If there was any doubt about whether Derek Carr would return to the Raiders in 2023, the three-time Pro Bowler put that to rest Thursday, ending all speculation about his future in Las Vegas with a heartfelt goodbye, thanking fans for their support over nine memorable seasons in silver and black.
“We have certainly been on a roller coaster in our nine years together,” Carr admitted in a message shared to his Twitter and Instagram accounts. “It’s especially hard to say goodbye because I can honestly say I gave you everything I had, every single day, in-season and in the offseason. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I hope that I was able to leave you with more than a few great memories.”
Despite a losing record (63-79), Carr ends his time in Vegas as by far the most accomplished quarterback in team history, holding franchise marks in passing yards (35,222), completions (3,201), touchdowns (217) and game-winning drives (33). The 31-year-old was recently benched by coach Josh McDaniels, who sent him home for the season after Week 16, fearing his presence would create an unnecessary “distraction.” Carr’s demotion spelled an anticlimactic end to his Raiders tenure, which began when he was selected as a second-round pick in the 2014 Draft following a celebrated career at Fresno State.
“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,” said Carr, confirming his desire to continue his career elsewhere. “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.”
Despite his flaws (only Dak Prescott and Davis Mills threw for more interceptions this year), Carr’s leadership and commitment have never been in question, traits he demonstrated after a crushing loss to Indianapolis earlier this season, baring his soul in a tearful postgame soliloquy.
Per beat writer Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders will seek to trade Carr in the coming month, setting a February 15th deadline to complete a deal. If the Raiders aren’t able to find a suitor by then, Carr would be released, resulting in a dead cap hit of $5.625 million. It’s worth noting that Carr’s contract includes a full no-trade clause, granting him some agency over who his next team will be.
The Raiders, in opting for a clean slate, could pursue a veteran like Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency, though if ownership prefers to go the rebuilding route, they could also consider taking a quarterback early in April’s NFL Draft (Vegas picks seventh). As for Carr, there should be a robust market for his services with the Jets, Colts, Commanders and Panthers among teams that could be looking to upgrade their quarterback position.