Derek Carr Has Been Benched in Vegas — Has He Played his Last Game for the Raiders?

Kind of a surprise given that the Raiders aren’t officially eliminated from the playoffs yet:

Not only is Carr benched, he’s basically been kicked off the team:

I mean, come on, does anybody buy this? “To avoid the distractions,” the Raiders are saying.

When a QB gets benched he normally sits there, on the sideline, with a headset and a clipboard, and does whatever he can to help the starting QB out. That’s what Matt Ryan has been doing in Indianapolis.

The Raiders just sent Derek Carr’s ass off the team, is what I’m reading from this.

THEY ARE STILL TECHNICALLY IN PLAYOFF CONTENTION HERE!

Sure, they’re 6-9 and in 12th place in the AFC, but they have not been eliminated from the playoffs. They’re probably going to lose this week and be eliminated because they play the 49ers, and they are not winning that game with Jarrett Stidham at QB. But they’re still alive and yet they’re waving the white flag.

And they’re like, “Yeah, Derek, just get the hell out of here, man. We don’t want you around here anymore.”

It certainly seems as if he’s done in Las Vegas. According to Spotrac, his contract runs through 2025, but the Raiders can get rid of him next month, this offseason, without incurring much in dead cap:

However, Carr does have a full no trade clause, meaning if they try to trade him, it has to be somewhere he wants to go.

If the Raiders can’t come to a deal with him for a trade to another team, though, they can just cut him, at which point he’ll become a free agent.

I want to just point something out, in Derek Carr’s defense: the dude has literally never had a good defense. The Raiders’ league ranks in points allowed per game, by year:

  • 2022: 24th
  • 2021: 26th
  • 2020: 30th
  • 2019: 24th
  • 2018: 32nd
  • 2017: 20th
  • 2016: 20th
  • 2015: 22nd
  • 2014: 32nd

Derek Carr has to put up with and overcome a lot of incompetence and dysfunction.

The Raiders first round draft picks over the past few years have been nothing short disastrous:

  • 2021, Alex Leatherwood: not even on the team anymore ❌
  • 2020, Henry Ruggs: in jail for manslaughter ❌
  • 2020, Damon Arnette: already out of the league due to legal issues ❌
  • 2019, Clelin Ferrell: still on the team but isn’t a true starter despite being drafted 4th overall. And they declined to pick up his 5th year option 🟡
  • 2019, Josh Jacobs: One of the few hits for the Raiders in the draft, however they also declined his 5th year option as well just like with Clelin Ferrell ✅
  • 2019, Jonathan Abram: Released by the Raiders on November 8, 2022 ❌
  • 2018, Kolton Miller: An offensive lineman who is still with the team as a starter ✅
  • 2017, Gareon Conley: No longer in the NFL ❌
  • 2016, Karl Joseph: Currently plays for the Steelers ❌

9 first round picks over the past 7 drafts, and only 2 of them were hits. You could call Ferrell a hit, I guess, because he’s on the team still and does play a decent amount, but them not picking up his 5th year option isn’t a good sign.

It’s really difficult for a quarterback to function with this sort of incompetence. Jon Gruden was absolutely horrible at drafting. Just horrendously, heinously awful. Thought he was smarter than everyone else in the league and made all sorts of head-scratching picks. He was too clever by half most of the time.

And Derek Carr was the one who had to try to overcome it–all of Gruden’s harebrained draft schemes and blunders. The Raiders did make some good draft picks in later rounds–Maxx Crosby in the 4th in 2019, Hunter Renfrow in the 5th in 2019, Nate Hobbs in the 5th in 2021–but apparently it was Mike Mayock who made the later draft picks for the Raiders. Gruden, from what I have heard, was the one who had the power to make the earlier round draft picks, the ones that were mostly busts.

So Derek Carr has never had a good defense, and his team’s front office was throwing away first round picks left and right. Given all the adversity he had to overcome, I’d say he did pretty well for himself. He led the Raiders to the playoffs twice and made the Pro Bowl three times.

But Josh McDaniels doesn’t want him anymore. Doesn’t even want him around.

So which team does?

Obviously Carr will have some suitors.

The Jets are going to be high up on the list. They’ve got some really good pass-catching weapons, their defense is legit–they’re basically just a quarterback away from contending. And the Jets are officially done with Zach Wilson, so this is a good match.

Of course, the Colts are going to be another candidate for Carr just because of the recent history of the franchise: Philip Rivers in 2020, Carson Wentz in 2021, Matt Ryan this year. This is what they do: they sign quarterbacks in Carr’s position. But I don’t know why Carr would want to go to Indy, quite honestly. The weapons aren’t as good as what the Jets can offer, nor is the defense. And they are uncertain at head coach. Carr has options, and I don’t think Indy is super attractive for him. If they get Jim Harbaugh, that probably changes things, because he has a track record of success in the NFL. But that’s a big if, although I think it’ll happen, to be quite honest. I think Harbaugh will be the next coach of the Colts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Carr will go to Indy.

Another option is the Saints, although the rumor now is that Sean Payton is coming back and Tom Brady is coming with him. I’d be shocked if that happens, but the rumor is floating around. Derek Carr would be good in New Orleans with Olave, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara–and they have a solid defense, too. But their salary cap situation has to be a gigantic mess, no?

Tampa is another option. We all believe Brady is leaving, right? Well, then Tampa needs a quarterback. They’ve got great weapons on offense, and a strong defense. It’s an attractive landing spot, for sure.

The Patriots: put on your tinfoil hats, it’s conspiracy time. Josh McDaniels is doing Bill Belichick a favor by getting Derek Carr out of Las Vegas and over to New England. Mac Jones is clearly not anything special, and Belichick needs a quarterback who can win now. Belichick’s Patriots may not have much in the way of offensive weapons, but the Patriots will be able to back Carr up with a strong defense, which is something Carr has never had before.

Then again, if Matt Patricia is the offensive coordinator in New England next year, there is no way Derek Carr will want anything to do with that team. It’s hard to envision Belichick letting Patricia call plays again, and I have a feeling he’ll bring somebody else in–maybe Bill O’Brien–but if he doesn’t, there’s no chance Carr goes to New England. No chance at all.

I’m also seeing the Panthers, the Commanders, the Titans, the Giants, the Falcons, and even the possibility of him returning to the Raiders. The list of possible next teams for Carr is like 1/3 of the league at this point.

But that’s because he would represent an upgrade for a heck of a lot of teams out there.

Here’s one more name I want to throw out there: San Fran.

If Brock Purdy quarterbacks the Niners to a Super Bowl Championship, then forget about it. He’s their guy.

But if not, then San Fran will be faced with three options: Brock Purdy, Jimmy G, or Trey Lance.

Trey Lance, maybe it’s not fair to judge him because of how little he’s played, but Trey Lance ain’t it. He couldn’t get on the field as a rookie, they kept Jimmy G around for Lance’s second year because they didn’t trust Lance–he ain’t it.

I think Derek Carr would represent an upgrade over both Purdy and Jimmy G. Don’t get me wrong, Purdy has done great given the situation he’s been put in. But he was a 7th rounder. And Garoppolo is good, but I think Carr is better.

San Fran might be the best possible situation for Carr given the defense, the head coach and most importantly the offensive weapons he’d have around him. On top of that, Carr is originally from California and went to college at Fresno State, which is about a three hour drive from the Bay Area.

If San Fran doesn’t win the Super Bowl this year, there’s a real chance they might go after Derek Carr in the offseason. I wouldn’t count that possibility out.

At any rate, it certainly looks like Carr’s time with the Raiders is coming to a close.

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