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Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis was ‘lukewarm’ on Derek Carr, influenced benching

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders closed the door on the Derek Carr era, benching their long-time starting quarterback after nine seasons. While head coach Josh McDaniels announced the decision, it now seems apparent heavy influence came from the top.

Selected with the 36th pick n the 2014 NFL Draft, Carr became one of the most beloved players among fans in Raiders’ history. Despite his lack of postseason success, the veteran’s history of playing through pain and often performing well on bad teams earned him respect.

  • Derek Carr stats (2022): 24-14 TD-INT, 3,522 passing yards, 60.8% completion rate

Las Vegas dedicated significant resources to surround Carr with a stronger supporting cast in 2022. In addition to acquiring All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams, Carr’s best friend, the Raiders hired Josh McDaniels to build an offense that was suited to fit Carr’s strengths.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders benching Derek Carr shows the business side of NFL

Instead, the Raiders have fallen well short of expectations. Las Vegas is eliminated from playoff contention a year after it reached the postseason amid a 2021 campaign filled with off-field issues and drama. A year later, with far more investment to help this team take a step forward, it regressed and frustrations within the organization increased.

While McDaniels is the public face of the decision to bench Carr, who led the NFL in interceptions, reporting by Vic Tafur of The Athletic details exactly how much involvement Davis had in the move. More importantly, it suggests Carr wasn’t as secure after signing his contract extension as previously believed.

According to Tafur, Davis has been lukewarm on Carr for some time now. Part of his frustration and the declining trust in Carr is reportedly tied to the belief that Carr should have overcome the bad coaching, wasted first-round picks and the poor environment around him.

Related: 4 Las Vegas Raiders QB options to replace Derek Carr

Most shocking, per Tafur’s sources, is that both NFL coaching candidates and executives brought in for interviews were stunned by how disparagingly Raiders’ officials talked about Carr.

For a player viewed by the public as the face of the franchise, Davis and many of his top advisors already seemed to be thinking about a future without Carr.

After 15 games, Davis evidently had enough and was ready to permanently cut ties with Carr. The league leader in interceptions was benched days after the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and he is effectively no longer involved with the team that drafted him.

Related: Will Derek Carr walk away from NFL after Raiders’ exit?

It’s an unceremonious end for Carr, who has for years expressed a desire to spend his entire career with the Raiders. However, he didn’t show the progress Davis wanted to see and it played a significant role in the disappointing season.

As for Carr’s future, he will be released early in the 2023 NFL offseason and free to sign with a team of his choosing. In what projects to be an active quarterback carousel, there will be multiple starting opportunities available for him.