This was supposed to be a big year for Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders but that hasn’t been the case through seven games. The team is 2-5 and Carr is 18th in the NFL in passer rating while only throwing nine touchdowns to five interceptions. The offseason trade for Davante Adams was expected to elevate his game to new levels but the two are having a hard time heating up on a consistent basis.
The Raiders are coming off a 24-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints in one of Carr’s worst career games. He couldn’t even get the offense into Saints territory a single time. The team gave him a three-year contract extension worth $121.5 million this offseason so it’s hard to imagine the head coach Josh McDaniels is considering benching him yet. However, a few more performances similar to the Saints game and the Raiders may not have a choice. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine is predicting that the three-time Pro Bowler will get sent to the bench in favor of Jarrett Stidham before the season ends:
However, the Raiders are going to be in an interesting situation with Carr this offseason. He just signed an extension but he only carries a dead cap charge of $5.6 million, making him an ideal trade or cut candidate if the Raiders want to go in another direction.
That could mean handing over the keys to see what Stidham can do over the final stretch of the season.
Why Raiders Won’t Bench Carr
It’s far too early in McDaniels’ tenure for him to consider benching Carr. It would be one thing if the Raiders had a promising young quarterback on the roster or a proven starter as a backup but that isn’t the case. Stidham has only played in 10 career games and none of them were starts. In those games, he has two touchdowns to four interceptions.
Yes, Stidham has a deep understanding of McDaniels’ offense at this point in his career but that doesn’t make him a better quarterback than Carr. He’s been the starting quarterback for almost a decade, holds every major Raiders passing record and is a team captain. Benching him in the middle of the season would kill what’s left of the team’s morale. Stidham isn’t going to be the long-term starter so there’s no reason to make such a bold move this season. If the team wants to move on from Carr, they have to do it in the offseason.
Carr Playing Through Injury
Carr’s performance against the Saints was certainly surprising. He looked off all game and missed a number of passes he usually makes. A recent back injury could be a factor in why he’s struggled. He admitted as much this week.
“Did it affect anything in my mechanics or something like that? Of course,” Carr said of his back injury Wednesday. “It’s something I’m battling through and dealing with.”
Carr is a tough player so it’s possible he’s hurting more than he’s letting on. That said, the Raiders would be better off giving him time off to heal if he’s going to perform at the same level he did against the Saints.