When the Raiders take the field against the Bengals on Saturday, Rich Bisaccia will lead them there. The interim coach took over a team in turmoil after Jon Gruden’s resignation and led them to the playoffs.
But when they lose, uncertainty awaits.
The Raiders will be conducting a full and thorough coaching search when the off-season kicks off, and it looks like quarterback Derek Carr’s future will be tied in with it.
Las Vegas and Carr are in a joint decision to make this off-season, and sources say head coach choice will be a factor.
Carr has made it clear publicly that his preference is to stay with the Raiders, famously making the statement that he would likely retire from football rather than play for another team. But with one year left on his $125 million 5-year contract, he’s earned near-top of the market expansion.
Thanks to Carr’s great play, the Raiders finished the season with four straight wins – all by four points or less. How the organization approaches the extension will be telling.
General manager Mike Mayock’s performance will also be evaluated by owner Mark Davis, and whether he stays could also affect Carr’s future.
When the pendulum swings the other way and the Raiders and Carr decide to part ways, expect a long line of candidates for Carr, who has impressed when it mattered most on the field this season. Off the field, as Gruden fled amid scandal and former receiver “Henry Ruggs III” was released after his involvement in a fatal traffic accident, Carr was essential to keeping that locker room together.
Among the teams that would make sense for Carr are the Saints, Texans and perhaps the Colts, should they decide to go ahead with “Carson Wentz.” In fact, if Carr is available, he’ll probably spark more interest than that.