Could Bears Become Raiders of the Unappreciated QB?

Gene Chamberlain

Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano was talking last year about facing Derek Carr and about what happened when his Colts team faced the Oakland Raiders.

"Actually broke that ankle in our game against us," Pagano said. "We were out in Oakland playing them unfortunately. Hated to see it happen because the guy was playing really well."

Pagano described Carr in a nutshell. He's a quarterback with the tools to succeed and he just can't seem to catch a break.

It's apparently happening again. The rumor mill has churned up about Jon Gruden wanting to move past Carr and talk to Tom Brady earlier this offseason. Writing for The Athletic, Michael Lombardi said he could see a breakup coming with Carr and the Raiders.

Whether it actually occurs is still just conjecture, but there are plenty of factors pointing in that direction such as the fact the Raiders could ultimately save $15 million by cutting Carr, who will cost the $21.5 million in 2020.

So should the Bears have an interest in the quarterback who is a good friend of Khalil Mack's from their days together in Oakland? If they didn't something's wrong at Halas Hall.

Gruden has pretty much revitalized Carr's career. He was stagnating on the stat line. For his first four seasons, Carr completed 61.3%, had an 87.5 passer rating and an abysmal 6.5 yards per attempt. That's worse than Mitchell Trubisky's. It reflects the often repeated knock on Carr that he's too quick to check down. It's the old "Check Down Charlie" problem.

That was then. This is now. Since 

Gruden came in, his completion percentage is 69.6. His passer rating has been 97.2 the past two years, including a 100.8 last year. And his yards per attempt has been a respectable 7.6.

The Bears' tie to Carr goes beyond Mack, who last fall described the seventh-year QB as a brother in arms and the guy he thought he'd be with in Oakland for most of their careers.

Carr's career began under the quarterback coaching of John DeFilippo, the new Bears quarterbacks coach. 

The real problems with the Bears acquiring Carr are how it would happen and whether they could afford him.

Also, as a six-year starter that kind an acquisition would signal the Bears either giving up on Mitchell Trubisky or possibly putting the quarterback job up for grabs in an even battle between two veterans. They've given no indication they think they want to do this as yet.

So far it's just Trubisky and someone to back him up, not to challenge him.

The acquisition end of it would be the trick because the Raiders would want a trade.

Just cutting Carr makes no sense. Carr is an asset. 

If Gruden has a quarterback in the draft identified as his target, then keeping Gruden as a bridge only makes sense. The quarterback cost with a rookie first-rounder and Carr wouldn't be too excessive for the Raiders, who are reported by to be a whopping $54.7 million under the cap.

The Bears got a close-up view of how Carr can leader a comeback in London last year against them. 

Carr isn't simply a dropback passer. He slides and escapes the pocket well, and senses the rush. He could fit into the RPO offense the Bears run.

Even then it would be a struggle for the Bears to bring in a quarterback with a deal averaging $25 million a year like Carr while Trubisky is trying to earn his second contract. Some other teams would likely be better able to handle Carr's salary.

Putting Carr back together on the same team with his old friend Mack is enticing.

It's just not too realistic.

Then again it didn't seem too realistic in late August, 2018 for Mack to be coming to the Bears, either.

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