The Raiders’ crash in the postseason after Carr’s injury, however, shows they should give the backup spot attention. But at the moment, Carr, 26, seems to present the brightest future among quarterbacks in the AFC West.
The Denver Broncos have the youngest quarterback room in the league with Trevor Siemian, a third-year QB who started 14 games in 2016, and Paxton Lynch, a first-round pick in 2016. The Kansas City Chiefs, meanwhile, moved up in the 2017 draft to select quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.
It’s a quarterback’s league, so what is the long-term health at the position for each team in the division?
Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs reporter: It’s great in Oakland, which just signed Carr to a new deal. It’s going to be difficult for the other AFC West teams to do better over the long term than the Raiders. The Broncos and Chiefs are in similar situations after drafting quarterbacks in the first round in the past couple of seasons, Denver with Lynch last year and Kansas City with Mahomes this year. Neither player is a sure thing, so the Broncos and Chiefs might have more work to do here. But each team identified a quarterback it liked and moved up in the first round to get him, so they’re trying. That’s more than can be said for the Chargers, who have no successor for Philip Rivers. It hasn’t been a priority, not with Rivers being only 35. But that has to change within the next couple of years.
Eric Williams, Los Angeles Chargers reporter: At 26, Carr is the real deal and gives the Raiders a better long-term answer at the most important position than any other team in the AFC West. Rivers turns 36 in December but is still talented enough to lead the Chargers to a deep playoff run. The problem for the Chargers is that they have no succession plan for Rivers. At 33, Alex Smith can still effectively lead the Chiefs on offense. However, Kansas City is on the verge of replacing Smith with a more explosive playmaker in Mahomes, who was the No. 10 pick in April. The Broncos have two quarterbacks competing for the starting job in Siemian and Lynch, which means Denver probably has no true franchise quarterback on the roster.
Paul Gutierrez, Oakland Raiders reporter: The Raiders are set now that Carr has signed a new deal. He is the franchise QB they have been searching for since Rich Gannon was taking snaps in Oakland at the turn of the century. The Chargers, meanwhile, can only realistically expect another season or two out of Rivers, and backup Kellen Clemens does not exactly instill fear in the rest of the division. The Chiefs are an interesting case study in that erstwhile “game manager” Smith has won at least 11 games in three of his four seasons in Kansas City but is hearing footsteps with the team drafting Mahomes in the first round. Then there is Denver, which many believed would have either Tony Romo or Colin Kaepernick under center by now. Alas, the Broncos tried to make due with Siemian and Lynch last season, and while neither embarrassed himself, would you truly expect either of them to be the quarterback in Denver in three years?