Raiders entering offseason of uncertainty after benching Carr
Derek Carr’s benching sparks a much bigger question: What happens in Las Vegas next season?
Raiders first-year coach Josh McDaniels announced Wednesday that quarterback Jarrett Stidham will start the remaining two games of the season. Chase Garbers will serve as the team’s backup QB.
‘None of us is happy with where we’re at, but we think it’s an opportunity to evaluate a younger player who hasn’t had much time to play,’ McDaniels said. ‘Talking to Derek, who was great, he understands the scenario that we’re in and the situation and (is) very supportive.’
ESPN reported that Carr and the Raiders agreed he will step away from the team for the rest of the season so as not to be a distraction.
Carr has been the Raiders’ starting quarterback since 2014. He holds many of the franchise passing records, including most passing yards and touchdown passes. But Carr has struggled this year under McDaniels, throwing an NFL-high 14 interceptions this season, tied for most in his career. His completion percentage (60.8) and passer rating (86.3) are his lowest since his rookie year.
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Carr’s demotion comes at a time when the Raiders are still mathematically alive in the AFC’s playoff race, although their chances of securing a playoff spot are about as slim as someone winning money in the lottery.
The decision to bench Carr and the timing in which it happened puts the quarterback and the Raiders in a precarious situation.
Carr signed a three-year, $121.5 million contract extension in April, but the Raiders would incur just a $5.6 million cap hit if they cut him before Feb. 15.
Parting ways with Carr could also have a ripple effect on the team’s best player, wide receiver Davante Adams. Adams came to Las Vegas in part to be reunited with Carr. The two starred together at Fresno State and have been good friends ever since.
Cutting Carr could result in a disgruntled Adams, who the Raiders traded for in March and inked to a five-year, $141.25 million contract.
In addition to Carr, the Raiders must figure out if they want to keep the NFL’s current leading rusher, Josh Jacobs. The Raiders surprisingly declined the running back’s fifth-year option last offseason. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and has already has voiced his displeasure about the team’s mounting losses.
‘I’m tired of dealing with this (expletive),’ Jacobs said to reporters after the Raiders’ Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. ‘Every day I come here and bust my ass. I see the guys bust their ass, and the result is not there. And for me, the last four years, the result hasn’t been there, and, quite frankly, I don’t know what else to do.’
Jacobs, who made this year’s Pro Bowl, doesn’t ‘know what else to do,’ Carr’s future is in limbo and the quarterback’s standing with the team could affect Adams’ status.
McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler and the rest of Raiders brass have plenty of long nights ahead as they assess their roster and mull over decisions. Whatever the Raiders choose to do with Jacobs and Carr could have big ramifications.
‘There’s a lot of evaluating that’s gonna take place here once the season is over. In terms of how we make the most progress, what makes the most sense for everybody and how we move forward,’ McDaniels said. ‘There’s a lot to be sorted through once this season is over.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.