Derek Carr bids farewell to Raiders, says title 'still going strong'

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HENDERSON, Nev. – Two weeks and one day after being benched by the Las Vegas Raiders, quarterback Derek Carr broke his silence and said goodbye to team fans in a statement on social media on Thursday.

Carr had been the Raiders’ starting quarterback since he was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft.

“It breaks my heart that I wasn’t given the opportunity to say goodbye in person,” wrote Carr, despite being sidelined for the last two games in a mutual decision not to become a distraction. “We have certainly been on a roller coaster ride in our 9 years together. From the bottom of my heart I am so grateful and grateful for the years of support you have given my family and me. We played our part in both of those heartbreaking moments and exciting game wins, and it always felt like you were there for me.

“It’s especially hard to say goodbye because I can honestly say that I gave you everything I had, every day, in-season and off-season. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I hope I managed to leave you with more than a few great memories as fans. of the Raider.”

Carr, who signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension with the Raiders in 2017 and then a three-year, $121.5 million extension last spring, said in 2021 that he “would probably quit football if he had to play for someone else. I’m a Raider for my whole life. I’m going to root for one team for the rest of my life – it’s the Raiders. So I feel that with so much strength in my heart, I don’t need a perfect situation… to make things right.

“I’d rather go down with the ship, you know what I’m saying, if I have to.”

In his latest statement, Carr acknowledged those sentiments but said he looks forward to playing for another NFL team.

“I meant it,” he wrote, “but I never imagined it would end this way. That fire burning inside me to win a championship is still going strong.”

Carr’s most recent extension included the Raiders’ right to cut him within three days of the Super Bowl for a relatively small $5,625 hit on the salary cap and gave the quarterback a no-trade clause.

Thursday’s statement could be seen as taking the Raiders’ advantage in a trade. Carr, whose contract guarantees him $40 million if he’s still in Las Vegas or agrees to a trade before Feb. 15, can simply hope the Raiders release him and hit the open market, with Las Vegas getting nothing in return.

The talks cannot become official until March 15th. So if the Raiders find a business partner for Carr, not only would the quarterback have to go along with fate, but the Raiders would also have to trust that the other team won’t back down. So while Carr may find a robust market for his services, his commercial value to the Raiders may not be as high as he once was.

Earlier this week, first-year head coach Josh McDaniels said a conversation with Carr was in the offing.

“Once again, we had a great relationship,” said McDaniels. “He’s done a lot of good, and anything that says otherwise is incorrect. So let’s wait for it, and like I said, there will be some time between now and then.”

Carr, who turns 32 on March 28, was sidelined when Jarrett Stidham started the Raiders’ final two games: an overtime loss to the NFC’s second-ranked San Francisco 49ers and a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

The Raiders finished 6-11 and Carr finished with 3,522 yards, 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 games. He also had the lowest passer rating (86.3) and lowest completion percentage (60.8%) since his rookie season. His 2.8% interception percentage was also a career high.

Carr holds Raiders franchise career records for passing yards (35,222), touchdown passes (217), sacks (264), fourth quarter turnovers (28), game-winning attempts (33) and starts by a quarterback (142) , while throwing 99 interceptions, the third most in franchise history. His career record, however, is 63-79, and he has appeared in one playoff game, losing in the wild card round to the Cincinnati Bengals 26-19 last season after throwing a last-minute interception before from the goal line.

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