Carr should attract plenty of potential buyers
Now that David Carr is priced to move, there are plenty of potential buyers out there kicking the tires, writes Len Pasquarelli.
On a crowded lot that already featured a logjam of previously owned quarterbacks available via free agency or trade, five of whom own résumés that include at least 60 starts apiece, a later-model used Carr moved on Wednesday afternoon into the spot typically reserved for the sales manager's special of the week
So once any interested franchise has a chance to kick David Carr's tires to determine how much pickup he still possesses after being subjected to 249 sacks in five years, and whether he can still get it done in the passing lane, will the Houston Texans be able to find a buyer for the player selected first overall in the 2002 draft?
One would think so because Carr, only 27 and still harboring untapped talents, certainly looks like a better option than guys such as Aaron Brooks, Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Green and Joey Harrington.
Coming to terms with Carr, of course, might be a little more difficult. Compliments of the ill-advised $8 million buyback clause Houston exercised last spring, Carr is due base salaries of $6.75 million for 2007 and $6 million for 2008. He won't come cheap. At the same time, Carr might be so anxious to relegate his experience in Houston to rearview-mirror status that he'll make a renegotiation of his deal relatively facile.
In that case, moving Carr to another team would become infinitely easier and probably would increase the number of franchises with viable interest in him. Twenty-seven years old, at least in a league where a lot of quarterbacks are late bloomers, is the basic equivalent of toddler stage.
Certainly there is some ego-stoked coach or offensive coordinator out there who will convince himself that he can do for Carr what highly respected quarterback mentor Gary Kubiak couldn't get done in Houston last season -- and apparently felt he might never accomplish with Carr.
The team that makes the most sense, in terms of interest in Carr, should be Oakland, where there is no proven starter, although the Raiders seem inclined to use the first overall selection in the draft next month on LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Trading for Carr would provide the Raiders with the kind of strong-armed, vertical-game passer owner Al Davis has long favored and would dramatically alter the dynamic of first round.
If the Raiders acquired Carr and scrapped their plans to choose Russell, Oakland could snatch the draft's best player, Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, with the top pick. And in addition to scrambling mock drafts around the country, not to mention the real draft, it would give Oakland a proven commodity at the game's most critical position. No matter what Carr's failures in Houston, he is still further along in his development than untested and raw Russell.
Rumor is that Raiders coaches and scouts are beyond smitten with Johnson and view him as the surest thing in the talent pool. Plus, choosing him at the top of the draft also would allow Oakland to trade troublesome wide receiver Randy Moss. But it doesn't make sense to take Johnson unless you have a quarterback to get him the ball, and Carr would have a shot. And wasn't the Raiders' new coach and resident wunderkind Lane Kiffin an offensive guru of sorts during his tenure at Southern California? And one more intriguing note: Kiffin and Carr have some history together, as Kiffin was a coach at Fresno State during Carr's first two years there.
What other franchises might have more than passing interest in Carr? Here's a look at some of the possibilities:
• Miami: The Dolphins still don't know whether Daunte Culpepper, now nearly 1½ years removed from surgery to repair the catastrophic knee injury he suffered in 2005, is ready to play. They're exploring a trade for Green, suddenly persona non grata in Kansas City, but Carr is a decade younger than Green and, despite the beating he took in Houston for five years, is also significantly healthier. Even his $6.75 million salary is less than the bloated $7.2 million Green is due in 2007. First-year Dolphins coach Cam Cameron is known as a hands-on quarterbacks coach. Maybe his hands could mold Carr into the quarterback he was expected to be when he was the draft's first overall choice in 2002.
• Minnesota: Second-year Vikings coach Brad Childress is another highly regarded offensive mind with no proven quarterback. The Minnesota depth chart, now that the Vikings have cut veteran Brad Johnson, features Brooks Bollinger and long-term project Tarvaris Jackson. The team is said to like Jackson's potential, but he is nowhere near ready to play yet. The Vikings might be interested in drafting Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, but Carr would offer a more immediate return on their investment.
• Cleveland: Despite the Browns' public support of incumbent Charlie Frye, few in the organization are convinced the two-year veteran is the answer. With the third overall choice in the draft, the Browns figure to have one of the top quarterback prospects, either Russell or Quinn, still on the board. But embattled coach Romeo Crennel, who might be fired in the first month of the season if the Browns get off to a sluggish start, doesn't have the time for or luxury of developing a young quarterback for his successor. Yeah, the Browns have lived through their own first-round flop -- Tim Couch, remember, was the first overall choice in the 1999 draft -- but Carr still represents an upgrade.
• Detroit: Jon Kitna started every game in 2006, threw for more than 4,000 yards and proved the Mike Martz offense could help just about anyone put up big numbers. But, c'mon, we're talking about Jon Kitna, for gosh sakes. Martz would view Carr as a challenge and could have a lot of fun with him.
• Tampa Bay: OK, we're only kidding about the Bucs, right? Uh, yeah. But no one loves to collect quarterbacks more than coach Jon Gruden, who probably is kicking himself right now that the Tampa Bay depth chart is too crowded to accommodate Carr.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.