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Derek Carr
NFL Draft

Should Derek Carr Even Waive No-Trade Clause?

  • Justin Melo
  • February 3, 2023
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The Las Vegas Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr must soon find a solution to their impending breakup. Carr possesses a no-trade clause in his contract and could dictate his next destination. Carr should only be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the right opportunity arrives. Carr possesses all of the leverage.

Feb. 15 represents a firm deadline for the Raiders and Carr to find a definitive solution. Carr’s $40.4 million in salary across the next two campaigns becomes guaranteed on that day. The Raiders financially can not hold onto Carr past Feb. 15. They must trade or cut him before mid-February.

Carr has no intention of extending that trigger date to provide the Raiders with additional time to resolve his situation.

“I don’t think that would be best for me,” Carr said of extending the deadline while participating in the Pro Bowl Games skills competition, which is ironically taking place in Vegas.

It’s an appropriate move for Carr, who is undoubtedly anxious to locate a new franchise. Despite the deadline being under two weeks away, the Raiders haven’t authorized Carr to begin speaking with potential trade partners. The Raiders are employing a strange strategy.

Perhaps Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels are afraid of losing leverage by allowing Carr’s representatives to seek out potential trade partners. Carr already possesses leverage via his no-trade clause. The Raiders, who are surely hoping to receive draft compensation in exchange for Carr’s services, are playing a weird game.

A quarterback like Carr should fetch at least one second-round selection in a trade, or potentially two mid-round picks. It’s worth noting Carr doesn’t have to waive his no-trade clause prior to Feb 15. Carr could essentially force the Raiders to release him. Carr would then be allowed to have discussions with any of the 32 franchises.

Carr may be willing to cooperate with the Raiders. Ziegler should absolutely let Carr begin vetting out potential landing spots. Carr is an excellent leader. The Raiders are the only franchise he’s ever known. Carr probably wouldn’t mind seeing the Raiders receive draft compensation in exchange for him, so long as he approves of the destination. Carr retains complete control either way, so the Raiders should stop pretending he doesn’t.

There’s no shortage of teams that require quarterback help. The New York Jets, Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons are among the teams that could be in the market for a veteran signal-caller. The Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and Carolina Panthers could join that fray, but those teams seem likelier to draft a rookie quarterback. Will Levis, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson will impact Carr’s market.

Of those potential suitors, the Jets stick out as the likeliest landing spot Carr would approve of. There’s an excellent offensive supporting cast and coaching staff already in place. The Jets may be dreaming of acquiring Aaron Rodgers, which could add the Green Bay Packers to the list of teams that kick the tires on Carr. All of these dominoes may help determine Carr’s fate.

One thing is certain despite all the hypotheticals. Carr won’t be a Raider come mid-February. Carr should continue to leverage his market via his contract status, the timing of his guarantees, and the no-trade clause. The Raiders continue to play hardball for largely unknown reasons. Carr shouldn’t do the Raiders any favors. Carr must continue putting himself first.

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Justin Melo