The Las Vegas Raiders plan to be very aggressive in their pursuit of quarterback Tom Brady this offseason, according to multiple sources.
The Raiders, who hope to find a trade partner for longtime starting quarterback Derek Carr within the next four weeks, believe they can land the seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback for his age 46 season. The prevailing belief around the league is that while Brady retired for 40 days in 2022, he will likely play in 2023 and will likely play outside of Tampa.
"I don't know," Brady said when asked Friday about rumors of him playing elsewhere in 2023. "You guys gotta write something new every day. So I just wake up, show up and try to do my job."
Brady joining the Raiders would reunite him with Josh McDaniels, who together won six Super Bowls in New England. McDaniels would get a quarterback who knows his complex system well and could immediately upgrade an offense that finished 12th in the league in yards and scoring this year.
Beyond that, the Raiders would also get what one source called a "program changer." Much like Brady lifted the Buccaneers to great heights in 2020 and 2021, the Raiders would get a quarterback who has won (as it stands now) 33 playoff games since the Raiders franchise last won one.
The Raiders would very likely have some competition for Brady, though. Could the 49ers be interested? The Dolphins could take another run at Brady. And wherever Sean Payton ends up could also be a landing spot for the GOAT.
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The Raiders are hopeful a team will want to trade for Carr. The thinking goes that a team will view Carr as more than salvageable, and that in its system he'd be more like the 2021 Carr, when he completed 68% of his passes and had six game-winning drives.
Dealing for Carr would mean giving up a maximum of a second-round pick. The team would take on his contract, which is due to guarantee $40.4 million in future salary on Feb. 15, and it's very possible the acquiring team would either restructure the current deal or strike a bargain with the Raiders where the team would eat some of the salary.
Carr has a no-trade clause, though. And that could complicate matters. Even if he's amenable to a trade that would benefit the team that unceremoniously benched him, he has control over where he'd go and, more importantly, when he'd go. But there's a good argument to make that Carr wouldn't get on the open market what he's slated to get right now under his current contract.
One team that won't be trading for him appears to be the Commanders, who seem ready to go into next season with Sam Howell and Taylor Heinicke as their top two quarterbacks. Interestingly, Washington inquired multiple times about Carr last offseason but was shot down on each occasion, according to sources. The Raiders, with a new head coach and a team-friendly extension for Carr, wanted to see if he could play at a level similar to or better than his 2021 self and opted against dealing him.
The Raiders also didn't have Jarrett Stidham yet. Las Vegas traded a sixth-round pick to get Stidham (and a seventh-round pick) in May, and Stidham played himself into another contract with the Raiders in his two starts to end the season. Some with the team feel they fleeced the Patriots in that deal, getting a quarterback they believe could be better than New England's current options for just a late-round picks swap.
A best-case scenario for Las Vegas would be securing Brady without giving up any assets because he's a free agent, finding a trade partner to deal Carr, and re-signing Stidham as the primary backup.