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Raiders GM Mike Mayock 'pounds the table' for Derek Carr amid Russell Wilson speculation

Jason Owens
·3 min read
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Russell Wilson is frustrated with the Seattle Seahawks.

But he doesn't want to be traded.

But if he does get traded, he's happy to play for one of four teams.

This is according his agent Mark Rodgers, who opened the floodgates on the offseason rumor mill by telling ESPN's Adam Schefter last week that he's game to play for the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders or Chicago Bears.

Mayock addresses Wilson speculation with praise for Carr

This has predictably led to a flurry of speculation over Wilson's future and what his potential arrival could mean for the four teams on his list. It prompted Raiders general manager Mike Mayock to toss a vote of confidence behind quarterback Derek Carr on Wednesday.

"I think Derek Carr had his best year yet, under Jon Gruden," Mayock told reporters, per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and we're happy with him. ... I think Jon Gruden and I would stand shoulder to shoulder and pound the table for Derek Carr."

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) talk on the field following a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Seattle. The Seahawks beat the Raiders 31-21. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Are the Raiders interested in replacing Derek Carr with Russell Wilson? (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Are Raiders looking into potential Wilson trade?

Mayock didn't mention Wilson by name with that endorsement. Doing so would amount to tampering. Also, he didn't have to. His vote of confidence was a clear response to Wilson's interest in playing for the Raiders.

And of course it's what Mayock would say. As long as Carr is the quarterback in Las Vegas, the general manager's job in public is to back him. His job in private is to figure out a way to dress Wilson in silver and black without mortgaging the franchise.

There's some truth to Mayock's praise for his quarterback. A case can be made that Carr is the most unfairly maligned starting quarterback in football. A three-time Pro Bowler, Carr just came off a career season completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 256.4 yards per game with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. It's play that quarterback-hungry teams across the NFL would welcome.

But the Raiders haven't done any substantive winning with Carr, so the calls for his ouster are frequent and vocal. And if his exit would result in Wilson under center in Las Vegas, they would be warranted.

Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock speaks during a news conference at the team's NFL football facility in Alameda, Calif. Star receiver Antonio Brown is not with the Oakland Raiders four days before the season opener amid reports he could be suspended over a confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock. Mayock issued a brief statement at the beginning of practice Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, saying that Brown wasn't at the Raiders facility and won't be practicing a day after Brown posted a letter from the GM on social media detailing nearly $54,000 in fines.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Mike Mayock is backing Derek Carr in public. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Raiders desperate to make their mark in Las Vegas

That's no knock on Carr. But Wilson is a superb talent and a difference maker who would almost certainly elevate the Raiders to playoff contention. The Raiders are desperate to make the postseason under Gruden and Mayock as they set root in Las Vegas. It's a destination the franchise has achieved only once since 2002 — a 2016 wild-card loss that an injured Carr didn't play in.

So while Mayock is saying the right things to media about his starting quarterback, he's almost assuredly exploring his options behind closed doors. If he's not, he's derelict of his duty.

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