Derek CarrPhoto: Getty Images
Being supplexed by the lowly Steelers and Kenny Pickett on Sunday Night Football finally broke the spell Derek Carr has on the Raiders. On Wednesday, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels decided to bench the Raiders’ starting quarterback of the past nine years for the final two weeks of the regular season. Jarrett Stidham’s promotion is temporary, but Carr’s demotion isn’t an attempt to keep Carr fresh for 2023, either. Derek Carr’s days in Silver and Black Raider are numbered.
Carr’s $40.4 million injury guarantees, which vest in full if he fails to pass a physical before the third day of the 2023 waiver period, give the Raiders clear incentive to take his salary off their books. Mark Davis, one of the poorest owners in the NFL, is another incentive for the Raiders to look elsewhere for their dream quarterback. Maybe it will be Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo or Tom Brady. Carr, who was the Raiders’ highly compensated quarterback for a decade, is the pinnacle of procrastination.
Early in his career, it was revealed he wasn’t a franchise quarterback, but a career year in 2016 bought him more time to prove himself. In a league where franchise quarterbacks are expected to compete for Super Bowls, Carr’s peak performance was the wild card round, and he repeatedly headed that low bar.
Confidence in Carr began to bottom out back in 2018, when the underutilized Amari Cooper was catapulted to Dallas midseason. Dana White was reportedly attempting to finalize a deal that would have put Brady center stage for the Raiders ahead of the 2020 season. Derek Carr has since insisted he wasn’t the mothafucker Brady referred to on HBO’s The Shop, and now he’s not the Raiders’ starting quarterback.
For the past four seasons, Carr has barely kept his head above sea level, but the franchise’s goggles of desperation prevented her from seeing the truth. On the stretch to the 2021 season in Vegas, Carr was a prolific deep ball passer, but at the expense of a turnover machine.
Last January, Carr’s red-zone interception in their wild card match against the Bengals ended their turbulent 2021 campaign. After the Raiders brought Carr’s favorite Fresno State target, Davante Adams, to Vegas, reality began to congeal. At the same time, Carr was awarded a three-year, $121.5 million extension and he and Adams were expected to form one of the league’s most dynamic duos.
From what I saw in week 1 I was ready to get involved with Carr. He repeatedly fielded receivers, made countless errors, and never displayed the command of an alleged franchise quarterback. The Raiders appeared unaware that the AFC West is a Patrick Mahomes-Justin Herbert duopoly and Carr is closer to Russell Wilson’s basement than the other two gold-plated signal callers in his division. Carr is the caliber of quarterback who needs ideal conditions to thrive, or he presents himself as an average dork who rises or falls at the level of his competition but can’t elevate his co-stars to elite levels.
Low expectations in the past protected Carr from undue scrutiny, but 2022’s Crucible was instructive. Carr is in his final days with the Raiders. Good get rid of bad garbage.