All signs are pointing to the Las Vegas Raiders releasing Derek Carr from his contract any moment now before his $40 million contract becomes guaranteed for the 2023 season. Needless to say, it’s an emotional time for both Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders, who have been paired together for the past nine seasons.
The tension has led to frisky moments from both sides, whether it’s Carr’s comical comments during the Pro Bowl Games or the team’s frustration from the quarterback going on a visit with the New Orleans Saints, only to later reject a trade, thanks to his no-trade clause the Raiders agreed to put in his contract.
But that may not be all. Now the Raiders could be, note could be, trying to damage their soon-to-be former QB as he prepares to hit free agency.
The latest report from Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes a recent leak from an anonymous source, saying Carr “wasn’t tough enough to hang in the pocket or play well in cold weather” environments. Being that Carr had the benefit of playing his home games in Paradise, Nevada, in warmer climates, the cold weather factor could be something to watch as other NFL franchises pursue the four-time Pro Bowler.
While these comments are certainly interesting, do they have any truth behind them, as far as Carr’s actual performances in these situations? Let’s take a brief look.
Analyzing Derek Carr’s cold-weather, pocket criticism
Some might suggest this line of thinking is true when looking at Carr’s history in cold-weather games. The Fresno, California native is 0-7 all-time in outdoor games that are below 37 degrees in temperature, and he’s also committed more turnovers than touchdowns scored.
- Derek Carr’s stats in games below 37 degrees: 0-7, 6 TD, 9 INT
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Raiders decided to bench Carr following his last cold-weather performance with the team, coming at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, where the temperature was just nine degrees. Carr threw three interceptions while the Raiders were held to their second-fewest points of the season (10).
According to Pro Football Reference, Carr faced the 26th-most amount of pressure among starting quarterbacks or the eighth-least amount of pressure among all QBs who qualified in 2022. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus had Carr with the eighth-best adjusted completion rate when under pressure at 66.9% in 2022. He also had the 14th-highest rate of turnover-worthy plays when facing pressure.
Yet, when Carr was blitzed, his ADJ% dropped down to 20th among QBs, and he had the sixth-highest amount of turnover-worthy plays. In other words, Carr isn’t the best, but he’s far from the worst when under pressure or when defenses send additional rushers on a blitz.
No matter where your opinion on Carr is parked, the 32-year-old QB will be landing another starting job this offseason, and the Raiders will likely be searching for what they hope to be an improvement at QB as well. As we’ve seen in the past, sometimes offseason plans don’t work out on the field as well as they look on paper, just like we saw when Josh McDaniels was hired, with many anticipating an already playoff roster would improve. Only now do we know that’s not what happened at all.
Now the Raiders will be tasked with not only replacing a franchise cornerstone but ensuring this one-year failure was only a fluke. Meanwhile, Carr will have a massive chip on his shoulder, looking to prove why he wasn’t the problem. We’ll see who gets the last laugh.