The offseason of quarterback discontent never reached Derek Carr.
While several star quarterbacks around the league have expressed frustration and a desire to leave in some cases, Carr said he remains fully committed to the Raiders despite seven seasons with little success.
“I’d probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else,” Carr said Tuesday. “I’m a Raider for my entire life. And I’m going to root for one team for the rest of my life and it’s the Raiders. I just feel that so strong in my heart. I don’t need a perfect situation, I believe that. … I think we can all agree if we were able to pull it off and win a championship here, that would feel much better than just piling a whole bunch of great players together and joining up and doing it that way.”
Carr’s situation with the Raiders has been far from perfect since he was drafted in the second round out of Fresno State in 2014. In all, he has endured more losing in his first seven seasons than any other quarterback in NFL history with 63 losses as a starter.
Carr became the Week 1 starter as a rookie and promptly lost his first 10 starts on the way to a 3-13 season that saw coach Dennis Allen get fired early in the campaign and interim coach Tony Sparano not being brought back following the season.
Jack Del Rio took over as coach in 2015 and the Raiders showed steady progress, winning seven games the first season and then going 12-4 in 2016 when Carr emerged as one of the top young passers in the league.
But Carr broke his leg in the penultimate game that season, sat out a playoff loss at Houston and has never been part of a team with a winning record since despite signs of gradual improvement the past two seasons under Jon Gruden.
Carr set career highs with 4,103 yards passing and a 101.4 rating last season but also finished tied for fourth in the league with 17 turnovers.
While Carr’s performance hasn’t been without fault with a propensity for fumbling, poor red zone play and a lack of aggression hampering him at times in his career, the defense has been the biggest issue for the Raiders, allowing the most points in the NFL over his seven seasons.
But that wasn’t enough to make him complain publicly or ask for a trade the way players like Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson and Russell Wilson have at times this offseason.
“For other people, if they want to do other things, that’s great,” he said. “That’s up to them. But for me I’d rather go down with the ship if I have to. That’s just my personality.”
After going 8-8 last season, the Raiders spent the offseason overhauling a large part of the roster. They traded away three starters on the offensive line in Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Trent Brown, watched top wide receiver Nelson Agholor leave as a free agent and tried to rebuild the defense by signing edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue among others.
That has Carr feeling good about the direction the Raiders are headed even as he acknowledges he expresses that every offseason and it hasn’t always translated to on-field success.
“I’m always optimistic. I’m never going to be negative. What’s the point?” he said. “It’s a waste of time. I don’t get many years in my life to play this game, so I’m not going to waste it with down thoughts. I can’t do it. Secondly, I think that we’ve added some pieces in the whole organization, that I believe give us a really good chance to win.”