Derek Carr held all the cards and he played them.
In the hours before Super Bowl LVII, NFL Media reported on Sunday that Carr has informed the Las Vegas Raiders he will not accept a trade to the New Orleans Saints (who he visited last week) or any other team. Thus, the Raiders will be forced to release him without any compensation by Tuesday’s deadline at 4 p.m. If not, the team would owe him more than $40 million in guaranteed money and that simply won’t happen. Both the team and player have decided to move on.
Sources: #Raiders QB Derek Carr has informed the team he won’t accept a trade to the #Saints or any other team. The team is expected to release him and he’ll be a top free agent. pic.twitter.com/k0LcLRlDOo— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 12, 2023
When Carr is released, he will be free to sign with any team, giving himself a month’s head start on free agency. Several teams including the Saints, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely have interest in Carr, who is 32 and has been the Raiders’ starting quarterback for the past nine seasons.
It’s not a surprise that Carr, 31, chose this route. This way, he has the freedom to talk to several teams and could get a stronger deal than he had. He was given a no-trade clause in his extension with the Raiders last year. Had Las Vegas not given him an extension he’d be a free agent and the Raiders would likely have gotten a 2024 third-round compensatory pick. Now, the Raiders will not get any draft-pick value for Carr.
Carr’s release will save the Raiders more than $29 million in salary-cap space and they will now have about $50 million in cap room this offseason.