random, the Raiders cannot realistically expect to win the big game in 2021 while dealing with arguably one of the most-loaded divisions. Instead, the Raiders should be looking long-term.
Do they see a path to a Super Bowl with Carr one day?
If not, that means Carr's future with the team has an expiration date. Carr gives plenty of reasons to put Super Bowl hopes to rest, but he also has some positives going for him.
Why Carr can't win a Super Bowl
Carr's best years have been plagued by injuries. When the Raiders went 12-4 in 2016, Carr didn't finish the season due to suffering a broken leg. This season, at 2-0, Carr is questionable for a game that gives the team a shot to go 3-0 after beating the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
With so much adversity hitting Carr at his best moments, it is hard to picture him staying healthy through a 13 or 14 win season usually required to earn a top seed. Granted, his statistics are somewhat consistently solid on a yearly basis. His career average for touchdowns and interceptions is hovering at about 2.5 touchdowns for every interception.
Tom Brady, the winningest Super Bowl quarterback ever, has a ratio of about 3:1. So Carr is in the ballpark of the level of play required to win a Super Bowl. Carr, however, has many more questions holding him back. He's never played in a playoff game. At 30 years old, Carr has never played in a playoff game.
Without playoff experience, the quarterback's ability to deal with the pressure of the moment is completely untested. Thus, this serves as another reason why he may not win a Super Bowl. If he can stay healthy through a successful season and scrape together at least ten wins, the quarterback would then have to have an obligatory playoff loss to learn the ropes of the pressure.
Assuming he's done that, he would then need to win another 13 or 14 games to get the top seed to get a realistic shot at a Super Bowl. He would then need to improve in his mental game to get past the toughest teams in the NFL. If he were to then make the Super Bowl, he'd need to not let the moment of the Super Bowl get the best of him, which requires another level of mental fortitude.
At 30 years old and dealing with a rebuilding roster, time will start running out sooner than it seems at first glance. That prompts the question of what his long-term value is for the Raiders. Essentially, Carr is shaping up to keep the Raiders entertaining while they continue to build a roster and also endure the wrath of Patrick Mahomes over the next decade.
Where Derek Carr fits in the big picture
In a few years, the Raiders will draft a quarterback of the future whose expectation will be to take over as the best team in the division for the next 15 years. That future quarterback will be the one with a shot a Super Bowl.
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With Carr already 30 years old and staring down a massive mountain of work to get to a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback status, it seems the best he can do with the Raiders is have a few playoff runs while the team courts top-tier free agents with their new popularity to elevate them to the next level while drafting the quarterback of the future behind Carr.