At the end of the 2021 season, things were looking good for the Las Vegas Raiders. Their quarterback Derek Carr led them to a win during the final game of the year, securing a spot in the playoffs. Though the Raiders ultimately fell in the AFC Wild Card round to the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, there were plenty of positives. The team seemed poised to take another step this year.
But then the 2022 season kicked off — and things quickly went awry. The Raiders lost their first three games by a combined 14 points and lost seven out of their first nine. The team finished 6-11, falling well short of the playoffs. They also had the notable distinction of being the first team in NFL history to lose five games where they had double-digit leads in the second half.
Before the team's Week 17 game against the in-state rival San Francisco 49ers, the Raiders opted to bench their longtime starting quarterback Derek Carr in favor of Jarrett Stidham. The move seemed to come as somewhat of a surprise, and it signaled the end of Carr's tenure in Las Vegas.
The Raiders received interest from the New Orleans Saints in a potential trade. But Carr has a no-trade clause that he refuses to waive. That means the Raiders can either keep him on the team or waive him. The latter would send him to free agency, giving the Raiders nothing in return.
Yet that might be the only path for the Raiders to take. The relationship between Carr and the team appears to be severed beyond repair. And the clock is ticking for Las Vegas — if Carr is still on the team by Wednesday, he'll earn $40.4 million in guaranteed money. If the Raiders cut him before then (a move they're expected to make), they'll at least save that money in salary cap costs.
By declining to waive his no-trade clause, Carr has essentially given himself his pick of teams. He could very well end up in New Orleans anyway, but on a much more favorable deal for him. He'll be 32 by the time next season starts, which is still relatively young for a quarterback. He has four Pro Bowl appearances under his belt and would be an upgrade for several teams. That will likely command a deal in excess of $100 million over three or more seasons.
Still, how nice would it be to make an extra $40 million on top of whatever new deal he signs? Carr can hope the entire Raiders organization stubbornly holds onto him for a few more days.