Typically quarterbacks of Derek Carr’s caliber don’t ever get the chance to hit free agency. When the Las Vegas Raiders benched him following a Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a trade seemed like an inevitability. However, the contract extension the team gave Carr before the season included a no-trade clause, which made it difficult to make a deal happen.
Carr had the power to veto any potential trade and force the team to release him. That’s exactly what ended up happening and the Raiders got nothing for the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Las Vegas did have a trade offer from the Saints that they were willing to accept but Carr declined to waive his no-trade clause. That wasn’t because he wouldn’t accept any trade. He blames the Raiders for not giving him the chance to speak to other teams before the deadline to cut him.
“I was very willing to accept a trade,” Carr said during his March 11 introductory press conference with the Saints. “But I was only able to talk to one team. I was only given permission to talk to one team. As much as I love and respect those guys, Dave and Josh over at the Raiders, how do I make that decision when it’s the only time in my career that I’ve been, or could possibly be free? I can’t possibly make that decision without being able to talk to other people. But I still almost made the decision. I felt so much love here. Like, I still almost did it.
“But at the end of the day, I just felt like I knew that when I sat here, I wanted to be able to look my kids in the eye, look my wife in the eye, and know that I did everything in my power, I asked every question, I went through every process to make sure I tried to make the best decision for our family, for us together. So, I wasn’t closed off to it all, which was maybe shocking to some people. But I wasn’t closed off, I was willing to work, but I just was only able to talk to the Saints. But it worked out.”
Why Didn’t Raiders Let Carr Speak to More Teams?
The Raiders were in a difficult situation with Carr. They didn’t really have much leverage with the contract they gave him. It was always going to be hard to trade him as teams knew Las Vegas would eventually have to release him. The Saints really wanted him so they put in an offer but it worked out for them in the long run.
The Raiders wanted to agree to terms on a trade before they allowed them to meet with Carr. With teams knowing that it would likely end with the quarterback hitting free agency, they didn’t work with the Raiders. Even though Carr was willing to accept a trade, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where it would’ve realistically happened.
Carr Talks Difficulty of Leaving Raiders
Carr spent almost a decade as the face of the Raiders franchise and didn’t want to leave. However, the decision wasn’t up to him. Though it was difficult to leave a team that he spent so much time with, he is excited for the fresh start New Orleans provides.
“It’s hard because I love so many people there. At the same time it’s a breath of fresh air,” Carr said.