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Raiders' Derek Carr Benched, Jarrett Stidham Will Start at QB vs. 49ers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 28, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 04: Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders walks onto the field after a field goal in the second quarter of a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
Chris Unger/Getty Images

The Derek Carr era for the Las Vegas Raiders could be coming to an end.

Head coach Josh McDaniels announced Wednesday he will start backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham over the final two weeks of the 2022 NFL season.

Las Vegas Raiders @Raiders

Head Coach Josh McDaniels addresses the QB position. <a href="https://t.co/1rdhTSsNKr">pic.twitter.com/1rdhTSsNKr</a>

McDaniels opened the door for the move Tuesday.

"I think there's a possibility that we would do the right thing, regardless of the position, in terms of the team," he told reporters.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Carr will step away from the team for the next two weeks.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

As part of the discussions that took place over the last few days, both sides concluded that it was best <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Raiders</a> QB Derek Carr step away the final two games to avoid the obvious distractions, sources say. He won't practice and will be listed as "not injury related."

Carr has struggled of late. In his last five starts, he has thrown for 1,087 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. The nadir came Sunday in a 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he went 16-of-30 for 174 yards, one touchdown and three picks.

Still, elevating Stidham to the starting role sends a message. In 11 appearances over three years, the 2019 fourth-round pick has completed 52.5 percent of his passes for 342 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Not only is Stidham worse than Carr based on his performance to date, but he doesn't figure to be a long-term successor, either.

It's difficult to see this as anything other than the final nail in Carr's coffin with Las Vegas.

Robert Mays @robertmays

Feels like we're getting closer and closer to the Raiders outright releasing Derek Carr right after the season. And whatever you think of Derek Carr, QBs as good as Derek Carr very rarely just become available for no draft capital before their late 30s.

Antwan V. Staley @antwanstaley

I like Derek Carr but it's time for both the Raiders and him to move on. He can go somewhere else and the Raiders can start fresh at QB during the offseason.

The three-time Pro Bowler signed a three-year, $121.5 million extension with the team, but focusing on his overall payout obscures how easily the Raiders can move on this offseason.

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

So the thing about Josh McDaniels saying that Derek Carr knows the Raiders are his team is ... the Raiders just gave Carr a "$121.5 million extension" that has zero dollars guaranteed after the 2022 season and an easy out this February. It had $5.1 million in new guarantees.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted that Carr will have $40.4 million in guarantees locked in if he remains on the roster three days after the Super Bowl. The money becomes fully vested if he can't pass a physical during that window, too.

Benching Carr means he'll avoid the kind of injury that would trigger the guarantee.

Maybe Las Vegas can quickly piece together a trade centered around the 31-year-old. If not, cutting him altogether would be a straightforward pursuit. Per Spotrac, the team would carry $5.6 million in dead money but reap $29.3 million in salary cap savings for 2023.

A U-turn by the Raiders is possible but doesn't seem likely given how quickly the front office will need to make a decision. That puts them firmly in the market for a new quarterback this offseason, and Carr figures to be near the top of the list for franchises looking to add a veteran signal-caller.