Before the Oakland Raiders hit free agency, we are going to do a little bit of what Jon Gruden is currently doing: Reviewing the roster to take inventory of what this team has, what it needs, where it’s strong and where it’s weak. We will be looking at both sides of the football, breaking it down by position. Up first is the all important quarterback position.
Starter: Derek Carr
Backup: Connor Cook
Impending FA: EJ Manuel
Derek Carr had his worst season as a professional in 2017 but he wasn’t alone. Oakland’s offense as a whole was just plain bad. From the offensive line to the wide receivers, there really wasn’t a whole lot to be excited about on that side of the ball aside from the occasional spark of good play from Marshawn Lynch and Jared Cook. Because of that along with the broken back Carr suffered early in the year, it’s difficult to know what to make of this season.
While 2016 was easily Carr’s best season, he was also much better in 2014 and 2015 than he was in 2017. So as of now, it appears that 2017 was the outlier and the Raiders should expect much better from Carr moving forward. Either way, it’s clear that Carr is the starter for the foreseeable future after he signed a $125 million contract last offseason.
But while the starter role is locked in stone, the backup role is anything but. EJ Manuel, the backup for 2017, is set to hit free agency and it’s not super likely the Raiders will bring him back. He appeared in two games for Oakland and was terrible in one but not too bad in another. That, however, is the problem. He’s a very up and down player who isn’t all that good when he’s at his best and is really bad when he’s at his worst.