While the Raiders have two games left this season -- and the playoffs still mathematically possible -- their plans for this offseason appear to be clear.
Las Vegas is expected to explore trade options for quarterback Derek Carr, sources say. The veteran who has started nearly every regular-season game for the Raiders since the 2014 season is almost certainly headed to a new team for 2023.
In his place, Jarrett Stidham will start today against the 49ers, his two-game opportunity to make a case for next season. Meanwhile, Carr is away from the team for the final two weeks to avoid distractions.
There are scenarios in which Carr stays with the Raiders -- the 49ers informally said goodbye to Jimmy Garoppolo during this past offseason and he still plays for them -- but this is the likely outcome for Carr.
Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels was clear on why the Raiders made the move to sit Carr -- which owner Mark Davis supported, per sources -- while talking to reporters this past week.
"None of us is happy with where we're at," McDaniels told reporters Wednesday. "But we think it's an opportunity to evaluate a younger player who hasn't had much time to play. Derek was great. He understands the scenario that we're in."
Carr, a three-time Pro Bowler, once famously said he’d rather quit football than play for another team. But make no mistake: Carr has no plans to retire and has no plans to go out like this. Sources say he's telling people close to him that he has his best football ahead of him.
Decisions on Carr will have to come quickly. Based on the terms of his three-year, $121.5 million extension he signed before the season, his $32.9 million base salary for 2023 and an additional $7.5 million of his 2024 base becomes fully guaranteed if he's on the roster on the third day of the waiver period -- or three days after the Super Bowl.
Any decision on what's next, whether a trade or outright release if a trade does not come together, would come before that.
While no trade could be official until the league year begins, trades are routinely agreed to in principle before then being finalized in mid-March. Carr also has a no-trade clause in his contract and the various sides would all have to be on the same page to execute such a deal.