from Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist
What happens in Las Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas, and sometimes the juiciest secrets come out when you least expect them.
That famous source of NFL news — simulcasting “UFC 278 with the Gronks” — last weekend aired the incredible tale of how Dana White thought he had locked up Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to join the Raiders , before that time began. head coach Jon Gruden apparently took issue with all of this.
Assuming there’s actually quite a bit of truth to this—UFC boss White is a disillusioned promoter and maybe an embellisher, but hardly an out-and-out liar—there’s a lot to get hung up on.
One of the hot spots this week has revolved around current Raiders QB Derek Carr, and where that leaves his current status and situation as the team’s ninth-year signal caller.
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Many suggest that the revelation of how the team was keen to bring in Brady as his replacement adds to the pressure on Carr. Others have entertained the theory that Brady’s oft-quoted comment on HBO’s “The Shop” last year — “you staying with that m—-f—-?” — was a reference to Carr, and that it also serves to undermine the Raiders’ main guy.
These are all good talking points, but they’re also a case of lazy assumptions taking over the narrative.
For starters, if you can get past the overwhelming notion that White — a Bostonian who has admired Brady and Gronkowski since their New England years and who hosted both UFC events in his adopted hometown of Vegas — was a key figure in what would have been an absolute blockbuster of an NFL transaction, consider this:
Does it really cast a shadow over Carr that the Raiders organization may have wanted to go Brady’s way? How is it exactly?
It’s not like they were looking to get him out the door at the first opportunity, it was just when the once-in-a-lifetime chance to snare a then-six-time Super Bowl winner presented itself. The replacement discussed was not Mike Glennon. It was Tom Brady.
That’s no small feat for Carr. As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers discovered, getting a GOAT tends to do pretty good things for your overall chances of accomplishing small tasks like winning a Super Bowl.
What team wouldn’t have taken that chance in the middle months of 2020? Kansas City, of course. Green Bay? Maybe a handful of others. Not much.
As for the “m—–f—–” part, that’s all fun and fluff to keep us talking until the season starts, but not much else. Yes, the story now seems to fit the idea that Carr was the man referred to, but equally confident cases were made by conspiracy theorists who previously referred to Jimmy Garoppolo or Ryan Tannehill as the no-name QB.
Brady, in recent years, has found himself quite good at brazenly fueling the NFL rumor mill, as might be expected from someone who’s been at the helm for two decades but just discovered the fiendish delights of the media. social.
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If we ever find out who he was talking about in “The Shop,” it will probably be a long time from now when he’s long gone.
It shouldn’t matter to Carr anyway. Reasonably enough, the Raiders signal caller has taken a pragmatic approach to the rumors and angrily shot them down during his media sessions.
“It really doesn’t matter,” Carr told reporters. “Anything I say is just going to be blown out there, so I’m just going to walk away completely and just keep trying to play football. It was good to answer the football questions. And I hope there’s no more drama in city. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
As for the added pressure on Carr, don’t be so sure. Raiders fans beat to their tune, and while Brady and Gronk would have been welcomed with open arms in Vegas like any other country, the Silver and Black don’t get much courtesy for one of the maligned outside sources.
Therefore, suggestions that Carr is the fall guy in all of this could face swift rebuttal, especially if he makes a strong start to the campaign in the loaded AFC West and charts a course that points to a playoff return.
Carr threw for 23 touchdowns and a career-best 4,804 yards last season, and now has his dear friend and former Fresno State target Davante Adams with him in Sin City. FOX Bet rates the Raiders +650 to win the division, a price that reflects Russell Wilson’s move to the Denver Broncos and the general bullishness of the Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers.
As stated at the top, a lot of what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there after all, but the team’s quarterback remains, with a new source of motivation — rather than a pile of pressure — resting on his shoulder.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Yyou can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.
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