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#pounditSaturday, June 15, 2024

Raiders have big decision to make with Derek Carr

Derek Carr in a helmet

Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) before playing against the Baltimore Ravens at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders are expected to make some significant changes when their disappointing 2022 season ends, and there is a scenario where they could part ways with Derek Carr without much financial penalty. They will just have to decide in the very near future.

After the Raiders fell to 6-9 with their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, Pro Football Talk pointed out that there is a way Las Vegas can get out from under Carr’s contract after the season ends. Carr’s $32.9 million salary for 2023 was guaranteed for injury at the time he signed his three-year, $121 million extension back in April. That and $7.5 million of his 2024 become fully guaranteed on the third day of the waiver period, which begins after the Super Bowl.

If the Raiders cut Carr at some point in the three days after Super Bowl LVII, they would not be on the hook for the $40.4 million that will become guaranteed if they keep him. Las Vegas technically cannot trade Carr until that guarantee vests, but they could reach a handshake agreement with a team. The Kansas City Chiefs and Washington did that when Alex Smith was traded in 2018.

PFT also noted that Carr needs to pass a physical before the third day of the waiver period in order for the Raiders to get out from under his guaranteed money. For that reason, they may want to shut him down for the season when they are inevitably eliminated from postseason contention.

Josh McDaniels has not had a good first season with the Raiders. Even if Mark Davis wanted to fire him, there is at least one big reason that would be unwise for the team. The same cannot be said for Carr’s future in Las Vegas.

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