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Raiders Rumors: Derek Carr Benched 'in Part' to Avoid Injury For Potential Trade

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 28, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 24: Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gaelen Morse/Getty Images)
Gaelen Morse/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders reportedly benched quarterback Derek Carr in part because they don't want to risk injury before pursuing a potential trade this offseason.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler provided the details:

Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN

Raiders do want to get a look at Jarrett Stidham, and Carr's accuracy became an issue. But as far as Carr's chances to wear a new uniform, dominoes are starting to fall.

Jarrett Stidham will be the Raiders' starting quarterback, and Chase Garbers will back him up, leaving Carr as an inactive player, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 6-9 Raiders close the regular season with home games against the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Before this season, Carr agreed to a three-year, $121.5 million extension with the Raiders. However, Las Vegas can get out of a lot of money by moving on from Carr. As PFF's Ari Meirov noted, the Raiders would also be on the hook for over $40 million if he can't pass a physical.

Ari Meirov @MySportsUpdate

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Raiders</a> would save $29.25M in 2023 salary cap space if they traded or cut Derek Carr. That decision must be made 3 days after the Super Bowl. <a href="https://t.co/KIJxhFaWoi">https://t.co/KIJxhFaWoi</a>

The Raiders appeared to embark on a new era with head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler taking over this year, and expectations were high after the Silver and Black won 10 games and made the playoffs last season.

A decision to stick with Carr appeared to be made, and the Raiders brought in his ex-college teammate and current NFL star wideout Davante Adams to pair with him on offense.

However, this has been a tough season for Carr, whose 14 interceptions lead the NFL. He's also ranked just 25 out of 33 qualifiers in quarterback rating, per Pro Football Reference.

The Raiders also sit with a 6-9 record and have a remote chance at the playoffs at this point.

Las Vegas' problems go far beyond Carr this season, as the team is No. 23 in scoring defense. The Raiders also have struggled mightily in close games, with all but one of their losses occurring by a touchdown or fewer.

Ultimately, the Carr benching appears to be a sign that the Raiders want to move forward, although there could easily be suitors for the 31-year-old Carr, a three-time Pro Bowler who completed 68.7 percent of his passes for 90 touchdowns and just 41 interceptions from 2018-2021.