The Raiders benched quarterback Derek Carr with two games to play in order to prevent him from getting an injury that would prevent them from cutting him before $40.4 million in injury-guaranteed compensation becomes fully guaranteed on February 15 and/or that would allow them to trade him. His belated qualification for the Pro Bowl (games) could complicate that strategy.
It’s possible, albeit unlikely, that Carr will suffer an injury during the upcoming Frolf Olympics, which will culminate in a game of flag football. Twenty-four years ago, running back Robert Edwards suffered a vcry serious injury during a game of beach football held in connection with the Pro Bowl.
If Carr suffers any injury that prevents him from passing a physical before February 15, the Raiders won’t be able to release him and avoid owing him $40.4 million. Also, it could make if very difficult to keep him and trade him.
As previously explained, the Raiders possibly are planning to let the guarantee vest and then trade him later. Last year, offseason shoulder surgery essentially prevented the 49ers from trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. For Carr, anything that would require surgery or an extended period of recovery and rehab would make it harder to trade him.
The only good news for the Raiders is that, if Carr is indeed injured during the Pro Bowl (games), any financial losses arising from the vesting of the $40.4 million would be covered by an insurance policy the league purchases for the game, per a source with knowledge of the situation.
If the Raiders are aware of these potential complications (and they should be), it’s not stopping them from bragging about the quarterback they benched and sent home for the last two games of the season.
“In 2022, Carr started in 15 games and completed 305-of-502 passes for 3,522 yards with 24 touchdowns and a passer rating of 86.3,” the team’s article proclaims, without pointing out why he didn’t start more than 15 games. “His 24 passing touchdowns ranked 12th in the NFL, while his 10 touchdown passes for 30-or-more yards ranked first in the league.”
That sounds like a good sales pitch for those trade talks. Along with “made the Pro Bowl after all three quarterbacks named to the roster became unavailable.” Yes, it could help the Raiders get a deal done — as long as he doesn’t get injured in the flag football game that will be played in the stadium where the Raiders play their home games.