All that is known at this point is that Edwards is leaving after this season. His future for next year won't officially be sorted out for a few months:
The confirmation by Roush officials Sunday that Edwards will not be back in the No. 99 Ford had been long rumored but not substantiated because Edwards refuses to publicly discuss contract negotiations.
He's believed to be headed to Joe Gibbs Racing in a new fourth car, but his contract with Roush does not permit him to announce his plans until September.
Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, voiced his appreciation of Edwards and all that he's done for the team over the last decade and change:
Very appreciative of what Carl Edwards has meant to @roushfenway. He's been a great ambassador and will always be part of RFR family.— Steve Newmark (@NewmarkRFR) July 27, 2014
ESPN's Marty Smith provided a little more insight on what went on behind the scenes leading up to the 34-year-old's decision:
RFR pres Steve Newmark on Edwards' decision: Said he didn't want to look back and wonder what it might be like elsewhere.— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) July 27, 2014
Newmark noted how private Edwards is w his emotions/reasonings. Said CE looked at landscape of other sports figures & how they change teams— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) July 27, 2014
Newmark: Carl & I have always had a constant open dialogue. We kind of knew the direction we were going for a while.— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) July 27, 2014
Edwards has been very successful with Roush Racing and then Roush Fenway Racing. In the 10 years he'd been with the team before this year, he made 21 trips to Victory Lane and won 13 poles. He's added another two wins from this year's campaign.
However, it's as if Edwards has been staring at a glass ceiling, finishing runner-up in the points standings in 2008 and 2011, in addition to a third-place showing in 2005 and a fourth-place finish in 2010.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, he is one of three drivers to have finished second more than once at the end of the year without winning a points title:
Carl Edwards leaving Roush Fenway Racing at year's end. He's 1 of 3 drivers with multiple 2nd-place finishes in Cup Series pts with 0 titles— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 27, 2014
Moving to another team may allow Edwards to find the breakthrough necessary to climb to the top of the standings at the end of the year. He's been with Roush Fenway for over a decade, so perhaps this type of change could provide the spark he's looking for.
Edwards' absence will be in part filled by Trevor Bayne, whom RFR previously announced will take the step up from the Nationwide Series to Sprint Cup on a full-time basis in 2015.