Earlier this week, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels didn’t rule out benching quarterback Derek Carr for (checks online depth chart) Jarrett Stidham.
“I think there’s a possibility that we would do the right thing, regardless of the position, in terms of the team,” McDaniels told when asked by reporters about the possibility of having Carr take a seat.
Doing the right thing in this specific case relates to the reality that Carr has $40.4 million in injury guarantees that become fully vested if he can’t pass a physical before the third day of the 2023 waiver period, when that money becomes fully guaranteed. Benching Carr would be less about trying to win games and more about ensuring that Carr doesn’t end up with the kind of injury that would prevent him from being released before the guarantee convert from injury only.
Because the guarantees kick in before the start of the league year, the Raiders can’t officially trade Carr prior to the arrival of the relevant deadline. They can, in theory, work out a trade informally in advance of the vesting of the guarantees, with the trade becoming official once the league year opens in March.
It would be much more of a leap of faith than teams usually make when striking unenforceable trades. If the new team backs out, the Raiders would be holding a $40.4 million bag.
So the cleanest move would be to cut Carr. And the safest way to ensure that he won’t be owed another $40.4 million would be to bench him.
If/when he’s benched, that’s the clearest signal that the next move will be for Carr to no longer be a Raider.