Once the Las Vegas Raiders made the move to bench Derek Carr, it was clear that he had played his last game with the team. After nine seasons as the starting quarterback, he didn’t even get a chance to play his last game in front of the home crowd. Carr stayed quiet on the matter for a few weeks but finally came out and said farewell to the fan base. If it wasn’t obvious before, it’s now essentially a fact that he won’t be back in Las Vegas next season.
For the Raiders’ part, they will try to trade him over the next month. Now that their season is over, they can start looking at their options. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Las Vegas has taken the first steps toward trading Carr.
As Rapoport noted, Carr has a no-trade clause so he’ll be able to dictate which team he ends up on. The quarterback had previously said that he would rather retire than play for a new team but he made it clear that is no longer the case. Carr will be playing next season and where he ends up will be one of the biggest stories to watch this offseason.
Carr Won’t Help the Raiders Out
The Raiders are facing an uphill battle if they hope to trade Carr. They have to do it by February 15 or else his contract becomes guaranteed. The team could hold onto him and hope a trade materializes but they’ll take on a big cap hit. Getting Carr off the books before February 15 will save them a ton of money.
That will make a trade very difficult to put together. Carr could do the Raiders a huge favor by agreeing to extend the deadline on his contract guarantees so that they have more time to make a trade. However, that’s not going to happen, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
The Raiders can’t actually trade Carr until the new league year starts in March. That means trading the quarterback would require a handshake agreement between Carr and the team he’s getting traded to. It would be quite risky for the Raiders to trust that the quarterback and another team to not welch on the deal. The most likely outcome is that Carr is released before February 15.
Why Wouldn’t Carr Help out Raiders?
If the Raiders gave Carr a chance to finish out the season and let him know that he would be playing his last games with the team, then perhaps he may have been more willing to help them out. However, Las Vegas decided to have his last pass be an interception on the road in Pittsburgh. Carr has absolutely no reason to help out the team now.
If a team is willing to take on his contract in a trade, they’ll be willing to sign him to a similar deal in free agency. There is an incentive for teams to try and trade for Carr so that he doesn’t hit the open market but the quarterback has a no-trade clause. He’s going to play wherever he wants. The Raiders have no leverage here. While they’d love to get something in return for Carr, it’s just not going to happen. In hindsight, the team made a lot of mistakes throughout this whole process.