Derek Carr’s days with the Las Vegas Raiders may be numbered, despite getting the team to the playoffs this season.
It seems every NFL offseason the same rumor creeps up in some form: Will the Las Vegas Raiders move on from quarterback Derek Carr.
Push may finally come to shove this offseason.
Despite getting the Raiders to the playoffs under incredibly dire circumstances, the annual Derek Carr Rumors are popping up before he can even take the field in Saturday’s Wild Card game against the Bengals.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the future of Carr in Las Vega is entirely up in the air heading into an offseason of potential change. Schefter dropped the bomb on NFL Countdown, which is ironically counting down to Carr taking the field with the Raiders on Wild Card Saturday:
"2022 is scheduled to be the final year of Carr’s contract, and there are expected to be contract discussions between Carr and the team this offseason. That has been the plan all along to address it during the offseason. But there have been so many quarterbacks with speculation linked to Vegas in the past. We heard about Tom Brady, we heard about Russell Wilson. The fact of the matter is, with Derek Carr making his first [playoff] start today, he can take another step to cementing that job"
If the report seems a little unfair, that’s probably because it is. Schefter isn’t reporting anything incorrectly, rather it’s the fact that the team is willing to move on from Carr even though he’s shown up for the Raiders despite being consistently dealt a bad hand.
Derek Carr contract status after 2021 season
As mentioned in the report, Carr’s contract runs through the 2022 season which means he only has one year left after the Raiders season ends (possibly in the Super Bowl, which would gloriously complicate all of this).
Here’s what the rest of his deal looks like:
- 2022: $19,777,519 base salary with a $100,000 workout bonus
- 2023: UFA
Carr’s cap hit is projected to be roughly $100,000 more than his base salary, however the Raiders wouldn’t incur any dead cap if they cut or trade Carr this offseason. Usually there’s a provision that requires a team to make such a decision before June 1st, otherwise dead cap starts to hit the books. This isn’t the case with Carr though, which means there’s no deadline to trade him before a certain offseason date.
To be fair, Schefter’s report is framed in a way that makes it sound as though it might be Carr’s decision to leave. Should that happen, there won’t be a shortage of teams looking to bring him in and embrace him in a way the Raiders have surprisingly been reluctant to for seemingly his entire career.
Sean Payton and the Saints would be a perfect fit, as would Mike Tomlin and the Steelers. Everything Carr has shown as far as his Football Grit aligns perfectly with the approach and culture of both Payton and Tomlin.
Don’t overlook the Minnesota Vikings, either. Whoever the Wilf’s end up coupling atop the team’s power structure would likely love to replace Kirk Cousins with the next Pokémon evolution of himself. Carr is everything Vikings fans want Cousins to be, so why not go out and get the Real McCoy?