INDIANAPOLIS -- When Josh McDaniels was hired earlier this offseason as the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, it was a sign that Derek Carr was secure in his starting quarterback role, at least for the 2022 season.
McDaniels ensured Wednesday that that would be the case.
"Sure. Absolutely. There's no doubt about it," McDaniels said on NFL NOW at the Combine when asked if Carr was the Raiders' Week 1 starter. "I really am excited about this opportunity to work together. I know what he's done and I know what we might be able to go going forward together. And that's what really excites me."
In the last offseasons of the Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock era in Las Vegas, Carr was seen as a possible trade candidate as Gruden's offenses were struggling to flourish and big name veterans like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers appeared to become available.
But Carr responded in 2021, a difficult season in Las Vegas for myriad reasons on and off the field, with one of his best campaigns, throwing for a career-high 4,804 yards and leading the Raiders to the postseason for the second time in his career.
And now, the honeymoon is on in Las Vegas, with McDaniels and Carr volleying compliments back and forth this offseason. Carr recently called the pairing of Patriots imports McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler in Nevada "super awesome."
Carr is slated to make just $19.87 million in 2022, the final year of a then-blockbuster five-year extension in 2017. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported in February that the Raiders were preparing to commit to Carr with an extension that would keep him in Las Vegas for the foreseeable future. If that deal is finalized before the season, it will be a sure sign that McDaniels is happy to ride Carr as his quarterback going forward, if his effusive compliments Wednesday weren't indicative enough.
"I'm excited," McDaniels said. "He's been a leader of this franchise for a number of years. I'm getting to know him as a person. I'll get to know him more as a player -- more than just what I've been able to see on tape -- as we go into the spring and into the summer.
"Excited that we have a veteran leader on our football team that knows how to play the position that's won a lot of big games. Excited to see what we can do together."