NFL quarterback Derek Carr announced his departure from the Las Vegas Raiders after nine years with the franchise in an emotional letter to the team’s fans.
“It breaks my heart I didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye in person,” Carr wrote. “We certainly have been on a roller coaster in our 9 years together. From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful and appreciative of the years of support you gave to my family and me. We had our share of both heart breaking moments and thrilling game winning drives, and it always felt like you were there next to me.”
Since being drafted in 2014 by the franchise that was then based in Oakland, the quarterback had been a starter and foundation for the team through both the good and the bad.
But after a difficult season for the quarterback where he threw his lowest career passing rating, lowest completion percentage since his rookie season and threw a career high interceptions, he was dropped for the Raiders’ final two games of the season which they lost to the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The three-time Pro Bowler said in December 2021 he would “probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else. I am a Raider for my entire life. I’m going to root for one team for the rest of my life – it’s the Raiders. So I just feel that so strong 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.”
Carr acknowledged that statement in his letter saying, “I meant that, but I never envisioned it ending this way.
“That fire burning inside of me to win a championship still rages. A fire no man can extinguish; only God.”
Carr will leave with most quarterback records for the franchise, like passing yards and touchdown passes. But despite his personal success, he has only played a single playoff game – a Wild Card round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last season.
This season, the franchise signed All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams, a friend and college teammate of Carr’s. Many thought that, with the duo playing together, this would be the season the Raiders would be competitive in the playoffs. Instead, they finished with a 6-11 record and with backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham playing in Carr’s place.
There are plenty of franchises that would be interested in securing Carr’s services as a veteran quarterback. Having signed a contract extension which guarantees him $40 million if he is still with the Raiders or agrees to a trade before February 15, as well as having a no-trade clause in his contract, Carr is in a very strong position to decline any trades that he isn’t interested in.