Derek Carr's long-term relationship with the Raiders is expected to come to an end during the 2023 NFL offseason. There's just one question NFL fans have about the split: When is it coming?
The writing has been on the wall since the Raiders benched him with two games left in the 2022 regular season to get a look at backup Jarrett Stidham. At that time, they excused Carr from team activities and seemed to signal that they were getting ready to search for a new quarterback.
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Fast forward a few weeks and Carr is now representing the Raiders at the Pro Bowl, an unlikely twist that came about after numerous withdrawals from the event by AFC quarterbacks. It will likely be his last action with the Las Vegas franchise.
So, when exactly will Derek Carr be traded? Here's what to know about the team's timetable for offloading him and why it might not be as easy as it seems to get a team to take on his contract.
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When will the Raiders trade Derek Carr?
The Raiders are going to have to trade Carr — or agree to trade him — in short order. Why? Because of the way his contract is structured.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Feb. 15 is a "firm deadline" for the Raiders to trade Carr. He reports that the $40.4 million in salary Carr is due over the next two seasons becomes guaranteed on that day.
So, if the Raiders have agreed upon a trade, they will be able to keep Carr on the roster and officially trade him once the new league year starts on March 15.
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However, if Las Vegas doesn't have a trade lined up for Carr before Feb. 15, they would risk having to pay him his guaranteed salary if they kept him. The team probably would like to avoid doing that, as it could prevent them from pursuing a player like Aaron Rodgers via trade during the offseason.
So, what is the Raiders' alternative? They may have to release Carr on Feb. 15 if they cannot find a suitable trade offer. That decision would save the team $29.25 million in cap space while only accounting for $5.625 million in dead cap space.
Releasing Carr, who can be a capable starter, wouldn't be ideal for the Raiders. But if they have no other option than to cut him, they well may do it.
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Derek Carr contract
Carr is set to enter the first year of a three-year, $121.5 million contract extension he signed with the Raiders in April 2022. His deal came with just under $24.9 million guaranteed at signing, but an additional $40.4 million is set to become guaranteed on Feb. 15, per Spotrac.com.
Below is a look at Carr's contract structure:
|Year||Salary||Bonus||Cap hit||Dead cap|
It's worth noting that Carr was given a full no-trade clause as part of his extension. That will complicate any potential trade, as ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio noted. Carr can use that clause to potentially leverage his release if he would prefer to pick his next team.
So trading Carr won't necessarily be easy because of that clause, but a team looking for a capable starting quarterback could be willing to pull the trigger for the right price.
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Derek Carr trade rumors
It has been relatively quiet on the Carr trade rumor front since the Raiders opted to bench him for the final two games of their season and seek out a new home for the quarterback.
Carr himself weighed in on the rumors, basically confirming them. He said goodbye to Raiders fans in an emotional social media post, so it is difficult to imagine him returning to Las Vegas under these circumstances.
Still, there haven't been any concrete rumors about Carr's potential landing spots. Perhaps those will pick up as Feb. 15 draws nearer.