The Raiders Are Sending Derek Carr To A Farm Upstate
9:00 AM EST on December 29, 2022
Wednesday was a day to revel in a mad quarterbacking decision from the cradle of them, Washington, D.C. We only need to say the words "Carson" and "Wentz" to get you all up to speed.
But the National Football League is about nothing quite so much as "hold my beer," so yesterday afternoon it presented us with Derek Carr, who was demoted as the starting quarterback of the Las Vegas Hopelessness, and decided in response to go home for the duration of his contract. That is home, as in "Fuck you," only Carr is too polite to say it in those words, at least not where other people can hear them. He's been too good a soldier publicly, although that facade has slipped over this season and he has revealed bits of what it must actually be like to be a Raider: something like a skydiver whose parachute fails to deploy. Frankly, we would much prefer that Carr let fly his entire arsenal of profanities, from "gosh" to "darn," but we can only absorb so much preposterous behavior at a time, and this is a day to salute Mark Davis, the open-faced tuna melt who decided that Carr would never see the field again.
Yes, Mark Davis, a man who has less business involving himself in football matters than Greta Thunberg, and whose previous big splash in the business, Jon Gruden, should have been his last. But perhaps emboldened by the championship work of his WNBA team, of which he did none save cover costs and clap a lot, he has decided to Get Involved.
Carr, the longest serving starting quarterback in Oakvegas history, has not saved the team from its own well-established noxious instincts, and his game has deteriorated in lockstep with those of his fellow employees, all of whom are tarred by the same weak color palette brush. (And to those true believers who think there is glory awaiting them in their next incarnation in Albuquerque, they lost to Jeff Saturday for Christ’s sake.) In other words, anyone fired from this team almost surely has it coming. But not from Davis, whose sporting and business acumen is largely the result of his successful prior engagement as his father's chemical legacy.
In any event, Carr is off the job not because he has worn out whatever passes as a welcome with the Raiders, or because his press conferences are a staple of cringe TV, or because he is rapidly approaching his brother for tragic career arcs, but because canning him as Davis has saves the team (read: Davis) a net $35 million over the next two years. Thus, this isn't actually a football decision Davis is making, which ameliorates the lazy thinking a bit, but a money decision, which Davis makes as the poorest owner in terms of net worth in the NFL.
What makes this choice interesting, though, is the way they all lied about the murder while playing catch with the severed head. Head coach Josh McDaniels said he wanted a chance to evaluate Jarrett Stidham, which is a patent falsity. And Carr supposedly left the building because he didn't want to be a distraction, a hilarious whopper of particular breadth and depth given Carr's likely future as a man of the cloth. It all seems like a festival of petulance on all sides, with the only upside being that it will be Stidham rather than Carr who gets bear-mauled by the San Francisco defense this weekend in a historic showdown between two teams that exist.
As essentially relayed by The Athletic's eye-pecking hawk Vic Tafur, Carr was essentially as sick of the scene as Davis, and as ESPN's Raider pit boss Paul Gutierrez pointed out, the move was largely regarded by Carr's teammates as more of the same thing that makes the Raiders the Raiders. Nobody put it in these words, but the Raiders live in a perpetual cycle of misguided hope, abject clownery, and paralytic self-loathing.
So by this standard, Davis and Carr combined to hold-my-beer Ron Rivera, while McDaniels found out the one thing he never thought he would learn in the job: that Mark Davis when engaged can be a deeply terrifying yet still utterly comedic force. The only thing stopping Raider fans from wanting the whole place bombed to the rivets is the depressing knowledge that the man in charge of the rebuild will be the same guy who has been supervising it for the last decade. And Derek Carr will rest his head tonight knowing that his next step will be an enhancement in his career, and yes, that includes the possibility that he might never play in the NFL again. Even nothing is better than being a Raider, but that's been true for nearly the entirety of this century, and the best news of all is that barring the meteor most Raider fans would take in trade right now, there are 78 more years to go.