Quarterback Derek Carr released a statement on Thursday to say farewell to Las Vegas Raiders fans as he confirmed his departure.
The Las Vegas Raiders made a huge move following their Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers — they opted to bench quarterback Derek Carr for the remainder of the season. After the decision was made, it was mutually agreed upon that Carr would step away from the team for their final two regular season games. This all but confirmed that the Raiders are looking to move on from Carr, via trade or release, this offseason.
After NFL Network national NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Raiders will evaluate the trade market for Carr, the quarterback released a statement confirming his impending departure. Carr took time in his statement to say farewell to the Raiders fanbase, one that he became familiar with since entering the league in 2014.
"“Raider Nation, it breaks my heart I didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye in person,” writes Carr. “We certainly have been on a roller coaster in our 9 years together. From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful and appreciative of the years of support you gave to my family and me. We had out share of both heart breaking moments and thrilling game winning drives, and it always felt like you were there next to me.“It’s especially hard to say goodbye because I can honestly say that I gave you everything I had, every single day, in season, and in the off season. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I hope that I was able to leave you with more than a few great memories as Raiders fans.”"
Derek Carr says farewell to Raiders fans as departure looms
While Carr said farewell to the fanbase, he also took time to address his future. While he said he never envisioned playing for another team, he says that he has “a fire burning” inside of him to win a championship and that he looks forward to playing with a new team.
"“I once said that if I’m not a Raider I would rather be at home and I meant that, but I never envisioned it ending this way,” writes Carr. “That fire burning inside of me to win a championship still rages. A fire no man can extinguish; only God. So I look forward to a new city and a new team who, no matter the circumstance, will get everything I have. Winning a championship is what I’ve always wanted and what I will continue to work towards.”"
In regards to when a transaction by the Raiders will be made, it will be relatively quickly. The Raiders have until Feb. 15 to move on from Carr, as $40.4 million of his salary over the next two seasons becomes fully guaranteed.
From there, it will be up to the Raiders to find a trade partner. If they are unable to strike a deal by Feb. 15, there is a likelihood that they outright release Carr. Releasing Carr before June 1 would save the Raiders $29.25 million in cap space, and be assessed $5.6 million in dead cap, per Spotrac.
Carr goes down as the leading passer in Raiders franchise history. In his nine years, Carr recorded 35,222 passing yards and 217 touchdowns, both of which are franchise highs.
With his tenure with the Raiders coming to an end, now the NFL world waits to see which team he will play for in 2023.