The Las Vegas Raiders franchise has stepped onto the field with the same quarterback for the last nine seasons. The team hasn't been on the winning end for the most part, with Derek Carr under center, which led to the team deciding to bench him in Week 17.
The Carr era officially ended on Thursday morning with his farewell to Raider Nation. He announced he would be seeking a new team and not retiring, with Ian Rapoport reporting that he will help the Raiders seek a trade.
Carr's legacy is complex, and one side will say he didn't do anything except lose, while another will see how he made the Raiders competitive again. Before 2014, the Raiders were one of the worst franchises in football and didn't have a winning season since 2002. When the former Fresno State Bulldog was drafted in the second round, that drought ended three years later. He became the third Raiders quarterback to lead the team to 12 wins since 1990.
He has the record in every passing category for the organization while having the most touchdowns in a season since Daryl Lamonica. Last season, he broke Rich Gannon's passing record for yards on fewer attempts. The only Raiders’ quarterback to have a passer rating over 100 two times.
On the flip side, the Raiders only made the playoffs twice in nine years with no playoff wins. Many factors go into that, but the quarterback will be blamed even if it isn't fair. So far, the most significant aspect of his career is his not having the winning accolades behind the numbers.
Where do the Raiders go from here?
With the Silver and Black moving on from the former Fresno State Bulldog, they have to look into trade options or release him. However, it has to be a quick process because the deadline is approaching quickly.
Carr, 31, has a no-trade clause that allows him to choose his destination. The New York Jets are the easiest to connect the dots with, but a sleeper team is the New Orleans Saints. Dennis Allen was the head coach when he took the QB in the second round.
Also, Pete Carmichael runs an offense similar to the one Jon Gruden used to deploy during Carr's best statistical seasons. With a good defensive foundation and a coach, Carr feels comfortable with it could be a match.
The tricky part is making a deal this quickly and hoping the team will not back out. Since the actual league year is a month after the contract deadline, the front office has trust the other team will not back out. It could leave the Raiders stuck with the guarantees and still trying to find a way to move him.
It seems that a release will be the eventual outcome, with Vic Tafur of the Athletic tweeting he will not make concessions with the deadline. One could assume Carr is forcing a release by an unwillingness to extend it.
If the Raiders can’t trade Derek Carr by Feb. 15, they will cut him. He is not extending the deadline.— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) January 12, 2023
Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler now have the most important job: finding a quarterback in a loaded AFC. The AFC playoffs are full of young guns, with Patrick Mahomes being the oldest at 27. They are in an arms race where the best signal callers are starting to hit their prime years. If they don't pick the right quarterback to compete, Raider Nation will have a new coach and GM combo in no time.
It will be interesting, to say to least, to find out what happens from here. Raiders have work to do, and finding a new quarterback is item numero uno.