Raiders to bench Derek Carr for final two games

Gaelen Morse/Getty Images

Derek Carr will not start the Las Vegas Raiders' final two regular-season games, marking the possible beginning of the end of the veteran quarterback's nine-year tenure with the franchise.

Coach Josh McDaniels made the announcement on Wednesday, with Jarrett Stidham to make his first NFL start in place of Carr when the 6-9 Raiders host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

McDaniels cited a desire to give younger players a longer look, with Las Vegas essentially eliminated from playoff contention.

"It's more about the opportunity," McDaniels said of the decision. "We're all accountable to where we're at, and I think this is more about an opportunity to see a guy that we haven't seen play in a situation like this against a couple of good teams, really good teams."

Stidham, a fourth-round pick for the New England Patriots in 2019, has seen spot duty in 11 previous NFL appearances. The 26-year-old has completed 32 of 61 passes (52.5 per cent) with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Carr has started all but two of the Raiders' 144 regular-season games since winning the starting quarterback job as a rookie in 2014.

Both he and the offense have struggled lately, however.

The three-time Pro Bowler was intercepted three times as the Raiders were held to 201 total yards in last week's 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Carr has been picked off nine times in his last six starts and has completed 55 per cent or less of his pass attempts in four straight games for the first time in his career.

Carr compiled a 68.7 per cent completion rate over the course of the 2018 to 2021 seasons, second only to Drew Brees among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 pass attempts during that time frame.

"It's never on one person," McDaniels said following the Pittsburgh loss. "I know that statistic gets applied to one person, but certainly there's other factors.

"Look, that's not good enough. And for us to be able to win at this time of the year and be productive, offensively you have to throw the ball better than what we've thrown at times here in the last month and a half."

Speculation will now turn to whether Carr has played his final game in a Raiders uniform. His $32.9million base salary becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster three days after the Super Bowl, while the team can save over $29m by releasing him before then.

McDaniels said Carr will be inactive as the third quarterback for Sunday's game, with rookie Chase Garbers to be promoted from the practice squad to serve as Stidham's backup.

"Derek was great," McDaniels said when asked how Carr handled the decision. "He understands the scenario that we're in and the situation and is very supportive of the two young guys. He'll do anything he can to help them."