QB Derek Carr says new town, embraces team’s challenge

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Quarterback Derek Carr made his first public comments Thursday after being benched. Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said he’s ready for the challenge of playing in a new city.

“I once said that if I wasn’t a rider, I’d be at home, and I meant it, but I never thought it would end up this way.” Carr posted on Twitter. “I still have that fire burning inside me to win a championship. A fire that no one can put out; Only God. So I’m looking forward to a new city and a new team, they’ll get everything I’ve got, in any situation.

Carr started 142 games over nine seasons for the Raiders, providing stability to a franchise that cycled through 17 starting quarterbacks in 11 years before he became a second-round pick in 2014.

Carr helped lead the Raiders to playoff appearances in 2016 and 2021 and holds several team records, including most career passing yards (35,222) and touchdown passes (217). But he also had the third-most starts for a quarterback in the Super Bowl era for a team that didn’t win a playoff game.

Carr struggled in his first year under McDaniels, adding star receiver and close friend Davante Adams to the offense, but was benched with two weeks left in the regular season.

Carr has his lowest marks since his rookie season in 2017 while posting his highest completion percentage (60.6%) and passing percentage (86.3) and his highest interception percentage (2.8%) and lowest yards per attempt (7.0).

That ultimately led to the decision of McDaniels and first-year general manager Dave Ziegler to move on from Carr less than a year after signing him to a three-year extension. $120.5 million.

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The deal signed last April gives Carr a $5 million hit through 2022, but gives Las Vegas an out this season. The Raiders have until Feb. 15 to release Carr or his $32.9 million salary for 2023 and $7.5 million of his $41.9 million salary for 2024 will be guaranteed.

The Raiders can try to reach an agreement on a trade for Carr before that deadline but won’t be able to finalize the deal until the new league year begins on March 15. Any team that acquires Carr will then pick up the remainder of the contract. This includes $41.2 million guaranteed for 2023-24 and a non-guaranteed salary for 2025.

Carr has a no-trade clause in his contract, which gives him control over his target. That would absorb $5.6 million of the 2023 salary cap hit and save more than $29 million, potentially forcing the Raiders to cut him.

“Derek’s tenure with the Raiders is effectively over,” said Tim Younger, Carr’s agent. Posted on Twitter. “Relationships end, but like here, a treasure trove of memories and friendships, with a very special bond with his fans. These never end.

“Teams continue to look for franchise players who invest themselves completely, maybe even to a fault, as Derek did for a decade. That’s his true legacy more than the many team records he holds.”

Carr thanked the fans and organization in Las Vegas and Oakland.

“It’s especially hard to say goodbye because I can honestly say that every day, season in and season out, I gave you (the fans) everything I had,” Carr wrote. “It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I hope I was able to leave some great memories as Raider fans.”

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