You kind of know that’s how it ends with Derek Carr and the Raiders.
Back in 2019, the Raiders quarterback was booed by home fans in the Raiders final game in Oakland…
When the Raiders offered him a “long-term” extension in April with a small signing bonus and a special opt-out clause…
Back in November, when Carr broke down in his postgame press conference, frustrated with how the season had gone and his nine years here. …
The 6-9 team still had a slim chance of making the playoffs on Wednesday, and the Raiders benched Carr for the final two games of the season, starting Sunday against the 49ers. They don’t want $32.9 million guaranteed next season (and $7.5 million in 2024) if Carr gets injured in the next two weeks.
That tells you everything you need to know about how the team feels about Karl. Coach Josh McDaniels said he would like the opportunity to evaluate backup Jarrett Stidham (who also has it with the Patriots). That’s as plausible as some national reports are that the Raiders haven’t made a decision on Carr for next season and want to keep him healthy for a possible trade…if that’s what they end up doing.
In fact, Carr has been around for a while — it’s something he joked that whenever new rumors surfaced, he should have been traded years ago.
Redd: Derek Carr is going down, but Raiders front office is under pressure now
In fact, owner Mark Davis has been lukewarm about Carr for some time, apparently thinking the quarterback should have overcome all of the disastrous draft picks and free agency signings and Davis’ hiring and sales since 2014. All coaches fired. When Davis hired general manager Dave Ziegler and McDaniels in January, he made them decide to stay with Carr.
During that interview, Ziegler and McDaniels had to be a little taken aback by what they heard about Carl. Davis handed over the two-week search to former vice president of player personnel Ken Herrock, who is 81 and an outspoken man. Other general manager and coaching candidates were shocked that Raiders officials in the interview room talked so desperately about Carr, according to people familiar with the matter.
After all, Carr has been the face of the organization for nine years — and has never had a bad word to say despite all the embarrassing moments the team has been through — and has been great in the community, as well as on the field. He is the player with the most touchdown passes in Raiders history (217) and became the first quarterback in Raiders history to reach 30,000 career passing yards and the fifth in NFL history Player with at least 30,000 passing yards in his first eight seasons.
But he didn’t win. In Carr’s nine years with the Raiders, he had two winning seasons and two playoff appearances, one of which he missed (2016) with a broken leg. Carr’s leadership was a big reason the Raiders overcame some horrific off-field incidents and coach Jon Gruden’s resignation to make the playoffs last year over racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails, but Davis made it to the playoffs during the season. Postgame loss to the Bengals (and some Carr decisions on the final drive).
Carr’s toughness in the pocket has been questionable — ironic, since he’s been one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league, missing just three games in nine seasons — while Gruden’s The 3 1/2 years here warmed him up and ended up being a big supporter, but Davis never was.
The Raiders flirted with Tom Brady in the 2020 offseason before Gruden thought Brady was too old. They ended up signing Marcus Mariota to push Carl, who buried him. Due to Karl’s poor talent, the game was over before it even started.
With Carr getting better — and even more aggressive — in the pocket and expanding the offense under Gruden, the Raiders are off to a 3-0 start in 2021. But Gruden left two weeks later, when emails leaked, and then no. 1 catcher Henry Ruggs III was released after a car accident that killed a woman and her dog, It resulted in multiple felony charges, including DUI and reckless driving resulting in death and bodily injury.
The Raiders still made the playoffs, but Davis decided not to keep interim coach Rich Bisaccia despite his success and popularity among players. He adopted the Patriots model and hired Bill Belichick protégés Ziegler and McDaniels. Davis then had them call Carl, and not only did they decide to extend his contract, but they also traded catcher Davante Adams, a perennial All-Pro, one of Carl’s best friends, and a Former teammate at Resno State University.
But the Raiders fell short, becoming the first team in NFL history to break five double-digit leads at halftime. Obviously, McDaniels and Carl were never in sync. Karl would make it clear early in the season that he was just trying to do what McDaniels wanted, and the more he said it, the angrier the people upstairs got. Carr’s 60.8 completion percentage and 86.3 passer rating were his lowest since his rookie season, and his 7.0 yards per attempt and 235 yards per game were his lowest since 2017, and while McDaniels has some of them, He’s not going anywhere.
Ziegler and McDaniels met for two nights to discuss Carr’s status, and as far as I know, they leaned toward starting Carr on Tuesday night. After all, they’ve been preaching the importance of winning and still technically qualify for the playoffs (although there’s a chance they’ll be eliminated before they hit the field on Sunday). Karl was the captain of the team and was respected in the locker room by his teammates, who probably thought it unfair and honorable to make him a scapegoat. I think that’s when Davis stepped in and decided it was time to make a change.
What’s happening now?
Carr missed his fourth and fifth games in nine years and the first non-injury absence. He won’t practice with the team or play in the final two games so as not to be a distraction.
The Raiders could cut Carr after the season, as the $40.4 million combined for 2023 and 24 became fully guaranteed on Feb. 17. 15, three days after the Super Bowl. But the more likely scenario is that the parties agree to a trade to another team. Carr was given a no-trade clause when he accepted the one-year exit plan deal and must approve any trade destinations.
“We’ll see how this plays out. I’m not going to sit here and predict the future,” McDaniels said Wednesday of Carr’s future. “After the season, there’s a lot to do.”
Carr once said he would retire before playing for another team, although of course he could — he’s the rare NFL player whose future is already planned as he’s going to be a priest, a caretaker man and a golfer — I don’t think that’s what happened. He’s competitive and wants to prove the Raiders made a mistake.
His friend Adams came to the Raiders to play with Karl and to be closer to his family. He left the Packers with Aaron Rodgers’ status hanging in the balance, and now he’s here after practice on Wednesday, staring at Cal’s empty locker room.
“Obviously, I don’t think anyone here is excited about it,” Adams told reporters. “He’s one of my really good friends and the reason I got here in the first place. If he wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be here now.
“I think everyone knows how I feel about him and that being said, there is a process to how things go. I’m not going to sit here and carry on. I support my players and we have to end the season on the best possible terms. “
(Above: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)