Latest On Raiders, Derek Carr

The Raiders will start Jarrett Stidham today in what will be his first NFL regular season start and the unofficial beginning of the post-Derek Carr era at quarterback. Vegas made headlines this week when they benched the latter for the remainder of the season.

That has led to the widespread expectation that Carr will be traded during the coming offseason. The 31-year-old has stepped away from the team as they begin the transition away from him, and, presumably, the process of finding a suitable destination to send him in the near future. Carr has a no-trade clause, so the possibility remains that a release allowing him to become a free agent will be the ultimate outcome of this situation.

On that point, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirms that Vegas is “expected to explore trade options” for the three-time Pro Bowler. That comes as little surprise, given the organization’s commitment to replacing him – one which was reportedly driven by owner Mark Davis – along with the market which could materialize for a signal-caller of his experience and with his contract situation. Carr’s three-year extension signed last spring will see his $41.9MM 2023 salary become guaranteed on February 15, creating the narrow window in which a deal is expected to officially take place.

However, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets that both Carr and the Raiders could agree to push back that deadline as a means of making the trade process smoother. Much is still to be determined between now and the onset of the offseason, in any event, which also raises the possibility that the two sides could decide against a separation. The 49ers granting Jimmy Garoppolo permission to seek a trade, then later retaining him, represents a recent example of such a development.

The fact that Carr previously made public his intention of only ever playing for the Raiders is not expected to be a factor in this case, Rapoport notes. The former second-rounder has no intention of retiring at the end of the year, and is reportedly of the belief that “he has his best football ahead of him.” While his 2022 performance – along with that of the Raiders as a whole – strongly suggests otherwise, Carr will nevertheless likely be a key player in the coming offseason QB market.

His expected departure will also, of course, leave Vegas in need of at least a short-term Carr replacement. Among the bridge candidates are Garoppolo, but also Tom Brady. The latter has guided the Buccaneers to another NFC South title, but is not expected to return to Tampa this spring. That – coupled with the recent Carr developments – has led to many speculating that Brady could reunite with Josh McDaniels by joining the Raiders, as he came close to doing in 2020. As the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin writes, a Brady-to-Vegas contract could also accompany another un-retirement from tight end Rob Gronkowski (something which nearly took place in time for this season).

Stidham will use the final two contests of the campaign, one in which the Raiders are all-but eliminated from playoff contention, to audition for playing time in 2023, but regardless of his performances, Vegas will be a team to watch as the QB landscape takes shape in the coming months.

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