Derek Carr is tired of burning daylight. He’s done some of that already, cycling through four head coaches, four offensive play callers and three offensive schemes in five NFL seasons. He was a young player brought in as part of a roster rebuild that worked.
It just didn’t last long. The Raiders fell back on hard times following a 12-4 campaign in 2016, and now head coach Jon Gruden’s fully committed to another radical reconstruction.
Gruden traded Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, guys who could’ve helped the Raiders win last season. He acquired others who didn’t, namely Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer and several veteran defenders who won’t see another season in silver and black.
Now the Raiders enter the offseason with an arsenal: three first-round draft picks and $76 million in salary-cap space without anyone deserving of a long-term extension that must factor into the budget.
Carr’s hoping all those tools will expedite the rebuilding process. He doesn’t want to waste more seasons doing it slow, and hopes Gruden can import several impact players in one offseason.
“We need some guys who can come in and help us now,” Carr said in an interview with 940-AM in Fresno. “We have some good building pieces. We have some foundational pieces. Obviously, we have a quarterback, so we don’t need one of those. That’s the good thing.
“We just need some players who can help us win now. We’re building this thing. We’ve been building this thing. We’ve built this thing a couple of times. It’s time to get people who can just come in and help us now. There are a lot of veterans on this team who signed contracts or signed extensions or free-agent deals to come play here because we want to win and we believe in this system and what we’re doing.”
Count Carr among them. He signed a $125 million extension believing incumbent stars would also be here long term and find sustained success. That wish never came true, and now Gruden’s looking to remake the franchise with new guys.
This offseason will be pivotal in Gruden’s success. It could turn things around quickly, as Carr hopes, if he and general manager Mike Mayock lock onto the right guys.
“If we get three players who are NFL ready right now, if we get three starters from those three (first-round picks) or maybe four if you count some of the other picks…,” Carr said, trailing off. “And we have some cash to spend. We have a lot of cap room. If we can spend that cap and that capital and get some good veteran players, not just average guys but guys who can make a difference, (that would be positive). We’re a lot closer than people give us credit for.”