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Why did the Raiders bench Derek Carr? Offseason trade rumors might explain surprise Jarrett Stidham pivot

The Raiders are keeping Derek Carr in the garage for the remainder of the season.

The 6-9 Raiders are, somehow, still mathematically alive in the playoff race. After this weekend, though, that likely won’t be the case. If the Raiders do somehow make a playoff run and win their remaining two games, then it will be without Carr under center.

Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels announced on Wednesday that the Raiders will star Jarrett Stidham at quarterback over the last two games of the season, keeping Carr inactive and off the field.

“We think it’s an opportunity to evaluate a younger player who hasn’t had much time to play,” McDaniels said on Tuesday. 

MORE: Derek Carr’s best landing spots for 2023

Stidham was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Patriots, coincidentally, when Josh McDaniels was still on New England’s staff. He was traded from the Patriots to the Raiders for a 2023 sixth-round pick earlier this year.

To that end, it’s unclear exactly what evaluation left there is to be had with Stidham. He’s appeared in just 11 games in his career, throwing two touchdowns to four interceptions, completing 32 of 61 passes for 342 yards. Not exactly the young-gun-in-waiting type move.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler adds a much more sensible explanation for the move: The Raiders may move on from Carr this offseason, so the option to keep his health intact in the closing stages of the season takes priority. 

Adding to the confusing timing is the fact that the Raiders are still mathematically alive in the AFC playoff race. While those hopes are on life support, benching your starter for a questionable move for a head coach who has made a career of questionable moves.

But, McDaniels is known to march to the beat of his own drummer. We’ll see if the latest move produces better music this time around.

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