Derek Carr: Can We Talk About This MVP Thing For A Minute?

Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts after the Denver Broncos were called for a penalty in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts after the Denver Broncos were called for a penalty in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is having a fantastic season – but is he worthy of MVP consideration?

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is having a terrific season. And he has had a big hand in helping this Raiders team return to not just relevance, but prominence. With poise, precision, and leadership, Carr has helped guide this team to their best start since 2000 and has people talking about Oakland returning to the playoffs – and not as a punchline.

Carr has been exceptional this season and has earned widespread praise. However, there have been scant few media types who have actually put him in the mix for the league’s MVP award. Oh, there have been a few – former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon among them – but by and large, Carr’s viability as an MVP candidate has been overlooked.

Or at least, not taken anywhere nearly as seriously as some others.

In fact, to hear some tell it, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady already has the MVP award for this season all sewn up. Several sportsbooks in Vegas have Brady listed as a heavy favorite to win the award – with Carr trailing in the distance and still something of a longshot.

To be sure, Brady is off to a fantastic start to the season – or at least, the start of his season. Having missed the first four games of the year due to suspension for the Deflategate fiasco, Brady has come out firing. In his five starts post-suspension, he’s thrown for 1,635 yards, 12 touchdowns and just one interception. He’s also got a QB rating of 125.5 over that span.

Those are pretty solid numbers, to say the least.

But let’s get real here for a moment. Agree with it or not, Brady was suspended for four games this year for what amounted to – cheating. And after being denied a hearing by the full Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Brady accepted the suspension. And now, he must also accept the consequences that come with that suspension.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Former Raiders running back Marcel Reece was suspended four games for violating the league’s PED policy and as a consequence, was not allowed to attend what would have been his fourth straight Pro Bowl. Which makes it seem more than a little ridiculous that Brady – who served a four game suspension for cheating – would still be allowed to take home one of the league’s more prestigious individual awards.

But even if you put the questions about whether Brady should or shouldn’t be eligible to be the league’s MVP aside, you can still make a compelling case that he shouldn’t be in the running for the hardware.

These days, in this fantasy league driven culture, people seem to equate big numbers with a player’s value to his team. Statistics matter, sure. But the MVP award is supposed to go to the player who is most valuable to his team – hence the “Most Valuable” in the title, “Most Valuable Player.”

And while Brady’s statistics are through the roof, without question, what should be in question is whether or not he is the most valuable player to his team in the NFL. And if you were to look at it objectively, you would have to conclude that he’s – not.

Through New England’s first four games this year – the four games Brady was serving his suspension – the Patriots went 3-1 with a combination of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett under center. New England got off to a fast start and in fact, the hardly seemed to miss a beat in Brady’s absence.

The fact that the Patriots did just fine without Brady calling the shots would seem to suggest that he’s not necessarily the most valuable player on his own team.

However, if you take a look at Carr’s body of work this season and what he’s meant to his team, you would be forced to conclude that his value to the Raiders far exceeds Brady’s value to the Patriots. Where would Oakland be with Matt McGloin or Connor Cook under center this season?

They wouldn’t be sitting at 7-2, we can tell you that with absolute certainty.

In addition to making more key throws in critical situations than we can count right now, Carr is currently seventh in the league in passing yardage – although as of this writing, two quarterbacks ahead of him, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers have played one more game. He’s also in the top 10 in touchdown passes with 17 and has thrown just three interceptions this season – which puts him among the best in the league.

But even more than statistics, Carr has helped lead Oakland’s resurgent offense. Overall, the have the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense – sixth in passing yards, fourth in rushing yards. They are also fifth in points scored.

Carr has developed very well and rather than regress as some suggested he might, he’s taken a big step forward in his growth as an NFL passer. He’s cut down on his poor throws and mistakes – showing that he’s learned from his past issues. He’s also increased his number of key – and accurate – throws in crucial situations.

He’s even helped these Raiders pull out a couple of games they could have – and perhaps even should have – lost this season.

It’s hard to imagine this team having the sort of success they’re having with McGloin or Cook under center.

There are, of course, other players you can make a case for winning the MVP. Matt Ryan. Ezekiel Elliott. Von Miller. Perhaps even Dak Prescott.

Next: The Road Ahead Gets No Easier For The Raiders

But two things are certain – one is that Brady should be ineligible for the award since he was suspended for, you know, cheating. The second is that Carr should absolutely be in very serious consideration for the award – if not a front runner for it.

At the end of the day, the MVP award is supposed to go to the guy who proves to be the most valuable to his team. Not necessarily, the guy who puts up the biggest stat totals. And Carr’s value to this Raiders team is clearly, immeasurable.