When the Raiders take to the field on Saturday against the Bengals, Rich Bisaccia will lead them there. The interim coach took over a team in turmoil following the resignation of Jon Gruden and led them to the playoffs.
Yet, if they lose, uncertainty awaits them.
The Raiders will conduct a full and thorough coaching search early in the offseason, and it looks like quarterback Derek Carr’s future will be tied to it.
Las Vegas and Carr have a mutual decision to make this offseason, and sources say head coach choice will be a factor.
Bisaccia will be interviewed and considered, sources say. A playoff win or two gives him a much better chance of keeping his job long-term, but the search will be real and thorough, and Bisaccia isn’t necessarily the frontrunner.
Carr made it clear publicly that his preference was to stay with the Raiders, saying he would likely quit football instead of playing for another team. But with one year remaining on his 5-year, $125 million contract, he won an extension near the top of the market.
Thanks to Carr’s stellar play, the Raiders finished the season with four straight wins, all by four points or less. How the organization approaches the extension will be telling.
General manager Mike Mayock’s performance will also be assessed by owner Mark Davis, and whether he stays may also affect Carr’s future.
If the pendulum swings the other way and the Raiders and Carr decide to part ways, expect a long line of suitors for Carr, who has impressed when it mattered most this season on the court. Off the field, as Gruden resigned after the Wall Street Journal and New York Times published articles detailing Gruden’s use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms in emails and former catcher Henry Ruggs III was released following his arrest and multiple felony charges related to his role in a traffic accident that resulted in the death of a young woman, Carr has been key to keeping this locker room together.
Among the teams that would make sense for Carr are the Saints, Texans and possibly the Colts, should they decide to move on from Carson Wentz. If Carr is, in fact, available, he’ll likely generate more interest than that.