It's been a disastrous first half of the 2022 season for Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders blew a 17-point lead and ultimately lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, dropping them to 2-6 on the season.
In the days since the game, tempers have flared, most notably from star wide receiver Davante Adams, who asked for more passes to come his way.
As a result of Adams' unhappiness and the team's struggles, sports talk personality Colin Cowherd has a prediction: Carr will play for a new team next season.
On his "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" talk show, Cowherd outlined the reasons why he believes Carr, who has played the first nine seasons of his career with the Raiders, won't be back in Las Vegas in 2023.
“I think Derek Carr plays for somebody else next year," Cowherd said. "Here’s why. First of all, Derek Carr is very good. I’ve defended him for years. Davante Adams is elite, top two or three in the league. Teams tend to keep elite over very good. Second reason is, Derek’s reputation through the years is he kind of plays it safe, and that’s what Davante Adams is saying. He’s playing it safe. That’s not good in 2022 NFL. Third reason is this current Raiders coach and this current Raiders GM, they didn’t draft Derek Carr. They inherited him. And finally, number four is Derek’s dead cap hit next year is tiny. In fact, if the Raiders move off him by June 1, the Raiders save $30 million."
Cowherd believes the Raiders will make Carr a scapegoat and seek a new quarterback via trade or the NFL draft for next season. As of now, the Raiders would have the second pick.
Cowherd is correct that the Raiders would have significantly more financial incentive to stick with Adams over Carr if this becomes a "him or me" situation.
The Raiders signed Adams to a five-year, $140 million contract prior to this season. Carr, meanwhile, has three years left on his deal, but the Raiders would only have to pay a little more than $5 million in dead money if they cut ties with him prior to June 1, whereas Adams' cap hit is nearly $15 million next season.
The question is whether the situation between Carr and Adams, college teammates at Fresno State, actually erodes to the point that the Raiders have to pick one of the two.
Adams has had a solid statistical season, catching 48 passes for 658 yards and a league-high seven touchdowns. But he's also had three games with less than 50 receiving yards, including a stat line of one catch for three yards in a Week Eight loss to the New Orleans Saints.
If the front office does feel the team needs a scapegoat, it could just as easily be first-year head coach Josh McDaniels, who also struggled during his first stint as a head coach, going 11-17 with the Denver Broncos.
All eyes will be on whether Carr and Adams can get their connection back and the Raiders can break out of their losing streak when they host the Indianapolis Colts, a team that has dealt with even more turmoil this week, on Sunday.