Could Derek Carr be distributed during Super Bowl week? Raiders face Feb. 15 deadline for decision

While there’s a slim outside chance that he could eventually return, Derek Carr is most likely finished as the Las Vegas Raiders franchise quarterback after the bench this week.

Carr has chosen to step away from the team for the past two weeks so as not to be a distraction. While that may be partly true, Carr is also not at the team facility to eliminate the risk of a football-related injury that would ultimately trigger $40.4 million in guaranteed salary over the next two years. , according to sources.

Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels benched Carr this week as the Raiders still have a slim chance of making the playoffs. While Carr’s play certainly warranted close inspection during a potential bench, it was Carr’s contract that ultimately drove the decision.

Carr’s three-year, $121.5 million contract extension he signed last spring was little more than a one-year deal and a “we’ll see.” An injury that doesn’t allow him to pass a physical in a few months would guarantee his full base salary of $32.9 million plus $7.5 million in 2024 salary.

What’s next for Carr? Staying with the Raiders would absolutely require a reworked contract. The Raiders don’t say “never” but it’s highly unlikely.

A tough deadline for a decision for Vegas is Feb. 15. That’s when the $40.4 million is locked in. If the Raiders move away from him, they will need to have a trade in place by that date or release him outright.

At least a quarter of NFL numbers are looking for a new starting quarterback in Week 1 in 2023, including but not limited to the Jets, Texans, Commanders, Panthers, the Buccaneers, Titans, Falcons and Saints.

An Alex Smith-style trade is expected to happen before the Super Bowl. It won’t be official until the league’s new year in mid-March, but both sides will have to agree it by February 15.

Carr has leverage in all of this under his no-trade clause. A team may well be interested in him in his current contract, but if he does not want to go, he will not give up his clause. This narrows the available teams, some of which may wait for the draft or try a bigger fish in free agency.

The Raiders would seek a first-round pick in exchange for Carr, who is tied with Tom Brady with nine game-winning drives over the past two seasons. The Raiders would struggle to get him though. At best, a conditional second and third (like the Carson Wentz deal) would emerge for Carr, who would get a change of scenery from a team that believes in him enough not to wait another month and play Quarterback Roulette in free agency.

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