LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Derek Carr won’t start at quarterback when the Raiders take on the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday.
“We’re going to go ahead and start Jarrett the last couple of games of the season here,” coach Josh McDaniels said Wednesday of replacing Carr with backup Jarrett Stidham. “None of us is happy with where we’re at. But we think it’s an opportunity to evaluate a younger player who hasn’t had much time to play.”
McDaniels said he talked with Carr, 31, who has played his entire nine-year NFL career with the Raiders, and said the quarterback was great. “He understands the scenario that we’re in and the situation,” McDaniels said. “Very supportive of the two young guys. … He’ll do anything to help them.”
Carr has played 142 games with the Raiders since 2014, going 63-79. He was drafted in the second round in 2014 out of Fresno State. He was not available for interviews Wednesday at the team’s practice facility.
Stidham, 26, was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft by the New England Patriots, where McDaniels coached and ran the offense for several seasons.
Stidham has played in 11 NFL games, including three this year in mop-up roles.
Replacing Carr can be considered criticism of his most recent play — his 14 interceptions lead the NFL — but it also can be a decision based on financial reasons. Carr, signed to a three-year extension in April, is guaranteed $33 million for 2023 unless the team makes a move before Feb. 15. Releasing or trading him means the franchise takes on a nearly $6 million cap hit.
But if Carr is seriously injured in the final two games he would be able to claim the full $33 million.
McDaniels seemed to downplay Carr’s contract situation. “”Like I said, it’s more about the opportunity. 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 good teams, really good teams,” the coach said.
He also said the final two games will help the franchise what’s ahead for the position. “There’s a lot of evaluating that’s going to take place here once the season is over in terms of how we make the most progress, what makes the most sense for everybody and how we move forward,” McDaniels said. “And we knew that was going to be the case. Obviously, we were hoping to be in a different scenario than we are currently, but there’s no finality to today. This is just a decision we thought — after talking about it and contemplating it — that we thought would be an opportunity for us to see what we have in him. And how we how we do going forward, we’ll see. There’s a lot to be sorted through once the season is over.”
Stidham, who played collegiately at Auburn, will get his first NFL start against the 49ers. He was traded to the Raiders by the Patriots in May, and his relationship with McDaniels during their time in New England was a major factor in the deal.