Derek Carr was one of the more bizarre Pro Bowl selections the NFL has ever seen, but he's entering the event with plenty of self-awareness.
The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback had a season to forget in 2022, which ultimately ended with him getting benched and marked for a trade. Despite those struggles, Carr was named a quarterback for the AFC Pro Bowl team due to a dearth of healthy, productive quarterbacks in the conference.
So it fell to players like Carr and the Baltimore Ravens' Tyler Huntley, who started four games this season, to participate in the Pro Bowl's precision passing contest. Credit to Carr, he put on a show, posting an event-high 31 points to give the AFC the win:
31 points from @DerekCarrQB gives the AFC the Precision Passing victory!
📺: 2023 #ProBowlGames on ESPN pic.twitter.com/qmokHzHTY6
— NFL (@NFL) February 3, 2023
After the event, Carr was asked by ESPN's Ryan Clark about getting the win at his soon-to-be-former home Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. He delivered the line of the night.
Derek Carr got jokes 🍿 😂
📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/BqSFkyUha4
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 3, 2023
Clark: "You've thrown touchdown passes in Vegas before, you've been on fire. Have you ever been that hot in Las Vegas?"
Carr: "Not that hot. That's probably why I'm going somewhere else."
So it seems Carr is at peace with his upcoming Raiders exit.
In 15 games this season, Carr posted 3,522 passing yards, a 60.8% completion rate, 24 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions and 7 yards per pass attempt. The Raiders went 6-9 with Carr under center, a disappointing season after so much hope the addition of Carr's college teammate Davante Adams would give the team a boost.
Teams probably aren't going to give Carr credit for a Pro Bowl precision passing performance (never say never with Jim Irsay), but he should have a few options on where to go next. Teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers could be on the lookout for bridge starters and, at worst, most contenders wouldn't mind having a backup like Carr.
Finding a trade partner could be difficult for the Raiders, as Carr is set to begin his three-year, $121.5 million contract extension next season. It's hard to see teams accepting that price, but they might be more interested if the Raiders release Carr, who holds $5.6 million in dead money against a $34.9 million salary cap hit in 2023.
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