The Las Vegas Raiders benched Derek Carr to start Jarrett Stidham for the final two games of the regular season in what could be the beginning of a changing of the guard at quarterback.
Coach Josh McDaniels said the Raiders are eager to evaluate Stidham and outlined plans for the final two games, which include making Carr inactive on game day. Chase Garbers will be the No. 2 quarterback.
Carr, 31, signed a long-term deal before the season with guarantees of $40.5 million if he’s injured. The guarantee triggers Feb. 15, written in his contract as “three days after the Super Bowl.”
Carr has an NFL-leading 14 interceptions, including nine in his last five games. He was picked off three times in Las Vegas’ 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.
Stidham, 26, will make his first career start for the Raiders (6-9) on Sunday against the visiting San Francisco 49ers. (11-4). Las Vegas still is mathematically alive for a postseason berth, but it will need to win both of its remaining games and receive plenty of help.
Oddsmakers shifted the line for the game immediately, bumping the 49ers from 5.5-point favorites to 10 points during the QB announcement.
Stidham has completed 8 of 13 passes for 72 yards in three games this season and 32 of 61 for 342 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 career games with the Patriots and Raiders. He was selected by New England in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“We’re gonna go ahead and start Jarrett the last couple of games of the season here,” McDaniels said. “None of us is happy with where we’re at, but we think it’s an opportunity to evaluate a younger player who hasn’t had much time to play.
“Talking to Derek, who was great, he understands the scenario that we’re in, the situation. Very supportive.”
This will be the fourth game Carr has missed in nine NFL seasons.
Carr signed a three-year, $121.5 million extension in April and is under contract through 2025. But the Raiders would save $29.25 million trading or releasing Carr prior to the deadline date on which his roster spot guarantees the next two years of his agreement. Carr does have a no-trade clause in his contract.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Carr has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 3,522 yards and 24 touchdowns in 15 games this season.
Carr has thrown for 35,222 yards with 217 touchdowns and 99 interceptions in 142 career games since being selected by the Raiders in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
–Field Level Media