Back when a quarterback was booed by local fans at the Raiders’ last game in Oakland in 2019…
Back when the Raiders awarded him a “long-term” extension in April with a small signing bonus and a Special withdrawal clause …
And back in November, when Carr broke down In a post-match press conference, I ironed out frustration about how this season had gone and also my nine years here…
On Wednesday, with a 6-9 team still with a mathematical albeit slim chance of making the playoffs, the Raiders put Carr through their last two games of the season, starting Sunday against 49ers. They don’t want to be on the hook for a guaranteed $32.9 million next season (and another $7.5 million in 2024) if Carr gets injured in the next couple of weeks.
This tells you everything you need to know about the team’s feelings for Carr. Coach Josh McDaniels said he wanted a chance to evaluate the backup Jarrett Stidham (Which he also had with Patriots). That’s as plausible as some of the national reports that the Raiders haven’t decided on Carr for next season and wanted to keep him healthy for a potential trade…if that’s what they end up doing.
In fact, Carr has been a special guy for a while — something he’s been joking about, saying it should have been circulating years ago when a new rumor surfaced.
Reid: Derek Carr is backing off, but the pressure is now on the Raiders brass
In fact, owner Mark Davis had been frosty with Carr for a while, apparently believing the quarterback should have weathered all the disastrous draft picks and free agent signings and all the coaches Davis had hired and fired since 2014. When Davis hired the general manager In January, Dave Ziegler and McDaniels allowed them to make the call on continuing with Carr.
During that interview process, Ziegler and McDaniels had to be a little surprised at what they heard about Carr. Davis handed the reins of the two-week quest to former vice president of players Ken Hurok, and Hurok, now 81, isn’t the type to mince words. Other GM candidates and coaches were shocked by the desperate way Raiders officials in the interview room spoke about Carr, according to people familiar with the discussions.
After all, Carr had been the face of the organization for nine years – he never said a bad word despite all of the franchise’s embarrassing moments – and he was cool on the community and good on the field. He is the Raiders’ all-time leader in touchdown passes (with 217) and became the first QB in Raiders history to pass for 30,000 career yards and only the fifth player to pass for 30,000 career yards. NFL history with at least 30,000 receiving yards in his first eight seasons.
But he didn’t win. The Raiders had two winning seasons and two playoff appearances in Carr’s nine-year career, missing a playoff game (in 2016) with a broken leg. Last year, Carr’s leadership was a big reason the Raiders overcame some horrific off-field incidents and coach John Gruden’s resignation over racist, homophobic, and misogynistic emails to make the playoffs, but Davis still lost in the playoffs to Bengals (And some kar resolutions on another drive).
There have always been questions about Carr’s toughness in the pocket – ironic since he was one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league, only losing three games in nine seasons – and while Gruden warmed to him in his three-and-a-half years here and was a huge support in the end, Davis never was.
Flirt with the raiders Tom Brady In the 2020 offseason before Gruden decided Brady was too old. I ended up signing Marcus Mariota To pay Karr, Karr buried him. The competition ended before it started, due to Carr’s arm talent.
Carr got better and better under Gruden—becoming more aggressive in scrambling and extending pocket plays—and the Raiders started 3-0 in 2021. But Gruden was gone two weeks later, when emails leaked, and then-nominated wide receiver Henry Ruges III has yet to be released. His car accident that killed a woman and her dog and led to multiple felony charges of drunk driving and reckless driving resulting in death and bodily harm.
The Raiders still made the playoffs but Davis decided not to keep interim head coach Rich Pesaccia despite his success and popularity with the players. He went with the Patriots model and hired Bill Belichick, protectors Ziggler and McDaniels. Davis then let them make the call on Carr, and not only decided to extend his deal but also traded for the receiver. Davant Adamsa perennial All-Pro player, is one of Carr’s best friends and former teammate at Fresno State.
But the Raiders didn’t get done, and became the first team in NFL history to blow four double-digit leads at the end of the first half. It was clear that McDaniels and Carr were never in sync. Carr had made a point early in the season to say that he was just trying to do exactly what McDaniels wanted, and the more he said it, the more people were upstairs. Carr’s 60.8 completion percentage and 86.3 passer rating are his lowest since his rookie season, and his 7.0 yards per attempt and 235 yards per game are his lowest since 2017, and while McDaniels has some of that, it’s not going anywhere.
Ziegler and McDaniels met for two nights to discuss Carr’s condition, and my reading is that on Tuesday night, they were inclined to keep Carr as a starter. After all, they were preaching the importance of winning and were still technically alive in the playoffs (although they could have been disqualified before they took the field on Sunday). Carr is the team leader and is so respected by his locker room mates, his teammates may not think making him a scapegoat is fair or honorable. I think that’s when Davis stepped in and decided it was time for a change.
what is happening now?
Carr misses his fourth and fifth games in nine years and the first not due to injury. He will not be training with the team and will not be in either of the last two games to avoid a distraction.
The Raiders can cut Carr after the season because that combined $40.4 million for 2023 and ’24 becomes fully guaranteed on February 15, three days after the Super Bowl. But the most likely scenario is for both sides to agree to trade with another team. Carr was given a no-trade clause while accepting the one-year exit plan deal and would have to agree to any trade destination.
“We’ll see how this goes forward. I’m not going to sit here and predict the future,” McDaniels said Wednesday of Carr’s future. “There’s a lot to sort out once the season is over.”
Carr once said he would retire before playing for another team, and though he certainly could — he’s a rare NFL player and he’s determined his future to be a pastor, a family man, and a golfer — I don’t think that’s what happens. He is very competitive and will want to prove the raiders wrong.
His friend, Adams, came to the Raiders to play with Carr and be closer to his family. left Packers Because Aaron Rodgers’ stature was up in the air, and now here he is Wednesday after practice, staring at Carr’s empty locker.
“Obviously, I don’t think anyone was excited about that here,” Adams told reporters. “He’s one of my really good friends and the reason I came here in the first place. I wouldn’t be here now if he wasn’t here.
“I think everyone knows how I feel about him and with that, there is a process to how it goes. I’m not going to sit here and carry on. I support my man and we have to finish this season in the best way we can.”
(Top photo: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)