The Las Vegas Raiders’ decision to bench longtime starting quarterback Derek Carr ahead of their Week 17 outing against the San Francisco 49ers created a firestorm around the NFL on Wednesday.
It’s not that the benching was too surprising. Vegas has no real chance of earning a playoff spot after Carr’s three-interception performance in a Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. By making this decision, the Raiders’ brass is clearly showing its hands. Carr will not be a member of the team next season.
According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, this divorce will now be expedited. The NFL insider notes that Carr has left the team in order to avoid being a distraction over the final two weeks of the season. His absence is reportedly with the Raiders’ permission.
Talk about things changing on a dime. It was just a few months ago that Las Vegas inked Carr to a three-year, $121.5 million contract extension with the expectation that he could be the long-term solution under new head coach Josh McDaniels.
Only 15 games after signing said extension, Carr has almost assuredly played his final game in the Silver and Black.
- Derek Carr stats (2022): 60.8% completion, 3,522 yards, 24 TD, 14 INT, 86.3 QB rating
Carr’s departure from the Raiders comes with him leading the NFL with 14 interceptions. He’s struggled big time under McDaniels, leading to previous speculation that the Raiders were set to move on from the three-time Pro Bowler prior to Wednesday’s news of his benching.
From a financial perspective, Vegas will save north of $29 million against the cap once it opts to release Carr following the 2022 season. The team would have incurred a $7.5 million bill if Carr was injured to close up shop on what has been a lost campaign for both the quarterback and the downtrodden organization.